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TV Shows We Love: Russian Doll

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There are nights you wish would never end, but for videogame designer Nadia this is the problem; she can’t leave her own 36th birthday party. Stuck in a time loop, she starts to feel like a character in a videogame as she finds herself dying repeatedly, forced to relive the party over and over and over again.

Wandering New York City in a desperate rush to figure out what’s going on, she soon discovers she is not alone: in a different part of the city, a man is experiencing the same thing. Together, they set off to solve the mystery and see another day.

With its layered, ornate storytelling, Russian Doll is a complex philosophical tale that manages to combine hilarious comedy with heart wrenching drama. To call it a copy of Groundhog Day – as many have – would be doing a disservice to its cleverly woven narrative, which dares to go deeper. Its title starts to make sense when Nadia realises she will have to peel away the layers of her life to get to the bottom of things.

Arguably, Russian Doll wouldn’t have been so good without the perfect Nadia. A triumphant comeback for Natasha Lyonne, who had been flying under the radar after the ending of Orange is the New Black, the show is the perfect vehicle for her idiosyncratic brand of acting. An excellent meta touch, Nadia’s outspoken, slightly self-destructive nature echoes Lyonne’s, allowing her to really embody the character.

The Netflix production was only supposed to have one season, but huge demand for a second season has enabled showrunners to take us on a different journey, now through time. It’s impossible to give an accurate description without giving away major plot points, but to say it’s worth a watch would be an understatement.

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