Natasha Lyonne is magnificent as a woman reliving her last 24 hours, Groundhog Day-style, in this endlessly impressive and idiosyncratic show

‘I’m sorry for YELLING,” yells the main character, Nadia, in Netflix’s new drama Russian Doll. “But I’m having a very BAD, NEVERENDING day.” And there, roughly, is the series’s premise.

After leaving her 36th birthday party in New York’s East Village to search for her missing cat, Nadia is killed by a car. She wakes up back at the party in a grandly overdecorated bathroom (all the better to mark the beginning of your new time loop, my dear), and starts all over again. And again. Yes, it’s like Groundhog Day – and Happy Death Day. It has a dash of Amazon Prime’s Forever. But the familiar premise is still fertile and compelling: what would you do? How would you cope if you were caught in a loop, doomed to spend eternity repeating your last few hours on Earth?

At first, Nadia doesn’t overthink things. “The universe,” she roars, after returning to the party a second time, “is trying to fuck with me, and I refuse to engage.” Nadia is a games coder who looks like Cynthia Heimel, talks like Fran Lebowitz and is played by Natasha Lyonne, an actor who specialises who feel profound fury at the world; they are women with

The first half of Russian Doll is given over to the traditional testing of boundaries, working out how the strange new rules operate, divining the internal logic of the setup and eliminating the most obvious possibilities. Nadia’s best friend Maxine (Greta Lee) – who is, incidentally, the decorator of the bathroom, and consumed with worry that it’s “too vaginal” – gives Nadia a cocaine-laced joint at the party, which she smokes just before her first death. She assumes she is having a bad trip and tracks down its suppliers. It was not laced with cocaine, but with ketamine, they tell her. Nadia, who has tried most things once (including, one suspects, incest and morris dancing, despite Sir Thomas Beecham’s sage advice), is relieved. She has not tried ket, so it must be that. “Except we have done ket,” Maxine reminds her a few deaths later. “Most recently at Louis’s christening.” not one shit left to give. Nadia is no exception.

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