It’s not often I binge watch TV shows, but Russian Doll is an exception. This comedy-drama created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland is one of the best Netflix Originals out there at the moment, it’s incredibly easy to watch, yet it’s also very layered and complex and you’ll find yourself thinking about it long after you’ve finished the series, trust me, you’ll be hooked from start to finish.
Russian Doll follows a woman called Nadia (played by Lyonne) who gets stuck in a Groundhog Day style time loop, she repeatedly dies and ends up having to relive the same night over and over again, so she set’s out to solve the mystery as to what exactly is happening to her, in a hope that she can return to a normal life.
That’s about as much as I can say in terms of the plot, because I would rather you all go and watch it yourselves and experience it spoiler-free, which is definitely the best way to watch it. But I can say with confidence that this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, in a good way. The first half of this 8-part series is very much primarily a comedy piece, which it does to great effect, providing the audience with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments, usually courtesy of Nadia, who is a very flawed yet loveable character.
However, the second part of the series has a distinct shift in tone which I didn’t expect whatsoever, and it is what separates this show from others. I was pleasantly surprised by how layered and deep the story becomes, and it’s interesting to see how a comedy show can suddenly switch into something which is more akin to a psychological thriller which can be rather unsettling. Just when I got comfortable with the show, it subverted my expectations and reeled me in even more, before I knew it, I had finished the series in one night.
I can’t say a lot more about Russian Doll, but I do implore you to watch it. Episodes come in between 20 and 30 minutes so it’s incredibly easy to get through, it’s very entertaining for the casual audience and there’s also plenty here for those who love to analyse things long after they’ve finished it. The ending is still on my mind, I’m still getting my head around the themes and messages that the show conveys. It’s impacted me in a way I never thought it would and it’s one of the most original pieces of television I’ve watched in a long time. Some may find it a bit convoluted near the end, but if you can get through that, you’ll undoubtedly be appreciating it even more.
I give Russian Doll an 8.5/10.