• Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 16, 2010
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 63
  2. Negative: 12 out of 63

Review this tv show

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Oct 2, 2011
    0
    A weak show. It has no potential. The first season was very poorly written and didn't really establish a function-able storyline which was evident by the erratic changes every week. Laura Linney, "the greatest actress of this decade," is failing that false title dearly and has plummeted to the B-list by taking part in this show.
  2. Oct 31, 2010
    0
    I don't think anyone is laughing!! Just more crap from show time.. Give me a real comedy any day!!
    Great actors poor script! Why have a character you would grow to hate. This has completely missed the mark. It's always about sex violence or drugs with show time. I have to switch to HBO.
  3. Dec 29, 2011
    10
    Witty, thoughtful, sad, charming, heartwrenching, dramatic, enticing. This show has everything. Even the couple of subpar episodes are elevated by Linney's performance. YES, this show makes me laugh - A LOT. To people who say it's not funny are obviously letting the dramatic moments overshadow everything else - it's a dark comedy, in the same vein as Weeds. Weeds is another show I love but it has been less funny in the past seasons - doesn't mean its still not a dark comedy. Expand
  4. Apr 29, 2012
    4
    Excellent acting from all actors except for Cynthia Nixon, who is just re-enacting the exact character she played in Sex in the City, (in fact I believe her lines are even borrowed from SIC). Admittedly there are some amazing lines delivered in very genuine way. But the acting and above average lines are where the show has decided to restrict itself to. The
  5. Aug 31, 2010
    8
    Laura Linney is great, as usual. She does great work the the half hour Showtime format. I'll definitely watch the season. Weeds is a solid lead-in. I just with Oliver Platt didn't seem so neutered.
  6. Sep 7, 2010
    10
    Linney, who also serves as executive producer, is luminous as always. But the first three episodes fall into a predictable pattern of Cathy confronting someone and dropping cryptic comments about her diagnosis.
  7. Aug 16, 2011
    7
    It's hard to stick with a show without a single likable person in it, but then Hollywood seems good at producing these kinds of shows about self centered Californians (who this time are pretending to be in Minnesota) and their childish angst ridden lives. Yet Linney does make it worthwhile enough to linger and watch whether anyone grows up, and as much as I hate Oliver Platt playing Oliver Platt again - he does make such good use of his putty face and body - his character always manages to screw up so consistently that even when he has a genuine moment of devastation it's worthwhile to see the schmuck suffer. But this series is not about real people it's about characters in a comedy, characters who leave no indelible impression. Expand
  8. Sep 2, 2010
    8
    Laura Linney is really good. She can definitely get a Golden Globe nomination with a possible win and it able to get an Emmy nom. Gabourey Sidibe is great but they need to give her more screen time. The reason I gave this show a 9 because it isn't good in the 30 minute format. It goes by too quickly, this show should be an hour. Oliver Platt and Laura Linney's on screen son are pretty good. But this show can't last very long, the longest it can last is probably 2 to 3 seasons. If it goes on past that, then the series will drag on and become stupid. Expand
  9. Sep 26, 2010
    10
    Definitely one of the better shows I've seen in a long long time. Laura Linney really shows her acting skills in this great comedy. Showtime has had some misses lately, they're just lucky that they found The Big C.
  10. Nov 16, 2010
    9
    Laura Linney is a tour de force, able to show more emotion and impact in 15 seconds of camera face time than half the cast brings to the screen for the rest of the show. That's both a compliment and part of the sole problem this show has. The show contrasts light and dark, control and chaos, you name the opposites in some very broad strokes. While this elevates Linney's Cathy as the character you can't turn away from, it leaves most of the supporting cast looking two dimensional at best, and unfortunately as cartoon caricatures on occasion.

    Oliver Platt is often wasted here as Paul, the estranged father of a broken family. He's a very good actor who unfortunately is rarely given much to work with in this vehicle, although his acting makes the most of the material he's been given. Similarly, Gabourey Sidibe never rises higher than her earliest scene with Linney, which contains one of the most memorable tirades in recent television history. Gabriel Basso may very well be a solid actor, but the material he's being given thus far won't let you know one way or the other. His character, Adam, is rather insipid: almost entirely unlikeable, ridiculously self-absorbed and fluttering between caustic and outright cruel. It's unnecessary, and leaves you with the feeling that if something tragic were to happen to him (which nearly came to be late in the first season), the only reason you'd care is because of how it would affect Cathy. On the positive side, Phyllis Somerville occasionally elevates her Marlene to rival Cathy later in the season, but unfortunately many of those moments brings with them a skewed gravitas that feels more like an Oxygen made-for-TV special than the top tier entertainment I've grown to expect from Showtime the last few years. John Benjamin Hickey, playing Cathy's brother Sean, is frequently endearing and entertaining, although his earth-conscious crusade is written so over the top that he occasionally comes off as a cartoon rather than a human being. Finally, Reid Scott's portrayal of Cathy's doctor, new to practicing medicine and in particular having to give news of this gravity, actually rings true; his discomfort, both at being the bearer of bad news to someone he likes and in particular at hearing someone occasionally speaking glibly of their own mortality, makes his on-screen moments particularly riveting, a rather rare feat on a show that seems custom tailored to keep all eyes on Cathy.

    The writing for the show is admirable at its core, making the recipient of this grim prognosis seem exceptionally vibrant and alive, more so in fact than most of the people she surrounds herself with. What's been intimated about Cathy is that before the diagnosis she was rather boring and safe; it's the sole thing about Linney's character that doesn't come off as believable. The sole detriment of having an actress as formidable as Linney in a role like this is that it's unimaginable to see her as a curmudgeonly stick in the mud; this is a woman whose portrayal of Abigail Adams was every bit as mesmerizing as Paul Giamatti was as the title character in HBO's John Adams miniseries.

    So feel free to enjoy The Big C for what it is: a celebration of the fact that life isn't over until it truly ends. Sit transfixed at watching a modern actress at the height of her powers; it's what I've done this entire season. But don't look for much more from this show than that, or you may come away disappointed from a show that is more than worthy of a half hour out of your week.
    Expand
  11. Apr 6, 2012
    8
    Full disclosure: If Pauley Shore and Carrot Top starred in Showtime sitcom, I'd cancel my subscription; but add Laura Linney to the mix and I'd sign on for life. Without her, The Big C would probably get a 6 from without Linney, but she is THAT good. The show isn't as well written as perhaps iot should be, but it certainly rises above the sitcom drek one finds on mainstream TV. Linney is simply fabulous, everyone is else is merely adequate and the writing is up and down, but the Big C is still worth the effort. Expand
  12. Mar 11, 2011
    10
    Loved this show. Laura Linney is great. I love her character. The show has its really funny parts but it has its sad ones too. I can't wait to see season 2.
  13. Jan 9, 2012
    0
    Not a good show by any stretch of the imagination. People need to get over Laura Linney. She's not making this show better. It's a failure on a gargantuan scale.
  14. Oct 7, 2013
    8
    Ideal comedic cast with a sweet premise; although silly at times, it's harmless. Not as much depth as one would hope, but it is very funny, and has heart.
  15. Dec 23, 2013
    9
    The first season of The Big C is a strong start. Oliver Platt and Laura Linney both shine and get the best lines each episode. This season did make me cry, several times, in fact. Overall, the acting is top notch. The writing is funny and realistic. Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone.
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. 80
    Linney and this role were made for each other. There are a few problems with The Big C. Occasionally, the tone veers off course into forced comic absurdity. But my cavils are irrelevant in the face of Linney's extraordinary work.
  2. Linney, who also serves as executive producer, is luminous as always. But the first three episodes fall into a predictable pattern of Cathy confronting someone and dropping cryptic comments about her diagnosis.
  3. 88
    It's unclear how many more seasons Cathy will survive, and how much humor can be mined from her pain. The visuals just might stay with you, though, as long as you live.