This week has been full of news and previews coming out of TCA, but for those in need of something long-form to binge on before and after the Super Bowl, Netflix's Russian Doll appears to be the best bet possible. Releasing on Friday, February 1, Russian Doll has already become one of the most well-received original series in the streaming giant's library.
Having not gotten too far into it myself, I can definitely say that Russian Doll will catch viewers immediately with its dark Groundhog Day-esque tale and Natasha Lyonne's DGAF approach to life as New York City birthday girl Nadia Vulvokov. That's basically all one should know about the "plot," so to speak, going in, though it's definitely worth noting that co-stars and recurrers like Greta Lee, Elizabeth Ashley, Brendan Sexton III and others all bring their A-games...over and over again.
The new series is currently sitting at 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and at an 89 on Metacritic. For a broad but still detailed idea of Russian Doll's power, here's how Uproxx put it.
Nearly every single praiseworthy claim made about Russian Doll has been framed around Orange is the New Black vet Natasha Lyonne. Not only for her excellent and layered performances throughout the eight episodes, but for being one of the co-creators alongside Amy Poehler and Bachelorette playwright and film director Leslye Headland.
The Atlantic for instance, gave the three creators much credit for not just settling for the easy storytelling tropes with Russian Doll.
Each reset puts Nadia at a visually striking party and she quickly finds myriad branching paths to follow, sometimes trying to find answers for the existential crisis rebooting her existence. However, the answers are only as important as all of the other minor intricacies and character details that make each Russian Doll do-over ripe with the potential to do literally anything. And Nadia is a perfect vehicle for such a ride.
Rolling Stone points out that throughout any and all of the tonal shifts, Russian Doll doesn't try to shy away from anything it's showing audiences.
Not to spoil anything here, but there are lots of elements in Nadia's life that speak to the way her life is playing out. It's not on the same level of Netflix's recent phenomenon in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, even if that relatively more traditional sci-fi series' easter eggs are more in line with Russian Doll's foreshadowing and reverse-foreshadowing.
With such a high-concept narrative driving things, viewers might be worried that this will be another case of a Netflix original taking one too many episodes to wrap things up. But that's not the case at all, as far as NPR is concerned.
The other big worry for a show like this is that all of the dominoes that have been set up end up falling off of the table, rather than creating a beautiful display. In THR's review, that concern gets addressed and reassuringly dismissed.
And just in case anyone needs to hear Russian Doll get lauded in a way that speaks to the object of its title, Paste Magazine has us all covered.
So there you have it, streamers and dreamers. With comedy, drama, slight horror and whimsy around each and every filthy street corner, Russian Doll is going to be one of the big new shows to beat throughout 2019. Let us know in the comments what you thought about the show!
Russian Doll Season 1 is currently available to stream in full on Netflix, so don't wait around to see if you 'll be able to watch it after you die. You're not Nadia. Go watch Russian Doll, and then take note of everything else hitting Netflix's 2019 calendar, as well as all the other midseason TV shows on the way.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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