Netflix is a great place for binge-watching exciting shows. Not even a month into the new year and Netflix delivered one of the best shows of the year. ‘Russian Doll’ features the story of a woman who gets stuck in a time loop, and in order to break out of it, she has to confront the things in her past that have left a scarring emotional impact on her. Starring Natasha Lyonne as Nadia, the show starts with a party, Nadia’s birthday party. It becomes a night she’ll never forget because she revisits it more times that she can count. She tries to understand the reason behind her unbelievable situation and tries to investigate everything- from the possibility of a drug-induced hallucination to the story of a haunted building. On the way, she meets another person, Alan, who becomes instrumental in her pinpointing the source of her problem.
In the beginning, it feels like ‘Russian Doll’ is just another show in the time-loop genre. It is funny, it has a colourful protagonist and a little bit of mystery. However, by the end of the show, you realise that there is so much more to it than what appears on the surface. And that the story brilliantly justifies its title. If you loved Nadia’s story, then here is the list of the shows similar to Russian Doll that are our recommendations. You can several of these shows like Russian Doll on Netflix, Hulu or Amzon Prime.
13. Travelers (2016-2018)
The way things are going right now, the possibility of a post-apocalyptic world doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all. The future that ‘Travelers’ is set in tells the story of a world where the social structure has completely collapsed. There is nothing that can be done in the present that could change or make things better. Past is the only place where the solution lies and that is where a special group of people are sent. Known as Travelers, these people will have their consciousness transferred to someone in the past. There, in the guise of their cover lives, these people have to change the course of history by altering certain events.
12. Timeless (2016-2018)
‘Timeless’ tells the story of a group of people who discover that a mysterious organisation has gotten hold of a time machine and is now using it to change the history. After a couple of incidents, the team realises that the main aim is to destroy America as they know it. However, in the long run, the true purpose of the evil plan reveals to be more disastrous. Abigail Spencer played the role of Lucy Preston, a history professor who is made the head of the team that is supposed to stop these attacks and prevent the history from being altered.
11. Continuum (2012-2015)
In 2077, the governments have fallen and it is the most powerful corporations in the world that are running things now. A group of people don’t like this and have created a terrorist group that resorts to violent methods that get their point across. They are finally caught; however, on the day of the execution, these terrorists succeed in travelling back in time to 2012, while unintentionally bringing along a police officer with them. Once in the past, these terrorists decide to change the future by sabotaging the companies in their nascent state. The police officer pulls together a team to thwart their plans.
10. The Lost Room (2006)
Apart from the major plotline of recurring time-loops, there were several small things scattered around ‘Russian Doll’ which made it such an intriguing show. One of those things was the act of disappearance. After every loop, one or the other thing seemed to disappear from Nadia’s life. ‘The Lost Room’ may or may not feature a time loop, but its plot coincides with that of ‘Russian Doll’ in the fact that things have disappeared in its world as well. In an abandoned motel in New Mexico, there is a mysterious room. There was a time when it was a normal place, but after the Event, it became a hotspot for strange cosmic activities. Detective Joe Miller stumbles upon it while following an investigation. He becomes an active player in uncovering its secret when his daughter gets lost in it.
9. 11.22.63 (2016)
Time loops and time travel are, technically, two very different things. The biggest difference between them is the nature of control that a person has on them. There is one big similarity as well. Both these things allow a person to rectify the mistakes made in the past. With the knowledge of what happens in the future, you can do something that should have been done before, or stop something bad from happening. Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, ’11.22.63’ follows the story of Jake Epping who goes back in the past to change the history of America. Epping’s friend tells him about a portal that will allow him to travel back in time, to a specific date. There is just one thing that Epping has to do: stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
8. Future Man (2017- present)
Josh Futturman has never been ambitious enough to do anything great in his life. His job was to work as a janitor in a scientific research facility, and his leisure activity was to play video games. Considering his life and character, Futturman would hardly be the hero when it comes to saving the world. The people from the future, however, don’t think so. There is a game called Biotic Wars that no one has ever been able to complete. And this is the only thing that drives Josh. He has spent days and nights trying to do something that no could. When he finally makes it, his whole life changes.
7. The Ministry of Time (2015- present)
It is a fact that if powerful knowledge falls into the hands of a wrong person, it will surely turn into a catastrophe. So, when the doors of the time were discovered in the streets of Spain, the government decided to take immediate action to prevent anyone from taking any sort of advantage from it. A special team was tasked to patrol these doors and stop anyone going in or coming out from it. A paramedic from the 21st century, a 19th-century woman, and a 16th-century soldier become the key players in the protection of these doors.
6. Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)
One of the quirks that made ‘Russian Doll’ so enjoyable was its dark humour and lovably flawed characters. ‘Pushing Daisies’ shares these characteristics and offers an original tale of its own. It follows the story of Ned. For normal people, Ned is just a simple pie-maker. But, no one knows that he has what can be considered a superpower. If he touches a corpse, he can bring it back to life. But, resurrecting the dead always comes with a price, so there is a technicality in Ned’s gift which creates a problem for him after he resurrects the girl he has fallen in love with. Apart from that, his gifts are put to good use by a detective who uses his ability to bring dead people back to life and ask them about their murderers to quickly solve their cases.
5. 12 Monkeys (2015-2018)
Based on the 1995 film of the same name, ’12 Monkeys’ tells the story of a man who is sent back from the future to help a scientist in preventing the outbreak of a virus that will destroy humanity. By 2043, billions of people have died because of the virus which is constantly mutating to become even more hazardous. If things are not checked, the whole of humanity would perish and this is what James Cole has to stop. He is sent back to 2015 to discover the identity of the secret organization that is behind this whole catastrophe. He has only two years to get the job done because 2017 will mark the beginning of the deadly future.
4. Dark (2017- present)
“The question is not where but when.” This is the tagline of the show, and just by this, you can imagine how intriguing this story must be. Things begin to turn shadowy in a small German town when children start disappearing. A couple of families take centre stage to represent the repressed conflicts inside the town. As the investigation moves forward, terrible secrets are revealed. All along, a cave system becomes the hotspot for all explainable events in the town. The show follows multiple timelines to set the tone for the story and the fate of the various characters. It has been compared to ‘Stranger Things’ in the nature of its storytelling, however, they strongly differ from each other in plot points.
3. Man Seeking Woman (2015-2017)
Relationships were one of the central themes in ‘Russian Doll’. Nadia’s relationship with her mother, her bond with her godmother, her inability to reciprocate John’s love: there are many complications in Nadia’s life. Falling into a time loop only elevates her problems. Josh Greenberg, the protagonist of ‘Man Seeking Woman’ has a similar problem in his life. Although he hasn’t fallen into a time loop, a lot of strange things happens with him as he tries to build a relationship with someone. After his girlfriend of a long time breaks up with him, Josh finds himself unable to make another girlfriend. His sister tries to introduce him to some people, while his best friend gives him all sorts of advice on how to win over a girl. Despite all these preparations, Josh finds himself unable to act rationally when he repeatedly finds himself in queer situations.
2. The Good Place (2016- present)
One of the best comedy-shows airing right now, ‘The Good Place’ has created its own niche in the genre. Kristen Bell plays the role of Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who hasn’t always been a good person. Like most people, she has done things and said stuff that shouldn’t allow her into heaven before a ride through hell. But, when she dies, Eleanor finds herself in a place that was specifically designed for the morally perfect people. It is a utopia of sorts for righteous souls. She quickly realises that there has been some mistake, and tries to keep it a secret while vowing to earn her place in heaven by being a good person.
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1. Fleabag (2016- present)
The protagonists of ‘Russian Doll’ and ‘Fleabag’ share a lot of common characteristics. They both seem to harbour anger which keeps them away from people, they are both witty and their one-liners can shut anyone up, they are reckless and carefree, and both of them are haunted by a tragedy. Nadia lives in New York, but her almost doppelganger, Fleabag lives in London. Though Nadia doesn’t seem to be in any financial crisis, at the moment, for Fleabag, things are becoming desperate with each passing moment. Her attempts at trying to keep her boat afloat and not falling for the trauma that comes back to haunt her sanity might seem rather bleak topics but are presented in some hilarious ways.
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