While I’ve never actually had cancer before, my life has been drastically altered by the disease enough so that I will probably forever be trying to cope with the very existence of it in any form for whatever amount of time I’m given on this earth. It is for this reason in part, that I feel a special fondness for Showtime’s The Big C. The series, which follows a terminally ill cancer patient named Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney), is funny and scary and it breaks my heart on a regular basis, yet it’s not nearly as much of a downer of a show as one might expect, given the premise. The threads of humor and hope are interwoven in the tone and pace of the show in a way that doesn’t promise us a happy ending, but does give us the opportunity to appreciate what’s left of Cathy’s story, however long that may be.

Fortunately, Cathy’s story is going to continue on for at least one more season. According to Deadline, Showtime gave The Big C a ten episode order for Season 3. Production should begin sometime early in 2012.

The phrase “living with cancer” may sound a bit cliche, but that is exactly what Cathy’s doing. She’s surviving for as long as she can, dealing with the disease, managing her family and her job and learning to appreciate her life in new ways. In turn, her friends and family have their own stories along with trying to deal with Cathy’s disease. With all of that going on, there’s plenty of story to fill up a show without wallowing in sadness or banking on tear-jerker scenes (though there are definitely a few of those) for entertainment value.

I'd say The Big C falls into the category of underrated, given that I don't hear nearly as much praise for it as it deserves. Thanks in part to outstanding performances by Linney and the rest of the cast, and in part to the writing, The Big C gets a big A for excellence. I’m excited to see how Season 2 wraps up later this month and joyful that we’ll have a third season to look forward to.

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