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Films

5 Netflix shows and films ‘Russian Doll’ fans will enjoy

Inarguably one of the best Netflix Originals ever made, Russian Doll has recently released a trippy second season that features Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett alongside other cast members, namely Annie Murphy, Greta Lee, Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Ashley and Yul Vazquez. 

Created by Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland and Lyonne, the Emmy-winning show is a brilliant blend between existentialism and dark humour as it embarks on a weird and mind-boggling premise involving time loops and mysterious portals. 

Lyonne’s character Nadia Vulvakov is the ultimate existential heroine whose alcohol-fuelled crude hallucinatory trips reach an all-time high when she constantly deals with the catastrophe of time on her thirty-fifth birthday party. As her struggle with time gets even more intense and bizarre, the second season reflects what Lyonne says in the trailer: “when the universe fucks with you, let it.” 

After the end of the second season and an extremely unsettling subway scene, fans are probably dying to watch other titles that are equally darkly humorous, thought-provoking and enjoyable. While Russian Doll has created its own brand of humour, there are certain titles that are comparable in terms of existential thematics, endless time loops etc. 

Here are five such Netflix shows and films that Russian Doll fans will enjoy: 

5 Netflix shows and films ‘Russian Doll’ fans will enjoy 

Shows: 

The Good Place (Michael Schur, 2016)

An unscrupulous mercenary is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place after her death although the Good Place usually does not house amoral, obnoxious people like her. Aware of her mistakes, she wants to stay there and attempts to conceal her past deeds to prevent being noticed by the angel overseer.  

Lucid and effortless, the narrative is a light-hearted exploration of sin, morality, human existence and mortality. The show constantly examines the meaning of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ via a set of diverse, talented cast members who deliver incredibly funny and philosophical performances. 

Dark (Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese, 2017)

With a blend of supernatural elements and sci-fi, namely time travel, predestination, bootstrap paradox and more, this German show is a visual treat for connoisseurs of this blended genre. A brilliant take on time and space, the melancholy and gloomy series lives up to its motto where it presents the future as an illusion. 

The show is based in the fictional town of Winden where missing children lead to the exposure of dealy town secrets that blend the events of 1986, the present and the future, leading to complex relationships and events.

Orange Is the New Black (Jenji Kohan, 2013)

Based on Pieper Kerman’s eponymous memoir, this Emmy-nominated series with its longstanding legacy chronicles the lives and harrowing experiences of prison inmates in a low-security federal prison where they indulge in vicious politics and interactions to save themselves. 

While the elements of the show are totally different from Russian Doll, the Emmy-winning series features Lyonne as one of the inmates, alongside various other talented cast members, namely Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox, Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks and Samira Wiley. 

Films: 

Two Distant Strangers (Travon Free, Martin Desmond Roe, 2020)

The 32-minute short film is a scathing examination of rampant racism and police brutality told through a time loop sequence where a black character constantly finds himself dying at the hands of a white policeman.   

Starring Joey Bada$$ and Andrew Howard in lead roles, the film is unapologetically not subtle and takes a political stand. It illustrates the life and predicament of young African-Americans in the United States as they try and lead a quiet life to prevent conflicts with the police. 

Palm Springs (Max Barbakow, 2020) 

Barbakow tells a funny yet heartfelt story of two characters being stuck in a continuous-time loop. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, the film revolves around two wedding guests who find themselves reliving the same day over and over again. Unable to escape this excruciating cycle, they indulge in hedonistic practices till past mistakes begin to catch up with them. 

Much like Nadia Vulvakov from Russian Doll, Milioti’s character is desperate to escape the time loop. The film is as quirky as the show and examines the meaning of time and the purpose of life via the escapades of the characters whose presence imbues the absurd humour in the comedy.