While fans are clearly elated that Russian Doll Season 2 has officially been ordered by Netflix, it appears we could be just as easily nearing the end of the series, as Russian Doll Season 3 is being planned as the endpoint.
The wholly original character-focused sci-fi series was created by Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland and kind of came out of nowhere when its eight-episode first season premiered on Netflix this past February. Broadly described as a twist on the premise of Groundhog Day, the series finds Lyonne playing a woman who keeps dying, only to come back to life at the same party over and over again. The brilliance of the series, however, was in finding ways to twist that premise over the course of its eight-episode first season in surprising directions, always putting character front and center.
Steering clear of spoilers, the show’s first season ended in a way that was supremely satisfying but also set up some intriguing ideas for future seasons, and indeed Netflix renewed the series for a second season earlier this year. In a new interview with THR meant to boost the show’s profile in the midst of the Emmy race, Lyonne reveals that while she’s open to new ideas, the plan now is that Russian Doll will end after three seasons:
“In many ways [I still envision it as three seasons], yes. I see it quite concretely, and it will be interesting to see what evolves. The beauty of the power of the writers room is that Alan (Charlie Barnett) was a very different character in the original pitch and pilot. Month two of the room is where he really came alive. Before then, he had been a whole variety of other figures and now, looking back, imagining that show without Alan is almost impossible. Because of that experience, I know there has to be space left open for something beyond my limited imagination in this moment to know if that is still where the series begins, middles and ends. Maybe it’s only two seasons. Maybe it’s four seasons. Right now, it feels quite clearly that it is those three.”
What’s in store for Russian Doll Season 2 remains to be seen, but Lyonne managed to tease the direction for the show’s second season while steering clear of concrete details:
“I think where Russian Doll has been successful is that 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. 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.”
The entire team behind the series, including director Lesyle Headland, knocked it out of the park, so there’s no reason to believe Russian Doll Season 2 will disappoint. And I’m incredibly curious to see where things end up in Russian Doll Season 3. Too often shows go on for far too long, overstaying their welcome or barreling beyond the constraints of their premise, and I’m heartened to hear that Lyonne and Co. seem determined to tell a complete story—no more and no less.
A premiere date for Russian Doll Season 2 has yet to be set, but the show’s first season is now streaming on Netflix and is up for a number of Emmy awards at this year’s ceremony.