A highly stylised dark-comedy with a strong female lead has become as common in recent years as millennials paying £20 for avocado toast. We’ve got Killing Eve, Fleabag, The End of the F***ing World and I May Destroy You, all fighting to be our favourite moody and existential watch.
And just to complicate things further, there’s a new kid on the block. Maisie Williams is a weapon wielding woman on a mission to avenge her father – sound familiar? – in the new Sky show, Two Weeks to Live. Williams plays spiky and weird Kim, and is joined by Sian Clifford of Fleabag fame playing her mother, who has thankfully ditched the “I look like a pencil” haircut. With this brilliant British duo, you’d expect the series to be a right romp, but there’s something just not quite there with this one.
In truth, the competition is tough, and the fast pace and banter style humour comes across as a bit simple and slapstick, rather than witty and compelling. And each of the 30 minute episodes is so rammed full of plot that they’re almost bursting at the seams. The saving grace for this series is Clifford, who becomes more involved after the first few episodes. Her dry comedic deliveries serve as relief from the awkward banter, and alongside William’s convincing performance as the naïve Kim, round the show off, making it a light-hearted and fun watch, despite us all having seen better before.
Critics’ reviews of the show have been mixed. The Times’ Carol Midgley says that it took her a few episodes to get into Two Weeks to Live, claiming “it initially felt a bit too “teenage” for a fogey like [her].” And we agree that there’s a kind of Killing Eve meets Friday Night Dinner vibe to it. However, she goes on to comment “it improves the more Sian Clifford…is in it.” Chris Bennion of The Telegraph agrees that Clifford is a welcome addition, calling her “supremely watchable,” but does say, “you know you’re on to a loser when it’s been done before, and better, by Mel and Sue,” referencing their recent Sky One show, Hitmen. The shade! Someone who did have something positive to say was The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson. She loves that it hasn’t tried to be super clever, but has indulged in some “proper slapstick,” an addition she believes “lifts it above what might be expected for a show that contains elements that are aesthetically very familiar.”
It’s not going to break the internet, but Two Weeks to Live is a MustWatch if only for the stellar performances of Maisie Williams and Sian Clifford.
First shown September 2020. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.