REVIEW: “Russian Doll” (Season 1)

Netflix’s Russian Doll feels like it might in episode one become the millionth Groundhog Day imposter. I waited around until halfway in the season, when it became a bright show with humor and darkness mixed amongst themselves. 

Give it a chance. All Netflix shows lately, animated and not, seem held to the standard you awkwardly fit in a novel’s length of back story and plot setup into the first two to three episodes. Remember when TV show used to, well, live as they were supposed to play out? Not anymore.

By episode four’s brief introduction, you want more from leads Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett. Only Ms. Lyonne could make a character like this realistic and likeable. I am grateful as a viewer for her natural acting skills. Another person might not have the right sarcasm to deliver lines making her sound like a friend you went to school with. Mr. Barnett plays a character so uptight, he never lived until he began “living” in his Groundhog Day.

By episode eight, you’re in for a deeper thinking show you never expected with women who aren’t always keeping it together, plenty of jokes, men defying gender roles of playing tough guys in scripted TV shows, and strong writing.