Last week 22 million of you were properly introduced to actress Caroline
Dhavernas But to a few million of us, "Off The Map" is her triumphant
-- and long overdue -- return to television. See, Caroline amassed a
deadly loyal fanbase back in 2004 thanks to Fox's wondrous
"Wonderfalls." After it became one of the best Brilliant But Canceled
shows off all time, Caroline took a little time off from the small
screen to rest, recoup and recover.
Thankfully she's back with ABC's doctor drama as Lily, one of three
recent jungle clinic transplants. I caught up with Caroline to talk all
about tonight's episode, why she decided to return to television and the
legacy "Wonderfalls" has left her with.
PopWrap: Where you a big medical drama fan coming into this show?
Caroline Dhavernas: I had never seen an episode of "Grey’s" or "Private Practice" when I first read the script and I wasn’t a doctor show watcher at all. I never wanted to be part of one because the visuals were kind of boring to me – scrubs, hospital walls. It always felt like the same recipe. And every year I was reading pilots waiting for someone to have the balls to do something different. And this one certainly takes place in the medical field but the stakes are different, the location is fresh and the procedures are tweaked.PW: In the first episode you get to cliffjump and ride a zipline, so it's safe to you're a bit of an adrenaline junkie?
Caroline: I’m the happiest camper when we’re outside or in the water. I love that stuff. It's funny, the first scene we shot was the cliff jump, which was interesting starting with the end where we say "if there was ever a place to start over, this is it.” It felt like our real lives since we were embarking on this new adventure. The next day we shot that zip line scene and I felt like a kid way up there covered in blood with the most beautiful view in Hawaii.
PW: I spoke with your co-star Zach Gilford and he said the hardest part of the job is actually reciting the medical jargon. How are you with it?
Caroline: You never feel like you "own it” because you never really know what you’re talking about. But we have great med techs that go through all the motions with us and send a pronunciation guide. But it’s fun to learn. I had to say "Enoxaparin” yesterday and I had to break it down phonetically. Like, "he knocks a pair in.”PW: The first episode also set up some interesting possibilities with Lily and Ben -- what can you tell us about what the future holds?
Caroline: Lily lost someone back home, so she’s not in a rush to love. She’s there for the medicine. But she really admires Ben and has read the books he’s written. Plus, he’s not hard on the eyes, so there’s possibly a bit of a crush there. Truthfully, when you’re in the middle of nowhere with such high stakes, I think it fuels relationships. It’s like that need to feel alive after a funeral. Plus it’s a Shonda Rhimes/Jenna Bans show on ABC, of course there’s going to be relationships. PW: I have to ask, I was a huge fan of "Wonderfalls" -- were you nervous about coming back to weekly television given that experience?
Caroline: Totally. That’s why I took eight years to come back. I read pilots every season, but only went in to screentest twice. Most of the time, I just chose not to. When you sign your life away, like they make you do, do seven years, you really have to love what you’re doing. You could be miserable for a long time if a bad show ends up being a hit.PW: Are you surprised that eight years later, people like me are still asking about the show?
Caroline: Yea. I’m amazed. Thank god the fans all signed that petition because the DVD would have never been released otherwise. I’ve been getting mail from Kula Lumpur and people stopped me on the street in Australia. I had no idea. It was such a different show – they took risks. So many times people use recipes on TV because they’re safe, but I think the audience is always ready for something intelligent and new. We should never underestimate their intelligence and assume they need to be fed something we’ve pre-chewed.