By Margaret Lyons
Updated August 17, 2010 at 06:03 PM EDT

Image Credit: Jordin Althaus/ShowtimeLast night marked the season premiere of Weeds and the series premiere of The Big C, and I can’t help but think that the shows have more in common than not. They both star beloved, talented 40-something actresses who each won an Emmy for their roles in sprawling, highly decorated HBO miniseries. Neither Mary-Louise Parker’s Nancy nor Laura Linney’s Cathy can wrap her brain around mortality; Nancy’s ultimately still running her husband’s death in the first season, and Cathy’s in complete denial about her own terminal prognosis. They’re inappropriate but lovable, terrified but resilient. And there’s more:

The main character is keeping a secret

Weeds Nancy’s son is a murderer (and she’s a drug dealer).

The Big C Cathy has terminal cancer.

Supporting player who’s more fun than the star

Weeds Nancy’s been the least-winning character on this show for a while, but Justin Kirk’s Andy has transitioned from goofy sidekick to total delight.

The Big C Sure, Cathy’s okay, but Gabourey Sidibe’s surly Andrea is poised to be the show’s comic relief. (Especially since Oliver Platt is playing such a yutz so far.)

Conceit that is wearing/could wear thin

Weeds Nancy has so far evaded prosecution through a variety of lucky breaks and running around with tough guys, but one of these days, something’s gotta give. Nancy’s scrappy and all, but can she continue to outsmart career criminals, gangsters, kingpins, and politicos?

The Big C Terminal illness as impetus and license for whimsical behavior is pretty standard. But no one in Cathy’s life knows she has cancer, which means everyone around her just thinks she’s being weird. How long can that really last?

Relationship I wish were the center of the show

Weeds Nancy and Andy. The chemistry! It’s so forbidden!

The Big C Cathy and Dr. Todd. The chemistry! It’s so forbidden!

I’m ready for Weeds to be amazing again (keep dreaming, Mags), and I can’t wait for The Big C to come into its own. Consider me sucked in, shows!

What about you, PopWatchers? Were you watching last night?