Now that producer Shonda Rhimes has shepherded three series onto the current TV schedule — Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, and the new Off the Map — we can pinpoint the signature, common traits in her work. She likes big casts consisting equally of men and women; everyone must be pretty; they must be caregivers who labor and love with great strenuousness, frequently with one another; and they must be able to deliver a florid line such as ''This is where medicine was born!'' without bursting into giggles.
Off the Map is Grey's Anatomy with flies; it'sPrivate Practice with no sunblock. Set, we are vaguely informed, ''somewhere in South America'' (the series is actually shot primarily in Hawaii), Map divides its doctors into two groups: the dashing ''old'' pros (Martin Henderson, Valerie Cruz, Jason George) and the eager young pups (Zach Gilford, Mamie Gummer, Caroline Dhavernas, Rachelle Lefevre). Because Gilford used to star on Friday Night Lights and Gummer has done fine work on The Good Wifeand is Meryl Streep's daughter, my hopes were high that Off the Mapwould be a superior nighttime soap opera.
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