Russian Doll (TV series)

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Russian Doll
Created by
Directed by
Composer(s)Joe Wong
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Kate Arend
  • John Skidmore
  • Ryan McCormick
CinematographyChris Teague
  • Todd Downing
  • Laura Weinberg
Running time24–30 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01) –
present (present)
External links
Official website

Russian Doll is an American comedy-drama web television series, created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, and Amy Poehler, that premiered on February 1, 2019, on Netflix. The series follows Nadia Vulvokov (Lyonne), a game developer who repeatedly dies and relives the same night in an ongoing time loop and tries to solve it, leading to her finding Alan Zaveri in the same situation (portrayed by Charlie Barnett). It also stars Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, and Elizabeth Ashley.

On June 11, 2019, Netflix renewed the series for a second season.[1] Its first season received thirteen Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Lyonne.


Russian Doll follows a woman named Nadia on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City. She dies repeatedly, always restarting at the same moment at the party, as she tries to figure out what is happening to her.[2]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov, a software engineer who finds herself reliving her 36th birthday party in an ongoing time loop wherein she repeatedly dies and the process begins again.
    • Brooke Timber portrays Nadia as a child.
  • Greta Lee as Maxine, Nadia's friend, who throws her 36th birthday party.
  • Yul Vazquez as John Reyes, a real estate agent and Nadia's ex-boyfriend who is currently in the process of divorcing his wife.
  • Charlie Barnett as Alan Zaveri, a man who is also stuck in a time loop like Nadia.
  • Elizabeth Ashley as Ruth Brenner, a therapist and close family friend of Nadia and her mother.


  • Dascha Polanco as Beatrice, Alan's girlfriend to whom he is going to propose
  • Jeremy Bobb as Mike Kershaw, a college literature professor with whom Beatrice is having an affair
  • Brendan Sexton III as Horse, a homeless man whom Nadia helps out
  • Rebecca Henderson as Lizzy, an artist and friend of Nadia and Maxine
  • Ritesh Rajan as Ferran, a friend of Alan's who works at the deli
  • Ken Beck as a paramedic
  • Max Knoblauch as a paramedic
  • Yoni Lotan as Ryan, a paramedic
  • Burt Young as Joe, a tenant in Alan's apartment building



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Nothing in This World Is Easy"Leslye HeadlandStory by : Natasha Lyonne & Leslye Headland & Amy Poehler
Teleplay by : Leslye Headland
February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
After dying abruptly on the night of her 36th birthday, Nadia finds herself reliving the events of the night in a continuous time loop. Every time Nadia dies, she returns to the bathroom of her friend Maxine's loft, where Nadia's birthday party is being thrown.
2"The Great Escape"Leslye HeadlandNatasha Lyonne & Amy PoehlerFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
An increasingly frantic Nadia is convinced that she is hallucinating due to smoking one of Maxine's Israeli joints at her birthday party. She tracks down Maxine's drug dealer Wardog in order to find out what the joint was laced with.
3"A Warm Body"Leslye HeadlandAllison SilvermanFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
Nadia asks for John's help as her quest for answers leads her to a local synagogue. While searching for her cat Oatmeal, Nadia befriends a homeless man named Horse, and later encounters a mysterious man in a falling elevator.
4"Alan's Routine"Jamie BabbitCirocco Dunlap & Leslye HeadlandFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
The day before crossing paths with Nadia in the elevator, Alan plans to propose to his girlfriend Beatrice, only for her to break up with him. To make matters worse, Beatrice admits to cheating on Alan with her professor, Mike. Nadia tracks down Alan, since he is also experiencing time loops, but he accuses her of interfering with his routine.
5"Superiority Complex"Jamie BabbitJocelyn BiohFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
Alan shows up at Nadia's birthday party and the two work together to figure out what is happening to them. Despite initially rebuffing Alan's theory that they are being punished for being bad people, Nadia sets out to make amends with John. Meanwhile, Alan confronts Mike about his affair with Beatrice.
6"Reflection"Jamie BabbitFlora BirnbaumFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
In an effort to figure out how their lives are connected, Nadia helps Alan remember his first death as they retrace his steps. Alan eventually recalls he died as a result of suicide by throwing himself off the top of a building.
7"The Way Out"Leslye HeadlandStory by : Allison Silverman
Teleplay by : Allison Silverman & Leslye Headland
February 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
With the steady disappearance of their loved ones, Nadia and Alan come up with a theory that the loops started because they neglected to help each other on the first night they died. Meanwhile, Nadia is haunted by memories of her troubled childhood.
8"Ariadne"Natasha LyonneNatasha LyonneFebruary 1, 2019 (2019-02-01)
Nadia and Alan find themselves trapped in two separate timelines, where they run into alternate versions of each other who are in the first loop and unaware of the future loops.


The series was created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland, all of whom also serve as executive producers. Headland wrote the first episode, and she and Lyonne also serve as writers for the series. Production companies involved with the series consist of Universal Television, Paper Kite Productions, Jax Media, and 3 Arts Entertainment.[3][4][5]

Alongside the initial series order announcement, it was confirmed that Natasha Lyonne would star in the series.[3] Alongside the premiere announcement, it was confirmed that Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Elizabeth Ashley, and Charlie Barnett had joined the main cast and that Chloë Sevigny, Dascha Polanco, Brendan Sexton III, Rebecca Henderson, Jeremy Bobb, Ritesh Rajan, and Jocelyn Bioh would make guest appearances.

Principal photography for season one began on February 22, 2018, in New York City.[6]


The song "Gotta Get Up" by American singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson was used as the "reset" song each time the character Nadia dies and is resurrected. Lyonne explained to The New York Times that in choosing the song she was struck by the "buoyant doomsday quality" of Nilsson's life. Other contenders for the reset song included "Not Tonight" by Lil' Kim, "Crazy Feeling" by Lou Reed and "No Fun" by The Stooges. Though Netflix finally obtained the usage rights to Nilsson's song, the cost of using it so many times took up a significant portion of the music budget. His estate also limited how many times the song could be used. According to music supervisor Brienne Rose, the production was able to "find a balance between the maximum number of uses and what the budget would allow." The "reset" song utilized for the character Alan was Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 4 In G Major".[7]


On January 9, 2019, Netflix released the first trailer for the series.[2] On January 23, 2019, the series held its official premiere at the Metrograph theater in New York City, New York. Those in attendance included series writer Jocelyn Bioh, Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Fred Armisen, Amy Poehler, Chloë Sevigny, Greta Lee, Dascha Polanco, Rosie O'Donnell, Danielle Brooks, Laura Prepon, and David Harbour.[8][9]


The series has received critical acclaim. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 8.53 out of 10 based on 85 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Russian Doll may be stuck in a time loop, but this endlessly inventive series never repeats itself as it teeters on a seesaw of shifting tones – from fatally funny to mournfully sad – that is balanced with exhilarating moxie by an astonishing Natasha Lyonne."[10] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 89 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."[11]

Alicia Lutes of IGN gave the first season a 10/10. Praising the series, she adds that it is "an inventive, unpredictable ride that will easily stand as one of the best shows of the year."[12] In a positive review, Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall awarded the series 4½ stars out of 5 and praised it saying, "That blend of tones, and the controlled mania of Lyonne's brilliant performance, makes Russian Doll feel like something wholly new, even as it cops to its many influences."[13] The New York Times' James Poniewozik was similarly approving saying, "Russian Doll is lean and snappily paced; it even managed the rare feat, in the era of streaming-TV bloat, of making me wish for a bit more."[14] Collider's Haleigh Foutch was equally enthusiastic giving the series a rating of 5 out of 5 stars and applauding it saying, "It's pure binge-watching magic; a show that's not only expertly designed to compel viewers to the next episode but invests just as much in the integrity of story and character."[15] Time's Judy Berman described the series as "cerebral yet propulsive" and praised its many layers calling it, "2019's best new show to date."[16]


Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Television Critics Association Awards Program of the Year Nominated [17]
Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Nominated
Outstanding New Program Won
Individual Achievement in Comedy Natasha Lyonne Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated [18][19]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Natasha Lyonne Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, & Amy Poehler (for "Nothing In This World Is Easy") Nominated
Allison Silverman (for "A Warm Body") Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Christine Kromer Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) Chris Teague (for "Ariadne") Won
Outstanding Contemporary Costumes Jennifer Rogien, Melissa Stanton, & Charlotte Svenson (for "Superiority Complex") Won
Outstanding Music Supervision Brienne Rose (for "Nothing In This World Is Easy") Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series Laura Weinberg (for "Ariadne") Nominated
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less) Michael Bricker, John Cox, & Jessica Petruccelli (for "Nothing In This World Is Easy") Won
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation Thomas Ryan, Alex Soto, & Wen-Hsuan Tseng (for "The Way Out") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation Lewis Goldstein & Phil Rosati (for "The Way Out") Nominated
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program Christopher Place Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Streaming Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or Action/Thriller Television Series Nominated [20]
Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation Natasha Lyonne Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 11, 2019). "'Russian Doll' Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix". Variety. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 9, 2019). "'Russian Doll' Trailer: Natasha Lyonne Relives Death On An Endless Loop In Netflix Comedy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (September 20, 2017). "Netflix Greenlights Comedy From Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland & Amy Poehler". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (September 20, 2017). "Natasha Lyonne to Star in Netflix Comedy From Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  5. ^ MacDonald, Lindsay (September 20, 2017). "Amy Poehler Heads to Netflix With a Natasha Lyonne Comedy". TV Guide. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  6. ^ "Thursday, Feb. 22 Filming Locations for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The OA, Younger, & more! - On Location Vacations". On Location Vacations. February 21, 2018. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  7. ^ Harris, Aisha (February 1, 2019). "This Is That Song From 'Russian Doll'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Kirsch, Daniela (January 25, 2019). "Natasha Lyonne, David Harbour At Netflix 'Russian Doll' Premiere". Patch Media. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Bobila, Maria (January 24, 2019). "Greta Lee Wore a Balenciaga Throwback From the Nicolas Ghesquière Days". Fashionista. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  10. ^ "Russian Doll: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "Russian Doll: Season 1". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  12. ^ Lutes, Alicia (February 14, 2019). "Netflix's Russian Doll: Season 1 Review". IGN. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  13. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (January 29, 2019). "'Russian Doll' Review: Natasha Lyonne Is a Revelation". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Poniewozik, James (January 31, 2019). "'Russian Doll': Repetitive Death Syndrome". The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  15. ^ Foutch, Haleigh (February 1, 2019). "'Russian Doll' Review: Netflix's Comedy Is a Wickedly Clever Fable of Morality & Mortality". Collider. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  16. ^ Berman, Judy (January 24, 2019). "Netflix's Russian Doll Is 2019's Best Show So Far". Time. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  17. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 19, 2019). "'Pose,' 'Russian Doll,' HBO Lead 2019 TV Critic Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  18. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (September 22, 2019). "Emmys 2019: Game of Thrones Ties Record and Leads TV Pack; Fleabag, Chernobyl and Mrs. Maisel Win Big". TVLine. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  19. ^ Hill, Libby (September 14, 2019). "Complete Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2019 Winners List: 'Game of Thrones' Torches Competitors". IndieWire. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  20. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (July 16, 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame', 'Game of Thrones' Lead the 2019 Saturn Awards Nominations". Collider. Retrieved July 17, 2019.

External links[edit]