Laura Linney is nothing less than stupendous as Cathy, the suburban mom living with stage-four melanoma in season two of The Big C
. In fact, the entire cast is, as in the first season, excellent. Oliver Platt is believable, and occasionally frustrating, as Cathy's husband, Paul, from whom Cathy hid her diagnosis for months in season one. Back again are Cathy's son, Adam (Gabriel Basso), a pool of conflicting emotions--resentment, raw grief, depression--and Cathy's living-off-the-grid brother, Sean (the hilarious John Benjamin Hickey). Also back are Cynthia Nixon as Cathy's longtime pal and (rather unbelievably) Sean's baby mama, Rebecca, and Gabourey Sidibe as Andrea, Cathy's former student and little-sister stand-in. Season two adds more excellent cast members. Alan Alda is Cathy's new doctor, who enrolls her in a new treatment, along with fellow patient Lee (Hugh Dancy), who becomes a confidante--and maybe more. Yet while Linney and the cast are excellent, and the direction and writing are top-notch, season two feels like something of a letdown after the excellent, heart-wrenching first season. While it mirrors real-life medical advancements--that stage-four cancer patients do in fact live longer and fuller lives than they once did--the open-ended nature of Cathy's health makes for less-compelling viewing. Which does not mean that the viewer wants Cathy to die; far from it. Fans can continue to cheer Cathy on as she makes some less-than-respectable life decisions, and The Big C
continues to be some of the best storytelling to grace the small screen. The DVD boxed set includes some funny outtakes and extra and deleted scenes. --A.T. Hurley
Laura Linney returns in her Golden Globe®-winning role as Cathy Jamison in “The Big C.” Following the medical diagnosis that rocked her safe world, Cathy finally shares the news with her family and decides to pursue experimental treatment. She quickly bonds with her fellow patient, Lee (Hugh Dancy) – and his wine collection – but isn’t so sure about her new doctor (Alan Alda). Co-starring Oliver Platt and guest-starring Gabourey Sidibe, Cynthia Nixon and Parker Posey, this inspirational and bravely funny second season celebrates a life worth fighting for.