Russian Doll is a very inventive show, but that doesn't mean it's totally original. Even the best shows have predecessors, because let's face it, everything's been done already. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. When you're done binging the show, which follows one woman's quest to stop dying over and over again, there are other shows you can seek out.
There are also plenty of movies that have something in common with the show. After all, living the same day over and over again is maybe more common on the big screen. Whether some or all of these movies directly influenced Russian Doll we may never know. Whatever the case may be, though, they'll all make good watches once you've zoomed through it. Here are 17 movies and TV shows to binge after you've finished Russian Doll.
Groundhog Day may be the most obvious point of comparison for Russian Doll, but not just for the obvious reasons. It's true that both tell the story of one person living the same day over and over again. It's also true that both have a certain sense of humor about them.
On a deeper level, though, both are about self-improvement. They're about evaluating your own life and working to change it. Both Russian Doll and Groundhog Day take time to make their characters feel vividly human. As a result, the emotional stories they're telling become all the more moving and profound.
The great thing about Russian Doll is that it's about so many things. It's a story about addiction, depression, isolation, and love. It's also a story about fate and free will, which is where 12 Monkeys comes in. This film, which stars Bruce Willis as a man unstuck in time, is really a story of how our lives are shaped by their end.
12 Monkeys is a much grimmer exercise in what it means to die than Russian Doll, but both have death on the brain. Nadia may be more concerned with being called a cockroach, but she still has to figure out how to stop dying.
Fringe is a very different show than Russian Doll. Even so, the two have something very important in common. That very important something is playfulness, and a feeling that anything could and should happen. Although Fringe's story isn't only about time loops, it also features an episode that is very similar to Russian Doll.
As a whole, though, the series was unafraid of making bold creative decisions. It's a great show about detectives and parallel universes that pushed boundaries everywhere it went. With high risk storytelling comes great rewards. That's something that the creators of Fringe know almost as well as the creators of Russian Doll.
Russian Doll is an interesting sci-fi show, but it's also a show about a woman living in New York. It has that in common with Broad City, which is much more of an outright comedy than Russian Doll. Even so, the two shows share a lot of DNA, especially when it comes to their understanding of what living in New York is like.
Broad City is a love letter to being young and single in New York. It's often a bizarre show, but one that nevertheless feels true to the spirit of the city it depicts. Comedy has gotten more specific in the last few years, and Broad City is a prime example of how that specificity pays off in storytelling.
For better or worse, Girls will always be thought of as a definitive work for young millennials in New York. Although Russian Doll has a very different vibe, it has many of the same settings and attitudes about New York. Both shows are really invested in a particular neighborhood. These aren't shows about Times Square.
Although it was often mocked, Girls was also a tribute to how young white women lived in New York. It was a fantasy and a reality, and it was both great and terrible. At its best, though, there was often nothing on TV that was more compelling.
Edge of Tomorrow is basically Groundhog Day if it was an action movie. That may sound terrible, but the results are actually wildly entertaining. Starring Tom Cruise as a cowardly man who keeps dying and reliving the same day, the movie plays out like a video game.
It also has plenty of fun with the character's various deaths. It's a great action movie because it knows how to execute on its premise. Thanks to a truly terrific performance by Emily Blunt, the film is also heartfelt. In terms of sheer thrills, you really can't do much better than Edge of Tomorrow.
Although she isn't the main character, Russian Doll star and co-creator Natasha Lyonne does have an important role on Orange is the New Black. Natasha plays Nicky Nichols, one of the characters who befriends the protagonist Piper early on in the series.
Natasha has even received an Emmy nomination for her work in the role. If you're hunting for more of the actress's perfectly deadpan deliveries, you can find them here. This show about an all-female prison knew how to use her perfectly. She's a funny, smart-mouthed girl with real pathos and drama, and is further proof that Natasha is a great talent.
Love and time travel don't often find themselves mixed together in fiction. That's because one of them is usually enough to tell a compelling story. In About Time, those concepts are mixed to great effect. When a young man discovers that he can travel through time, he uses that ability to get a girlfriend.
Ultimately, though, he realizes that travelling through time won't help him solve all of his problems. All of the supernatural stories on this list address that fact in one way or another. No matter how many times you try to fix something through magic, the only way to really change things is to work hard.
No list is complete without at least one Marvel movie. The time traveling hijinks at the center of Russian Doll also play a central role in the finale of Doctor Strange. Most of the film is a straightforward superhero origin story with a twist of otherworldly mysticism.
Instead of a climactic battle, though, the final moments of Doctor Strange involve the titular character doing battle with the ultimate force of evil. In order to beat this villain, he has to die many, many times. It's a clever sequence that's both funny and ultimately effective. As it turns out, it's annoying to have to kill someone over and over.
In the long line of things that are Groundhog Day with a twist, which includes Russian Doll, Happy Death Day is the horror version. It tells the story of a young college student who is murdered, and must then continue reliving her death day until she figures out who killed her.
Although Happy Death Day is a lot scarier than Russian Doll, its premise is very similar. Both end up being pretty thrilling stories, even if those thrills come for very different reasons. Happy Death Day is a little less focused on its characters, but that doesn't make its plot any less compelling.
Source Code is a mind-bending film filled with alternate realities and parallel universes. It follows one man's mission to stop a train from exploding. Much like Russian Doll, every time he dies, he's forced to start over. The biggest difference comes from the fact that Source Code's main character, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, has a clear sense of purpose.
Source Code is an action movie, and its structure is very task oriented. It doesn't take nearly as much time to dive into character as Russian Doll. Even so, the time loops at the center of both suggest that humanity can always work toward improving itself.
Like many of the entries on this list, Run Lola Run can sometimes feel like a video game. This stylish German film tells the same story three separate times. In each version, the events and outcomes are altered slightly, usually because of one subtle difference.
Run Lola Run has a lot in common with Russian Doll, but this German film is more focused on a single criminal act than Russian Doll is. Even so, both take advantage of their premise to be wildly inventive. Both shows also use the time loop device in order to meditate on free will and control in ways that feel unique.
Open Road Films
Before I Fall tells the story of a young woman who dies and begins living the same day over and over again. Sound familiar? In this case, the difference between Before I Fall and Russian Doll is almost entirely tonal. Before I Fall is deeply sincere, and Russian Doll takes more wit to its premise.
Both stories play out partially as mysteries, though, and they do share a desire to reflect on what living the same day on repeat might mean. For Russian Doll it's a chance to closely examine characters. For Before I Fall, the goal is to call attention to how much a single day matters.
Like Russian Doll, Fleabag is an original show that deftly mixes comedy and drama. It's a show about the mistakes we make, and the ways that they haunt us. What makes Russian Doll special is how well it seems to understand its main character. The same is true of Fleabag.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the best writers working today, and Fleabag may be her best work. It's a raw, emotional show that's also brutally funny and totally specific. If Fleabag is the epitome of great British TV, then Russian Doll is its American counterpart. The two work perfectly in harmony with one another.
A very unconventional New York show, High Maintenance is also one of the best shows currently airing on HBO. The show follows a weed dealer as he travels around New York via bicycle delivering his product to customers. In the process, he gets a glimpse at the lives they lead.
High Maintenance is a great New York show because it's able to traverse the lives of its citizens. If Russian Doll is designed to give viewers a sense of one person's experience in the city, High Maintenance is designed to give viewers a variety of perspectives on the daily goings-on in the Big Apple.
On paper, Russian Doll and The Leftovers could not be more different. Russian Doll toes the line between comedy and drama, whereas The Leftovers is a fairly straightforward drama. Even so, there's something about the deep wells of emotion inside the two shows that feels similar.
The Leftovers follows the aftermath of a cataclysmic worldwide event in which 2% of the world's population vanishes. Like — poof — thin air. The show is about death and the afterlife as much as Russian Doll is. At its best, it's as much twisted fun as Russian Doll is. The two shows share a deep empathy for their characters that makes both hard to shake.
If you think Natasha Lyonne is a total newcomer, you should probably check out Slums of Beverly Hills. The film stars a young Natasha as the daughter of a divorced man living her teenage years in the outskirts of Beverly Hills.
Today, the film is something of a cult classic. Many suspected that Natasha's star would rise quite quickly in the film's aftermath, although that didn't end up happening. Still, the movie was an early signal that Natasha was a huge, singular star. While the fact that she didn't blow up is a travesty, it also means we got Russian Doll. Maybe it all worked out in the end.