Originally, I was confused by Showtime's "The Big C," starring Laura Linney as Cathy, a woman who discovers she has terminal melanoma and decides to live each day like it's her last.

Originally, I was confused by Showtime's "The Big C," starring Laura Linney as Cathy, a woman who discovers she has terminal melanoma and decides to live each day like it's her last.

She relinquishes her anal retentiveness, kicks out her childish husband (Oliver Platt) and decides to have nothing but liquor and desserts for dinner. Yet Cathy can't tell her family about her disease.

The premise reminded me of a flip "Breaking Bad" minus the meth and art-house cinematography, while its jokes (and pseudo-romance) felt like "Sex and the City" in the suburbs without the sex and Manolo Blahniks. The showrunner is former "City" producer Jenny Bricks.

The pilot made me question why talents like Linney and Platt would sign on for a series that attempted, poorly, to make light of cancer. That was until Linney's powerful monologue - to a basset hound, no less - closed out the first episode (which is currently available online as a preview.)

I watched the next two installments with a full understanding that "The Big C" was a mixture of playful (if not always hilarious) comedy, tender sadness and a whole lot of awkward characters and uncomfortable moments.

Settling into "The Big C," the characters come to the forefront, letting the premise become an omniscient and sometimes forgotten narrative. Linney is strong despite slightly inconsistent writing, and Platt nails his man-child with a romantic heart.

The supporting characters, including Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe, aren't extraordinary - but they're weird, which is interesting.

I'll be giving "The Big C" a chance for a season just for the stars and the fact that Idris Elba ("The Wire's" Stringer Bell) will guest star in a few episodes.