Netflix’s ‘Russian Doll’ puts a twisted, NYC-spin on ‘Groundhog Day’
It's February 2, aka Groundhog Day, and it's no coincidence that new Netflix series, Russian Doll, just debuted yesterday. It's got a basic premise in common with Bill Murray's 1993 comedy where he has to relive one day over and over and over. Russian Doll is funny too, but that's really where the similarities end. It's a darker, weirder and decidedly more New York show that's not afraid to go full-on drama. Natasha Lyonne, who co-created Russian Doll with Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland, stars as Nadia, a software designer who can't seem to make it through her 36th birthday without dying. She certainly tries a lot. At first she thinks it's all in her head thanks to a joint laced with ketamine, but she comes to realize there's more going on and other people may be experiencing the same thing. Like the namesake toy, Russian Doll reveals inner layer after inner layer.
Lyonne really carries the show with her hyper-verbal style and manic energy, but the whole thing is whip-smart, with great visual style, a real feel for the East Village where most of the show is set (Tompkins Square Park is almost a character of its own), and has a great soundtrack, too. They use a lot of cool '60s'70s nuggets (Harry Nilsson's "Gotta Get Up" plays every time her day resets), French pop, and Nadia tends to favor dark electronic stuff (Anika, John Maus, Light Asylum and Gang Gang Dance, whose Lizzi Bougatsos has a small role). All that, and at only eight 25-minute episodes, Russian Doll is extremely bingeable.
You can listen to a playlist of songs from the show, and watch the trailer, below.