RUSSIAN DOLL -- Grade A
The latest buzzy new series to premiere on Netflix is this quirky half-hour comedy-drama created by the powerhouse female team of producer Amy Poehler, writer-director Lesley Headland and writer-star Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black, Slums of Beverly Hills).
And yes, as you might’ve heard, it’s got a Groundhog Day premise, which finds a smart, seemingly self-aware woman re-living -- and re-dying -- the night of her birthday party on a seemingly endless and utterly hilarious loop. That sends her on an eight-episode twisty-turny search for answers.
There’s some metaphysical stuff, some Jew stuff, some psychiatry stuff and lots of profanely wonderful New York stuff. And just the right amount of Harry Nilsson's great tune "Gotta Get Up.”
Lyonne, with her mop of red curly hair and ever-present cigarette, hits all the right notes with her portrayal of the lovably gruff Nadia, the alternately exasperated and utterly lost soul, and she’s surrounded by a talented and multi-cultural ensemble cast that includes Greta Lee, Charlie Barnett, Yul Vasquez and the always-wonderful Elizabeth Ashley.
To try and describe this show at all kinda diminishes the joy of discovery, but it’s a quick binge at eight half-hour episodes, and is highly recommended, especially considering its all-female creators and majority female writing and directing staff.