We were lucky to get an advance copy of Showtime's The Big C and we're happy to report that Showtime continues to ride its hot streak of great shows with its newest, as it offers up big-time laughs and performances.

To begin with, let's get the obvious out of the way: C stands for Cancer, as in Cathy Jamison (played by Laura Linney) has it. Stage 4 lung cancer to be specific. For those lucky enough to be out of the loop, the median life expectancy for a stage 4 patient is around 8 months with an even sadder 5 year survival rate of less than 10%. That's what the internets told me, at least.

The show's first episode follows Cathy as she comes to grips with her mortality and decides how she wants to live out the remainder of her life. Sounds awful, right? Well it's kind of awesome so calm down. Her cancer is her secret at this point, one she shares with her doctor alone, that along with an obvious mutual attraction that is only natural with a young doc with "hey-I-look-like-Ryan-from-The-Office" looks.

Cathy's life, at this point, is unenviable to say the least. One, she's got cancer, so life sucks. Her brother is a know-it-all hippie. Dirty and self righteous enough to be third mate aboard the Steve Irwin on Whale Wars. She's recently kicked her man-child of a husband, played by Oliver Platt, out of their house because, well, he's an annoying child and she's already got one of those. Enter their son, knee-deep in that "too cool for school" teenager phase. "Cool" being a relative term. Cool like being angsty and prematurely cynical but secretly he screams like a bitch when he's scared.

Overall though, the episode was about small victories for Cathy as she starts to "get her weird back" and confronts life's bullies one by one. Check out her cutting back and forth with a student of hers, played by the apparently always awesome, Gabby Sidibe.

The episode ends with a funny and heart breaking moment, where, alone with her thoughts and her crotchety old neighbor's dog, Cathy accepts her fate with a pained laugh.

I'll answer her last question the same way I'd answer "Will you be watching Episode 2?"... Why the hell not. I love what I've seen so far.

Showtime's The Big C is set to premiere Monday, August 16th at 10:30 pm.