The humidity is thick where I’m so it’s either sitting at the pool or in the central air conditioning watching two of the most provocative series on television. One, Showtime’s The Big C is grounded in reality yet plays out this serious subject with dark humor while HBO’s True Blood operates in a total fantasy world but is grounded in real-world politics.
The second season of The Big C is different this year and that’s intentional say executive producers Darlene Hunt and Jenny Bicks because Cathy (Laura Linney) is angry and in a fighting mode so there’s a bit more edge. Watching the first four episodes brought back memories of my friend’s battle with breast cancer and the devastating news that her treatment wasn’t working and how she, like Cathy, left her doctor for one in charge of a new clinical trial. Cathy does finally get in to see a new cutting edge physician Dr. Atticus Sherman, a great guest appearance by Alan Alda) and lands a spot in his upcoming trial but when she finds out the reason, another patient died, it’s heartbreaking.
Finding the right balance between Cathy’s bout with cancer and how it affects her personal relationships with her husband (Oliver Platt) and son (Gabriel Basso) is definitely challenging, sure the writers would agree. And sometimes it’s hit or miss on the show and a bit over the top but so far this season the compelling drama realistically tackles the struggles of a cancer patient to beat back death while still being mostly a story about how to live.
Right out of the gate, True Blood is spinning new storylines and Sookie (Anna Paquin), who we find out, has been gone a year in fairyland and returns alive to the surprised natives. The triangle of Eric or Bill will play out this season, along with other strange goings on but this is pure entertainment and just right for what looks to be a hot, hot summer.