Tv Review: Two Weeks To Live Series 1 Episode 1

two weeks to live s01e01 indexThe main draw of this latest Sky comedy is the return to tv of Game Of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, with the set up being that Kim Noakes (Williams) is a fairly strange woman, and a slightly smug murderer too. It’s a little difficult to tell how many people she kills in this opening episode as right at the beginning she gets rather pissed off when a tedious bloke in a cafe rips her off, presuming her to be an idiotic tourist who can be taken for a ride, and that’s enough for him to end up unconscious and possibly deceased on the floor, but by the end of the episode she’s definitely shown how she’s happy to casually take a life.

As well as her violent ways there’s clearly something a little off about Kim, including the fact that she carries around a blood soaked book entitled “Things to do in the real world” which includes Try Karaoke, Win A Sword Fight and Be On A Football Team, and early on we learn she’s visiting a pub for the first time and that she’s only watched four films in her life, and shitty films at that. It’s partially explained by a clunky bit of exposition via the form of a letter to her mother (Fleabag’s Sian Clifford) who lives in the Scottish wilderness, where Kim explains that she’s run away as she needs to try new things, how she’s not a little girl anymore, but it’s only towards the end we discover her father was killed by a gangster type (Sean Pertwee) which might partially explain her lack of experience with the ways of the world.

Most of the humour comes from Kim exploring this strange new (to her) world, and a fair few of the gags come from her offbeat nature as well, and though she tries to be cool she accidentally pokes herself in the eye with her sunglasses, stalls the jeep she’s driving away after delivering a quip to the her first victim’s wife, and later when she later walks in to a pub she almost falls over as it appears she’s not used to walking in heels. Kim also believes weird conspiracy theories thanks to the things her Mum, all of which makes her odder, though this last aspect isn’t played with to any particularly amusing extent.

There’s also a hint of romance in the show as Kim meets up with Nicky (Mawaan Rizwan) and his brother Jay (Taheen Modak), gets drunk, and talks a sod load of nonsense with the former so that we get to hear both of their back stories, and these scenes are among the best of the episode as they humanise Kim and make her seem more real than she previously did, and the dialogue with both characters is strong. Unfortunately for everyone involved Jay is a bit of a dick, and one who via the use of a fake video persuades Kim that there’s only two weeks left to live, hence the title of the show, as supposedly a nuclear bomb has gone off, and before they know it Kim’s heading off to kill the man who murdered her father, with Nicky and Jay in pursuit as they wish to tell her the truth.

Like its central character the show is an odd old beast, most of it works but occasionally it’s a little too unrealistic, with Kim getting away with violence with ease, and Nicky going along with his brother’s shittiness especially felt disappointing considering his romantic intentions towards Kim. But largely it’s a fun piece, mainly due to Williams being pretty damn decent in this, her comedic chops are strong and she makes Kim seem mostly agreeable even despite the fact that she has no qualms about extreme acts of violence.

Directed by Al “Code 404” Campbell it certainly looks great, he’s proving himself to be one of the most stylish comedy directors around, and the script by Gaby “Cheat / We Hunt Together” Hull is certainly involving. Whether or not the series works as a whole is going to depend on how they manage the juggling act of keeping it feeling realistic despite clearly being a very unusual creation, but despite the odd flawed moment the majority of it is beguiling and amusing material, and I’m definitely intrigued as to how it will play out.

★★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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