Netflix has picked up Russian Doll for an eight-episode second season, announcing the renewal during an interview of co-creator/star Natasha Lyonne and Netflix content VP Cindy Holland by Kara Swisher at Recode’s annual Code Conference.
“Want to do a season two, Natasha?” Holland asked Lyonne on the panel. (See full video above.)
“Me, Cindy? Same show, just weirder? Are you sure?” Lyonne replied. “Nadia Vulvokov is a coder, as you know, so I guess it would be somewhat appropriate to maybe have this be the time and place to say yes, very much so, I would love to do that, Cindy.”
Russian Doll, which was created and executive produced by Lyonne, Amy Poehler, and Leslye Headland, devoted its first season to the experience of a young woman named Nadia, played by Lyonne. She repeatedly dies during a New York party that seems never to end thanks to an edgy, mordant update of Groundhog Day‘s premise. The show, which premiered last February, gained traction with critics and viewers in part because of the Netflix binge format and its half-hour duration, which made it a show that could be caught up with more easily.
Holland called the show “a hit relative to its cost,” without offering specifics. She said it followed in the vein of programming Netflix has always sought out based on what the streaming giant has gleaned from more than 20 years’ worth of customer data. “We learned when we had a catalog of foreign films and not what traditionally Hollywood makes, you realize people have eclectic tastes,” she said, “It gave us early success. Going into original programming, we wanted content made for the Internet.”
Lyonne told Swisher she takes “a bit of relief in the algorithm” at Netflix, explaining that “boundaries are sort of healthy for the creative process in a way.”
As bracing as technology has been for many in the entertainment business, though, Lyonne wonders about Generation Z and the effect of the tech boom in recent years. “There’s a first generation and social experiment happening in real time,” she said. “They don’t know a time without a device. There are big questions for the youngest generation that knows both worlds.”
Lyonne added she was “surprised and delighted” by her comeback via Orange is the New Black, the breakout that preceded Russian Doll. “I would describe my career before Orange is the New Black as nowheresville,” she said. “I was having a dark day at home when Amy [Poehler] called,” she later recalled. “I said, Do you think we should make a TV show about that? I was doing nothing else and I was thrilled to work with Amy.”
Russian Doll‘s cast also features Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Elizabeth Ashley and Charlie Barnett. The series is produced by Universal Television, Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions, JAX Media and 3 Arts Entertainment.
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