Natacha Lyonne created one of the most unique and mind-blowing shows on television with “Russian Doll” in early 2019. The first season centered on a New York-born and raised woman named Nadia, played by Lyonne, who is stuck in a time loop where she keeps reliving her 36th birthday. The series went on to earn 13 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Comedy Actress for Lyonne, winning three for her technical crafts. Three years later, “Russian Doll” returns to Netflix for a long-awaited second season, in which Nadia has escaped the time loop but entered an all-new predicament when she discovers a wormhole that allows her to time travel. Will Lyonne make a return to the Emmys?
TV critics praise Season 2 of “Russian Doll” (it has an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes) for its bold narrative ambitions and for Lyonne’s idiosyncratic performance. As Nadia strives to change her family’s story for the better, the actress maintains her signature sardonic wit, showing wisdom even as the stakes rise ever higher.
There is, however, additional emotion as the second season progresses, as Nadia realizes the price of playing with the past and how her fixation causes her to lose sight of the present. This allows Lyonne to peel back the layers even more and show off her versatility as an actress — in addition to writing and directing several episodes herself.
As the 2022 Emmys approach, “Russian Doll” faces an even tougher field than it did three years ago. Lyonne is currently ninth for a Best Comedy Actress nomination, according to the latest Gold Derby odds. Some of its contestants include former Emmy winners like John Smart (“Hacks”) and Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), past nominees like Kaley Cuoco (“The Air Hostess”) and Issa Rae (“Insecure”), and the stars of hot new shows like Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”), Selena Gomez (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Sarah Lancashire (“Julia”).
But Lyonne has a level of respect, particularly in the independent world, that might make her more of a threat than some realize. She’s worked steadily in the industry since the ’90s, and “Russian Doll” is a passion project that uses all of her skills as an artist, something the Emmys clearly acknowledged in 2019. If those same voters binge this second season (and it’s an easy show to binge), Lyonne could very easily find herself nominated for an Emmy again – and possibly starring, directing, writing. and produce.
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