Must-See: The Big C (Series Debut Monday, 8/16)
Expect The Unexpected
The very first thing you need to know about The Big C is that it is not a television series about cancer. Yes, The Big C refers to cancer, but the focus of the show is far more about how one woman reacts to her diagnosis than it is about the illness itself. The Big C is a dark comedy that will take you to surprising places with equal humor and poignancy.
In Which My Praise For Laura Linney Knows No End
Laura Linney is perfectly cast as Cathy Jamison, a suburban school teacher who discovers that she has cancer. I have admired her work over the years, particularly in Tales of the City (1993), Primal Fear (1996), Absolute Power (1997), The Truman Show (1998), The House of Mirth (2000), You Can Count on Me (2000), The Life of David Gale (2003), Mystic River (2003), Love Actually (2003), Kinsey (2004) and Breach (2007). Although Linney received an Academy Award nomination for The Savages, I still feel as though she deserved an Oscar for You Can Count on Me. And if you did not see the HBO miniseries John Adams, add it to your queue immediately; Linney won an Emmy for her role as Abigail Adams and it was one of her finest performances to date.
By the way, I highly recommend this this recent New York Times profile of and interview with Linney.
Why The Big C Deserves a Season Pass
Because you will find some of Cathy Jamison’s reactions to be quite reasonable, and others to be rather shocking. Because the supporting cast is quirky without being stereotypical or grating. Because you will find yourself wondering what changes you would make in your life under the same circumstances. Because Laura Linney is a familiar, comforting face that will accompany you into potentially unfamiliar territory; a phenomenal actress who radiates warmth and strength on screen. Because we now have the opportunity to spend a half hour a week with Linney and her unparalleled dimples. And because short house robes are bound to make Entertainment Weekly’s sidebar column The Shaw Report as an “in” trend after an episode or two.
The Big C also stars Oliver Platt (Huff) as Jamison’s husband, Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) as one of her students, John Benjamin Hickey (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) as her brother, Reid Scott (My Boys) as her doctor, Phyllis Somerville (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as her neighbor and newcomer Gabriel Basso as her son. Idris Elba (The Wire) also makes a guest appearance, and former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon joins the cast later on in the first season.
Series creator/writer Darlene Hunt is also an actress and playwright; she recently appeared on Hung and Parks and Recreation. Executive producer/writer/showrunner Jenny Bicks previously wrote and produced Sex and the City and Men in Trees. Executive producer Neal H. Moritz is primarily known for film but he also produced Tru Calling and Prison Break.
The pilot episode of The Big C was directed by Academy Award winning screenwriter Bill Condon (Gods & Monsters), and future episodes are lensed by a few of my favorite cable television directors, Craig Zisk (United States of Tara, Nip/Tuck, Nurse Jackie, Weeds) and Alan Poul (Six Feet Under).
Linney’s talent, the stellar cast and the subject matter, combined with the creative experience above, is exactly why you should tune in when The Big C debuts on Showtime next week (Monday, August 15 at 10:30pm ET) immediately following the season 6 debut of Weeds at 10pm ET. You can also become a fan of the show on Facebook and follow series updates on Twitter.
Of course if you don’t want to wait until Monday, you can watch the entire first episode right now on Showtime!