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Laura Linney brings her 'A' game to 'The Big C'

I know some viewers will avoid Showtime's "The Big C" because of the subject matter, cancer. And that is absolutely understandable.

But you should also know that at least in Monday night's premiere episode the story is more one of a woman living with a diagnosis of cancer than it is about the disease -- to paraphrase what star and executive producer Laura Linney has been saying about the show.

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Linney as Cathy Jamison, a high school teacher who finds out she has stage four melanoma, is the main reason that it is so easy to instantly get caught up in this series. As of Monday night, you will not find a finer actor working in series television.

Please check out a podcast preview of "The Big C" that I did in conjunction with WYPR-FM, Baltimore's NPR affiliate, here. There's a gallery of weekly podcasts that I do with Andy Bienstock and Lisa Morgan, the station's program director and executive producer respectively, at that site.

But most of all, if you have access to Showtime, check out "The Big C" Monday night at 10:30. It is worth it just to see how engaging and inspired TV acting can be when someone like Linney is bringing her "A" game to the tube.

And I am serious about the best actor on television. If you disagree, please let me know about it in a comment. I look forward to that discussion. I'll tell you this: There is no performance on "Mad Men" this season within shouting distance of Linney's work in this pilot.

And here's to Showtime for taking on this subject in a such an intelligent and life-affirming way.

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