Russian Doll stars Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov, a party-loving computer coder who finds herself stuck in a daily time loop. As Lyonne explained, the writing process for a show like that is complicated, and cannot really be sustained for more than a few seasons.
Lyonne would know -- she co-created the series, wrote and directed on it, and even supplied relevant real-life experience. Her interviewer recalled that Lyonne had first pitched the show as a three-season limited series, and asked if she still saw it that way as work on Season 2 gets underway.
“In many ways, yes," she said. "I see it quite concretely, and it will be interesting to see what evolves."
"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," she went on. "Maybe it’s only two seasons. Maybe it’s four seasons. Right now, it feels quite clearly that it is those three.”
Lyonne described the difficulty in juggling and intertwining different timelines, events and characters across the course of the series. For that, she relies heavily on the writers, who keep track of everything as best they can.
"There were boards and strings — the writers room looked like Homeland or A Beautiful Mind," she joked, adding that "the editing room is its own horror film."
Where the show triumphs in Lyonne's eyes is in its characters, particularly Nadia. She feels that the repetitive format leaves room for her protagonist to grow and develop very genuinely, justifying the supernatural concept itself.
"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," she explained. "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," she added.
Russian Doll follows Nadia through an experience similar to the movie Groundhog Day, though darker and more drawn out. The unlikely hero dies at the end of each day, then wakes up and experiences it all over again. The show earned 13 Emmy nominations in its first season, and hopes are high for the second as well.
Russian Doll Season 2 hits Netflix some time in 2020.