• Network: Netflix
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 1, 2019
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 24
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 24
  3. Negative: 0 out of 24

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Feb 4, 2019
    100
    Extraordinary and thoughtfully existential. ... Russian Doll draws viewers in with questions large and small about death, depression and the redemptive power of friendship.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Feb 1, 2019
    100
    The series is probably too weird to win a bunch of Emmys, but God willing, Lyonne will be nominated. She’s so good. ... Already one of the best shows of the year.
  3. Reviewed by: Haleigh Foutch
    Feb 1, 2019
    100
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 31, 2019
    100
    If in the end it's just a long meditation on the idea that people need people, a four-hour metaphorical expression of the fact that you have to abandon old patterns to move forward, it is wonderful all along the way and magnificent in the end. Its last minutes are as deftly handled, wise, unpredictable and rewarding as television ever is. And these ideas are no less powerful for being obvious; the world is choked with people trying to realize them in their own lives. Lyonne, especially, is marvelous, playing Nadia.
  5. Reviewed by: Danette Chavez
    Jan 31, 2019
    100
    Unlike so many puzzle-box shows, Russian Doll doesn’t rely on its twists and clues, though there are plenty of those, all expertly deployed across each of its eight exquisite half-hour installments. ... Russian Doll’s investment in its characters makes it a binge-worthy show that demands an immediate rewatch.
  6. 100
    What Russian Doll has is heart--but heart without cheap sentiment or bosh. ... It is matter-of-fact in acknowledging modern failure and disillusion, without ever trying to nail it down, avoiding the tones of hectoring obviousness that mars recent items-in-vogue like “BlackKkKlansman” and the bratty jabber of Aaron Sorkin scripts. In a soothing, down-to-earth way that doesn’t have all the answers, Lyonne and company show us how to deal with the deaths, literal and figurative, we face every day.
  7. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Jan 25, 2019
    100
    2019’s best new show to date, a cerebral yet propulsive eight-episode dramedy. ... [Nadia’s] arc feels like the ideal fusion of Lyonne’s gruff authenticity, Headland’s acerbic humor and the warm, humanistic perspective that defines Poehler’s work.
  8. Reviewed by: Caroline Framke
    Jan 22, 2019
    100
    The show is so striking and smart that I made a note to include it on my favorite TV shows of 2019 immediately after blowing through the season--which is saying something, since that was back in December of 2018. But part of what makes the series so special is how it’s meticulously constructed, shedding layer after surprising layer until the bittersweet end.
  9. Reviewed by: Alexis Gunderson
    Jan 31, 2019
    95
    It is, in the eight shaggy, smartly-constructed puzzlebox episodes of its debut season, nearly perfect.
  10. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Feb 1, 2019
    91
    There’s much more to appreciate about this quick hit of brilliance, from the leads’ soulful performances to the edgy, adventurous direction, but “Russian Doll” must be treated like its namesake. Unpacking it over and over again will reveal fresh insights. Each piece is worth admiring for different reasons, and each episode offers its own rewards.
  11. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Feb 1, 2019
    90
    Scene by scene, it finds raw, affecting themes about mortality and grieving, and it has some legitimately cool plot twists. ... Russian Doll is propulsive and joyful.
  12. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Feb 1, 2019
    90
    Russian Doll is a two-hander, and when it gets to that portion of the series--around Episode 4--the whole thing elevates even further, both emotionally and logistically. Russian Doll is a tightly plotted, high-concept puzzle-TV comedy.
  13. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Feb 1, 2019
    90
    The elements in Russian Doll may sound somewhat familiar, particularly the “Groundhog Day” repetitions; but they are all recombined to form something that is both fresh and revelatory.
  14. Reviewed by: Sophie Gilbert
    Jan 31, 2019
    90
    Lyonne, Headland, and Poehler have a larger purpose in mind, one that elevates Russian Doll from being a simple dramedy about one woman’s wackiest night ever. As the series proceeds, it gets more ambitious and more complicated in a way that’s gratifying to watch.
  15. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 31, 2019
    90
    It’s eight short, acerbic, wittily profound episodes with a richly satisfying ending(s).
  16. 90
    It’s a great show, both surprising and affecting, and it neatly dodges the standard tropes of its familiar premise. By the end, Russian Doll builds to a climactic discovery that involves Nadia reconsidering her past, sorting through her childhood and her relationship with her mother without ever collapsing into a simple reductionist takeaway.
  17. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 29, 2019
    90
    Much of Nadia’s predicament is hilariously absurd but the show also never loses sight of the fact that she’s dying, again and again, often in front of people who care about her more than she’s comfortable admitting. 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.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Feb 1, 2019
    88
    In the dark and funny and whip-smart and spiritually intriguing and intellectually challenging “Russian Doll,” Natasha Lyonne is rock-star great as a New York woman named Nadia, who dies on her 36th birthday, wakes up--and dies again.
  19. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Jan 31, 2019
    80
    With its comically erudite repartee and an edge filed to an almost Pinteresque point, Russian Doll defines its TV moment: It is recklessly paced, dealt out in small, furious bites, and its finger has found a comfortingly absurdist pulse in the culture.
  20. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Jan 22, 2019
    80
    As a show with a particular and confrontational attitude, Russian Doll won't stick for all viewers. For those with early doubts, my own nesting doll of reactions went from "This is reasonably clever" to "This is actually good" to "Huh, that was pretty impressive." Go in knowing as little as possible and stick it out for the ride.
  21. Reviewed by: Michael Haigis
    Feb 4, 2019
    75
    While the resolution of her predicament is somewhat vague, it remains sweetly fulfilling, because, while the series deals in opaque supernaturalism, its protagonist is easy to root for as she fumbles toward happiness.
  22. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Feb 1, 2019
    75
    There are a whole lot of ideas here--a few thrown against the wall to see if they'll stick--but the real pleasure of this four-hour head trip are the performances. Lyonne is outstanding.
  23. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 30, 2019
    67
    Just at the moment when you’re getting tired of the “Groundhog Day” antics and thinking Nadia’s rerun rumpus is a trip to anywhere, Russian Doll drops a twist in its third episode that changes everything.
  24. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: Kristen Baldwin
    Jan 28, 2019
    67
    Russian Doll takes a complex premise and boils it down to a simple lesson: We all, like, need each other. [1/8 Feb 2019, p.85]
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 291 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 27 out of 291
  1. Feb 3, 2019
    10
    To me, perfect. Visually excellent too, almost nostalgically NY.

    Will appeal to fans of existential comedies like Adaptation, Human Nature,
    To me, perfect. Visually excellent too, almost nostalgically NY.

    Will appeal to fans of existential comedies like Adaptation, Human Nature, The Good Place etc.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 3, 2019
    0
    All pretense and no real core. A totally inept rummaging on "life" in New Yawk. To draw characters to especially and desperately avoid clichésAll pretense and no real core. A totally inept rummaging on "life" in New Yawk. To draw characters to especially and desperately avoid clichés is itself the most clichéd thing i(Look,so cool, the "Russian" main character who is a master coder can speak Arabic an her drug dealer is Sikh)....maybe those writers should watch Woody Allen movies to avoid delivering some superficial New Yawk life scene and find some heart and soul. Maybe this will impress teenagers in the Mid-West though....besides critics (who used to be teenagers in the Mid-West) Full Review »
  3. Feb 9, 2019
    1
    Natasha Lyonne does an impression of Mel Brooks, and that's supposed to be her character in RUSSIAN DOLL. I couldn't make it through the firstNatasha Lyonne does an impression of Mel Brooks, and that's supposed to be her character in RUSSIAN DOLL. I couldn't make it through the first few episodes because it's boring, and the characters are so unlikable and/or pretentious that I just don't care about any of it. This show is labeled a comedy, but I couldn't find anything remotely funny in what I saw. Full Review »