By Noelle Monge
Series: “Russian Doll”
Genre: TV Comedy
Favorite Character: Ruth
Favorite Episode: Season 1, Episode 7, “The Way Out”
How to View: Netflix
Netflix has a charming way of persuading you to watch shows you’ve never heard of before, which is hard, considering we live in the world of fandoms and standoms dedicated to series that have been drawing a following for years (cough cough, Winter is Coming).
Although we are sometimes disappointed and stop watching after the second episode, most of the Netflix originals produce the kind of brilliance you didn’t know you needed. “Russian Doll” is a prime example of that brilliance.
From the gorgeous minds of Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland and Natasha Lyonne, who plays protagonist Nadia, this new series focuses on the relativity of time and the meaning of life in a not-so-corny way.
Nadia, a 36-year-old video game coder, continuously dies from strange causes — think recklessly pushed off a stairwell or freezing to death. After each death, her life re-sets in the bathroom at her birthday party.
This may seem like a lame “Happy Death Day” rip-off, except that we find out Nadia’s mother died when she was 36, which has haunted Nadia ever since. With the help of her Aunt Ruth — who plays the role of the insightful shaman — and Alan (whose character I do not want to spoil for you), Nadia is able to figure out how to escape the cycle and live her life fully.
What I Liked
Personally, my favorite thing about the series was the involvement of theories on other dimensions. Though I’ve thought about the possibility of living in parallel universes, the show portrays such conceptions in a way that intrigues and terrifies you.
The idea that things don’t have to be perfect to be right also resonated with me, which isn’t the end game for most other life-in-crisis-esque shows.
What Could Use Some Work
Nadia and Alan’s backgrounds were so interesting, yet I felt like we only truly see them at the end of the season. And even then, you’re still not completely sure why or how they’ve gotten into their sticky situations.
A break from the repetition of Nadia’s birthday would have been good in order for their background stories to come to fruition. Two or three more episodes would have done the trick, and I would’ve appreciated the switch-up.
“Russian Doll” deserves a watch because it has an interesting concept that has its viewers thinking about time and its relativity. However, there is definitely room for growth. I don’t know if a second season is guaranteed by the way it ends, but I wouldn’t be opposed to one, either.