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Russian Doll is ready for its next existential ride.
After a long wait, the second season of Natasha Lyonne’s genre-bending and time-looping comedy has revealed its launch date. After first making its pre-pandemic and Emmy-winning season one debut in February 2019, Russian Doll will return April 20.
The second season will up the ante, as its set four years after Lyonne’s protagonist Nadia and friend Alan (Charlie Barnett) outsmarted their fate of a mortality time loop. This time around, their trip through a Manhattan time portal will set them on a universe-bending adventure.
The teaser (below), shows Nadia traversing time and space through one trippy subway ride, eventually bringing her to the recognizable bathroom door that started it all (cue: Harry Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up,” playing on loop). “When the universe fucks with you? Let it,” says Nadia, before taking a drink.
Per the Netflix logline, season two will “continue to explore existential thematics through an often humorous and sci-fi lens. Discovering a fate even worse than endless death, this season finds Nadia and Alan delving deeper into their pasts through an unexpected time portal located in one of Manhattan’s most notorious locations. At first they experience this as an ever-expanding, era-spanning, intergenerational adventure, but they soon discover this extraordinary event might be more than they bargained for and, together, must search for a way out.”
Lyonne, Amy Poehler and writer/director Leslye Headland had worked on the concept of Russian Doll for two and a half years before pitching it to Netflix as a three-season series. After the first season, they envisioned keeping Nadia on for however many seasons might come. (The series was renewed for season two in June of 2019.)
“When initially pitched, Nadia was a presence throughout all three of them. But it was not in a very conventional way, if that makes sense. She was always a presence, as we knew Lyonne would always be the beating heart and soul of this show. Whether she was being haunted or she was haunting the narrative, she would be there,” said Headland when she and Lyonne spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how the season one finale could set up the second season.
Lyonne, who says Russian Doll is autobiographical in many ways, later elaborated on Nadia’s return in season two. “There’s a very clear sense of character in Nadia so that you can have very high-concept things happen to her, but they always feel earned,” she told THR following season one’s release. “They’re backed by some sort of lived experience, so they don’t feel like they’re floating in space or completely in the realm of sci-fi. From that perspective, I have some big ideas, and I think this show will continue to work so long as that journey continues to be interesting and worth watching and new. I want to be learning in real time along with her and along with our audience.”
Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek and Kevin Can F*** Himself) joined the cast for season two. Glimpses at Lyonne, Barnett, Murphy and returning star Greta Lee can be seen in the first look photos below. Also returning for season two are Chloë Sevigny, Elizabeth Ashley and Rebecca Henderson.
Lyonne is showrunner, as well as executive producer, on season two. The season is also executive produced by Alex Buono, Poehler and Kate Arend for Paper Kite Productions, Headland, Lilly Burns and Tony Hernandez for Jax Media, Dave Becky for 3 Arts, Regina Corrado and Allison Silverman. Russian Doll is also produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.
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