Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland are the impeccable creators of the mysterious comedy-drama "Russian Doll" which is the first breakout television show of 2019. The new Netflix show stars Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov, a software engineer, nicotine-addicted, stone cold woman who is stuck in an endless loop of repeating her 36th birthday every-time she dies. Nadia repeatedly dies throughout the show and ends up back in the bathroom of her 36th party wondering what the hell is going on.
The show gives a unique take on the whole "repeat a specific day when you die" formula that multiple movies and tv shows have gone through (Edge of Tomorrow, Groundhog Day, Happy Death Day) with its enormous amount of self-reflection, charm, and intrigue in the phenomenon. Nadia's character goes through multiple stages of guilt, grief, confusion, isolation, enlightenment, and fear from the loop she's stuck in...which only helps her character's development as the show progresses.
The integrity of the story and characters is keen in "Russian Doll," as each episode's runtime is around 24 minutes making the viewer beg for more. Its a binge-worthy masterpiece with its eight perfectly paced episodes and its engaging tone. Lyonne's portrayal as Nadia is exhilarating and perfectly done, as she embodies the character to its full potential making the audience even more empathetic towards Nadia's motivations, conflicts, and goals.
Russian Doll's pace is correlated to its tone switching premise which ranges from extremely comedic to heartbreaking as episodes progress, but it never loses the essence of the show nor does it lose its wholesome charm. There are multiple metaphorical expressions during Nadia's loop, about the fear of death, the fear of grief, the fear of desensitization. It delves into a bigger picture surrounding this mysterious death chain Nadia is stuck in, helping her become more self-aware of her surroundings and allowing her to emphasize better with others.
It even touches on the significance of friendship and the worries of depression and how one can view the world as meaningless and fabrication of time. This series is a fresh take on the death-loop theme and builds characters into their most complex mindsets. Visually the show is also exceptionally done as it captures the raw embodiment of New York City, specifically East Village. Russian Doll is a perfect union of drama and comedy and leaves the viewers begging for more, which is always a perfect formula for an amazing television show.