If Season 1 of the hit Netflix series Russian Doll taught us anything, it’s that time is an illusion not to be trusted. However, possibly more frustrating than being caught in a time loop that’s determined to see you die on your birthday is the fact that it’s been over three years since the hilarious and trippy Natasha Lyonne drama premiered on the streaming service. Season 2 is (finally) returning to the Netflix schedule, and critics have had the opportunity to screen the new episodes ahead of their April 20 release. With Season 1 becoming one of Netflix’s best-reviewed shows, could the sophomore effort possibly live up to the hype?
Natasha Lyonne returns to Russian Doll as one of the best characters on TV, Nadia Vulvokov, along with Charlie Barnett as Alan. Elizabeth Ashley, Rebecca Henderson and Greta Lee are also amongst the returning cast (would it even be Russian Doll without Maxine yelling, “Sweet birthday baby!”?), with Schitt's Creek star Annie Murphy amongst the additions. In Season 2 Nadia and Alan will dive deeper into their pasts through an unexpected time portal, discovering a fate even worse than endless death, according to the official description. OK then! Let’s get to the reviews!
Marya E. Gates of The Playlist says the second season is equally as twisting as the first, but so much plot is forced into the seven half-hour episodes that the side characters get short-changed. The season needed more episodes, or longer episodes, to allow the series to breathe:
Saloni Gajjar of AV Club grades Russian Doll’s sophomore season an A- for the way it uses Nadia and Alan’s complex ancestry and generational trauma to further develop the protagonists. The series suffers a little in how little the leading actors’ interact, but the cast as a whole shines — most of all Natasha Lyonne:
Caroline Framke of Variety questions why creators Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland would even dare to go back into a series that ended so perfectly after Season 1, but she says that proves to be the whole point of the second season:
Meghan O’Keefe of Decider says Natasha Lyonne brings more of the character we loved the first time around, maybe to a fault. While Season 2 is still chaotic and unpredictable, it nods at its success by revisiting all of our favorite things about the first season, but sometimes to its own detriment:
Alex Maidy of JoBlo says this go-round is not quite as well-rounded as the first season but it’s still impressive in the way that it flips its Season 1 concept completely on its head:
The critics seem a little mixed on how well Season 2 stacked up to the impeccable first season, especially its highly-acclaimed finale. However, even if they don’t think it quite lives up to the original, they all seem to agree it’s worth watching with a Netflix subscription. That sentiment is backed up by its Rotten Tomatoes score, which, ahead of its release, has compiled a 100% Fresh rating from 16 critics.
Season 2 will premiere Wednesday, April 20.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.