The Big C (TV series)

The Big C

The Big C intertitle
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Darlene Hunt
Starring Laura Linney
Oliver Platt
John Benjamin Hickey
Gabriel Basso
Gabourey Sidibe
Phyllis Somerville
Opening theme "Game Called Life"
by Leftover Cuties
Composer(s) Marcelo Zarvos
Jesse Voccia
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 40 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Darlene Hunt
Laura Linney
Jenny Bicks
Neal H. Moritz
Vivian Cannon
Mark J. Kunerth
Michael Engler
Producer(s) Cara DiPaolo
Lou Fusaro (pilot only)
Melanie Marnich
Location(s) Minneapolis, Minnesota (setting)
Stamford, Connecticut (actual filming location)
Running time
  • 28 minutes (season 1–3)
  • 56 minutes (season 4)
Production company(s) Perkins Street Productions
Farm Kid Films
Original Film
Sony Pictures Television
Showtime Networks
Distributor Sony Pictures Television
Original network Showtime
Original release August 16, 2010 (2010-08-16) – May 20, 2013 (2013-05-20)
External links

The Big C is an American television series which premiered on August 16, 2010 on Showtime.[1] It drew the largest audience for a Showtime original series premiere.[2] Season 2 premiered on June 27, 2011.[3] Season 3 premiered on April 8, 2012.[4] On July 31, 2012, The Big C was renewed for a fourth and final season, named "Hereafter", which premiered on Monday, April 29, 2013[5] and concluded on May 20, 2013.


The show follows, in Minneapolis, Westhill High School teacher Cathy Jamison  a reserved, suburban wife and mother  who is diagnosed with melanoma. The realization of this forces her to really begin to live for the first time in her adult life. At first she chooses to keep her diagnosis from her family, behaving in ways they find puzzling and increasingly bizarre. She finds new freedom to express herself. As the show progresses, Cathy allows her family and some new friends to support her as she copes with her terminal prognosis, and finds both humor and pathos in the many idiosyncratic relationships in her life.

Cast and characters

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4
Laura Linney Cathy Jamison Main
Oliver Platt Paul Jamison Main
John Benjamin Hickey Sean Tolkey Main
Gabriel Basso Adam Jamison Main
Gabourey Sidibe Andrea Jackson Recurring Main
Phyllis Somerville Marlene Main Recurring

Main cast

Recurring cast

Critical reception

The Big C's pilot episode was received positively by critics, while subsequent episodes received mixed reviews. Season One received an overall score of 66 on Metacritic.[7] Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote: "The Big C works because most of the writing is strong and believable, and so is Ms. Linney, who rarely sounds a false note and here has perfect pitch... the series is at its best when sardonic and subdued."[8] Washington Post critic Hank Stuever said: "Buoyed by scalpel-sharp writing and even keener performances, The Big C …walks a fine line of having it both ways. It's for people who are repelled by the warm-fuzzy, disease-o'-the-week dramas of cable television,"[9] while's Ken Tucker quibbled with its major plot point: "My big problem with The Big C concerns a crucial decision the show made for the early episodes: Cathy declines to tell those closest to her that she has cancer. While this is one of the many different reactions people have to such a diagnosis in real life, in a comedy-drama like this, it makes everyone around her seem a bit dim."[10]

The second season received similar reviews to the first, receiving a score of 64 on Metacritic.[11] Maureen Ryan of AOL TV stated that "Having a character and her family deal with a potentially fatal illness is such a rich arena for both drama and black comedy, but so far, The Big C hasn't been able to mine that topic with consistent freshness and depth."[12] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly was critical towards the show, but commended the acting, stating that "Much of The Big C's unoriginal dramatization of cancer concerns is mitigated by the fresh, dynamic performances of Laura Linney and Oliver Platt."[11]

The third season received a score of 67 on Metacritic.[13]

The fourth and final seasonconsisting of four hour-long episodesreceived a score of 73 on Metacritic and a user-rating of 8.5.

International broadcasting

Country Network Series Premiere
 Australia GEM September 29, 2010
 Austria ORF1 March 26, 2012
 Belgium Vijf May 5, 2015
 Brazil HBO January 16, 2011
 Bulgaria bTV Comedy January 13, 2013
 Canada Super Channel[14] September 1, 2010
 Greece Mega Channel July 1, 2014
 Cyprus Mega Channel Summer 2012
 Denmark TV3 Puls June 12, 2012
 Estonia Sony Entertainment Television Baltic March 18, 2013
 Finland YLE TV1 October 15, 2011
 France Canal+ December 8, 2011
 Germany FOX[15] April 5, 2011
 Iceland RUV February 17, 2011
 Ireland RTÉ June 17, 2011
 Israel Hot 3 April 4, 2011
 Italy FoxLife June 21, 2011
 Japan NHK Apr 1, 2015
 Netherlands Fox Life April 20, 2010
 New Zealand TV3 October 12, 2010
 Poland Tele 5 March 30, 2012
 Serbia Fox Life May 22, 2015
 South Africa M-NET May 17, 2011
 Slovenia POP BRIO September 7, 2011
 Spain TV3 (Catalan television)[16] August 4, 2014
 Sweden SVT February 19, 2011
 Turkey ComedyMax October 2, 2010
 United Kingdom More4 February 3, 2011
 Mexico HBO January 22, 2011
 Norway TV2 January 3, 2012
 Portugal TVSéries October 2011
 India Colors Infinity August 6, 2015
Saudi Arabia OSN

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations for The Big C
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2010 Satellite Award Television Series (Musical or Comedy) Series Won
Best Actress - Television Series (Musical or Comedy) Laura Linney Won
2011 Golden Globe Award Television Series (Musical Or Comedy) Series Nominated
Best Actress - Television Series (Musical or Comedy) Laura Linney Won
American Cinema Editors Award Best Edited Half Hour Series for Television Brian A. Kates Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Laura Linney Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Idris Elba Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Julie Tucker and Ross Meyerson Nominated
Satellite Award Television Series (Musical or Comedy) Series Nominated
Best Actress - Television Series (Musical or Comedy) Laura Linney Nominated
2012 Golden Globe Award Best Actress - Television Series (Musical or Comedy) Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Bernard Telsey Nominated
2013 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Laura Linney Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie John Benjamin Hickey Nominated


  1. "Showtime sets summer premiere dates for 'The Big C' and 'The Real L Word'". Los Angeles Times. March 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
  2. Hibberd, James (August 17, 2010). "Showtime's 'The Big C' Draws Record Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  3. Reiher, Andrea (September 20, 2010). "'Weeds,' 'The Big C' Renewed by Showtime". Zap2it. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  4. Gorman, Bill (January 20, 2012). "'The Big C' Returns On April 8; Victor Garber Dials Up Trouble In The Third Season". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  5. Seidman, Robert (January 12, 2013). "Showtime Announces Premiere Dates for 'Nurse Jackie,' 'Dexter' (Returning Early) 'Ray Donovan,' 'Homeland,' 'Masters of Sex' & More". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  6. "Exclusive: The Big C Promotes Gabourey Sidibe to Series Regular". Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  7. "The Big C: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  8. "It's Hello Cancer, Goodbye Inhibitions". The New York Times. August 15, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  9. Stuever, Hank (August 16, 2010). "'The Big C': Showtime Series Takes Cancer Seriously, but in a Funny Way". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  10. Tucker, Ken (August 11, 2010). "The Big C". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  11. 1 2 "The Big C: Season 2". Metacritic. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  12. Ryan, Maureen (June 27, 2011). "Review: Laura Linney Fights Cancer (and Cliches) in 'The Big C'". AOL TV. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  13. "The Big C: Season 3". Metacritic. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  14. "The Big C on Super Channel". Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  15. "The Big C ab April als Deutschlandpremiere bei FOX". January 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  16. ""Amb C majúscula", la nova sèrie del dilluns a la nit". Retrieved 2014-08-11.
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