Dying and death are topics typically reserved for A Very Special Episode of a particular series.
But Showtime’s The Big C is a drama that, from the very start, has built its foundation on these frightening/sad/troubling subjects.
And it kicks off its final run tonight with the opener of The Big C: Hereafter, mini-series that is guaranteed to deliver laughter, tears and reflection for all viewers.
Will Laura Linney's Cathy Jamison get her life in order as her cancer continues to wreak havoc on her body? How will her family react to what she goes through? And will she triumph in the end? Here is are seven reasons why you should grab some Kleenex and tune in...
Bow Down To Laura Linney Watching this amazing actress play the highs and lows of Cathy Jamison is a marvel. Gabriel Basso - who plays her teenage son, Adam - said of working with Linney: “I was able to learn from her, watching her get into character, and her preparation....she is soooo real. It's hard, when you are a kid actor, opposite someone so talented, to not be drawn in to their moment. She stretched my ability, and helped me a lot.”
Comedy/Drama Blend The subject may be heavy, but the final episodes are filled with hilarious moments. Executive Producer Jenny Bicks explained to me: “When you’re facing tragedy, there’s a lot of comedy right up against it so it wasn’t like we were going to be losing the comedy. We were just going to be bringing it in a little more in certain moments that were going to be tense moments, but we always have that in the series.”
New Lease On Life John Benjamin Hickey (Sean, Cathy’s brother) is grateful they had these last episodes to wrap up the story: “Showtime gave us a new lease on life because we thought that our third season might very well be our last season and we all tried our best to make peace with that.” Hickey added that he and everyone involved “went into it with an enormous amount of gratitude to Showtime and David Nevins [President of Entertainment at the network] for giving us the opportunity to kind of tie it all together.”
More Than Cathy's Story “It’s not just something happening to that person,” Bicks said. “It affects all of the relationships around them. Everybody has to grow and shift to accommodate what’s happening, and so we knew that as much as it was the story about Cathy dealing with her mortality, it was also going to be how do these other figures deal with impending death?” My personal favorite? How Sean, Cathy’s bi-polar brother, deals with her possible death in these episodes.
Great Guest Stars Watch for Alan Alda’s to return as Cathy’s curmudgeonly doctor; Kathy Najimy as Cathy’s therapist; Isaac Mizrahi as himselfl and we’ll finally meet Cathy and Sean’s estranged father, played by Brian Dennehy.
Live Or Die? No spoilers here as far as whether Cathy makes it or not. But everyone in the cast – Linney, Hickey, Basso, Oliver Platt and Gabourey Sidibe – get their time to shine and, trust me on this, the storylines and the show are wrapped up in a fashion that honors the series as a whole.
Not The End The show may be wrapping up but there are oodles of other projects coming for show’s talented actors. Linney, for example, will star alongside Benedict Cumberbatch The Fifth Estate, which is the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Hickey is the comatose lead in the CW pilot Blink and expects to appear in the film version of the Tony-winning The Normal Heart. Basso is on the big screen in the Sundance hit, Kings Of Summer, which comes out May 31st.
The Big C: Hereafter begins airing tonight at 10 p.m. on Showtime.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.