Years ago, when I heard Grey’s Anatomy geniuses Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, and Jenna Bans were going in on a new project titled Off the Map (about doctors no less), I was immediately excited. Sure, I was a little skeptical about the doctors-without-borders premise, especially because they had done that so well on ER (Carter went to Africa!), but before I knew it, Matt Saracen had joined the crew, and I was officially ready to give Off the Map a fair shot at becoming part of my regular TV-viewing schedule.
Following a group of doctors to a small clinic in South America, Off the Map was by no means the next great show, but it did have all the necessary elements of a fun weekly hour away from reality: There was a ridiculously attractive (and emotionally damaged) long-haired doctor who had chemistry with the shy new girl on campus, not to mention a history with the terminally ill hot blonde. There was the overly sensitive doctor, and the not-sensitive-enough doctor. There were anacondas, zip lines, waterfalls, hot locals, and sweaty romantic encounters in the rain forest. I honestly couldn’t think of anything else a good show might have needed. So I tuned in, and pretty soon thereafter, I was hooked.
After only a handful of episodes, I was already ‘shipping Ben (Martin Henderson) and Lily (Caroline Dhavernas), and falling in love with the friendship that was forming between Tommy (Zach Gilford) and Mina (Mamie Gummer). I even enjoyed the crazy medical cases that were solved with herbs, and the surgeries that had to be performed without anesthesia. And if I’m being honest, I was also into Lily’s temporary relationship (because she was meant to be with Ben) with Mateo (Nicholas Gonzalez), the local whose family owned a cocaine field, which is apparently a thing. But my point is: I was in. So you can imagine my disappointment when Off the Map was canceled after one season.
For one thing, I thought the show was getting better and better, so I was bummed that people stopped tuning in. Then there’s also the fact that I never got to see Ben and Lily get together. Oh, and did I mention how the show ended? How about Lily’s local boy toy, Mateo, comes home to discover his family’s cocaine field (their only source of income) has been set on fire, then gets shot. Lily finds him, tries to tend to his multiple bullet wounds, and the series ends on the image of Lily holding him in front of a blazing field. Here’s proof I’m not exaggerating:
So not only did this show get canceled, but it went out on the biggest cliffhanger possible. It just doesn’t seem fair, especially considering some of the shows that stay on for what feels like forever. But for Off the Map, it was one short season, which I can’t even bring myself to buy on DVD, because it will never be able to answer all my questions, give me my Ben-Lily moment and therefore fill this hole in my heart.
Watch the promo for Off the Map below and know that you’ll never get to love the series the way it deserved to be loved:
I was even willing to let Bailey’s future husband, Ben (Jason George), stay off Grey’s for this show, and that’s saying A LOT.
Were you fans, PopWatchers? What are some of your favorite shows that got canceled or ended on a life-shattering cliffhanger?