Russian Doll: Netflix takes over

With its 139 million (and rising) subscribers, Netflix has increasing monopoly of the film and television industries. Their ‘Netflix Originals’ provide a melange of shows and films with the ambition to cater for all of its members, whoever they are. From the ‘cheap thrills’ of You to the cult-like triumph of Orange is the New Black, there is no doubt that Netflix has proven themselves to be a diverse and varied production house. Securing their first Oscar nomination recently with Roma (with a total of 10 nominations, and 3 wins), reiterates that Netflix should not only be associated with easy watching, but also critical acclaim.

Their new 8-part series Russian Doll created by Amy Poehler, accompanied by and starring Natasha Lyonne, yet again showcases Netflix’s ability to make original, complex and gripping content. The show upgrades the concept of Groundhog Day, and Nadia (Lyonne) finds herself consistently dying and waking up on her 36th birthday. Throughout the tantalising 8 episodes, Nadia is forced to confront her insecurities and fears, which have evidently been suppressed throughout her life. She finds herself backed into a corner of isolation, protected by her sarcastic-wit that prevents anyone, including closest friends, from truly understanding her.

To me, Russian Doll is the pinnacle of the Netflix-original saga. While being an engaging, Black Mirror-esque, mysterious, funny story, tinged with gore, sex and drugs, the aspect of the series that plays on my mind is Nadia and her eventual sidekick Alan’s (Charlie Barnett) complex and intriguing dispositions. Both characters are made complete by their wacky idiosyncrasies, Alan having some form of OCD and Nadia’s blasé attitude and constant cigarette sucking (the only way to describe how the woman smokes). Both characters are totally realistic, complex and believable, a feat that is hard to achieve when placing them in such a totally-unrealistic situation. All in all, it is totally binge-worthy content.


Words by: Anna Sutherland