Fans of Netflix's timey-wimey new series may be looking for other
shows and movies like to fill the void after they finish the terrific but all-too-brief eight episodes. If you're anything like me, you may have found yourself caught in a kind of time loop of your own while marathoning the show: just when you got to the end, you blinked and suddenly it was all starting over from the beginning! Or, OK, maybe you chose to immediately watch the whole thing over again as soon as you finished to catch all the little things you missed the first time and there's nothing supernatural going on. Either way, in order to break the loop, you may have to find something else to capture your attention STAT — or you'll just end up watching Russian Doll Russian Doll a third (or fourth or fifth) time.
Fortunately, there's no lack of other material out there to consume if you find yourself drawn to the cyclical nature of
Russian Doll's format. Some may have accused co-creators Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler of ripping off Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day, but those aren't the only two films to explore this trope before — and Groundhog Day wasn't even the first!
Time loops are great narrative devices: they can be used for drama, action, sci-fi, horror comedy, you name it. Here are 24 other works that explore the idea of being trapped in a loop… whether literally, figuratively, or spiritually.
May 22, 1947 (Noir) Where to stream: YouTube
Almost half a century before weatherman Phil Connors got trapped in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, femme fatale Sheila Page shot her husband on New Year's Eve — only to wish, at the stroke of midnight, that she could have a do-over on that ill-fated year. When she woke up, her wish was granted, and she got a chance to change things… but could she?
Feb. 12, 1993 (Comedy) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
If you've somehow never seen this classic Bill Murray comedy, now's the perfect time to rectify that oversight. If you haven't seen it in years, now's the perfect time to revisit an old favorite. And if you just watched it yesterday, now is
still the perfect time to cue it up again! Groundhog Day is one movie you can watch over and over (and over and over and over…). July 5, 1993 (Drama) Where to stream: YouTube
Armageddon/Deep Impact or A Bug's Life/Antz scenario, this made-for-TV movie happened to air on FOX just a few months after Groundhog Day made time loop stories de rigueur. After watching his colleague gunned down, a man is able to relive the day — and attempt to save her — after receiving a powerful electric shock. Aug. 20, 1998 (Action) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
When Lola's boyfriend calls asking her for help in stealing 100,000 marks in cash, she gets three chances to secure the money and make a getaway. Will she be able to avoid tragedy? And what small factors might make a difference in her fate?
'Charmed' — "Déjà Vu All Over Again"
May 26, 1999 (TV) Where to stream: Netflix
As the '90s came to an end, television finally decided to hop on the time loop train — first with the Season 1 finale of
Charmed, where the villain gained the power to rewind time from a demon in order to try to kill the Halliwell sisters once and for all.
'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' — "Life Serial"
Oct. 23, 2001 (TV) Where to stream: Hulu Buffy experimented with lots of forms over its run — musicals, silent episodes, etc. — so it's not surprising that it also tried a time loop episode, in which the vampire slayer was forced to do battle with a possessed mummy hand over and over and over again. Feb. 13, 2004 (Comedy) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
In the mid-aughts, Adam Sandler decided to experiment with the
form of time loop stories without meddling in all the sci-fi weirdness. Hence this comedy in which Drew Barrymore plays a woman who wakes up each day with no memory of the previous day — essentially living the same day over and over again, if you will. Oct. 8, 2004 (Sci-fi) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish stories about time travel from stories about time loops — but this is a story in which time travel
causes a time loop. It might take you three or four loops through this indie movie to wrap your brain around the mechanics of it, to be honest. Sept. 20, 2007 (Horror) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
The only reason for anyone to be wearing a mask in a time loop story is because the mask is hiding the face of a character you've already met… and this trippy, violent Spanish horror movie is no exception.
'Supernatural' — "Mystery Spot"
Feb. 14, 2008 (TV) Where to stream: Netflix
Can Sam save Dean? Of course he can, but the fun is of this Season 3 episode is in watching
how the Sam saves his brother from getting shot when he gets the opportunity to live that day over again.
'Lost' — "The Constant"
Feb. 28, 2008 (TV) Where to stream: Hulu
Perhaps the all-time best episode of
Lost invokes the spirit of a good time loop story: Desmond gets stuck reliving days from his own past and has to figure out how to break the cycle and save his own life in the process. Oct. 16, 2009 (Horror) Where to stream: Amazon Prime
When she gets stranded in the Bermuda Triangle, Melissa George is forced to relive the same traumatic, violent day over and over. Can she ever escape? Or is escape just an illusion?
Apr. 1, 2011 (Action) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
After a bombing, Jake Gyllenhaal is sent into a computer program to relive the events repeatedly until he can figure out who did it, in order to prevent a second bomb from going off.
Sept. 28, 2012 (Action) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
Primer, this is a film in which the paradox of time travel creates a "loop" of its own. Will Joseph Gordon-Levitt be able to break the loop and save the future? Or has that fate already been decided for him? Oct. 26, 2012 (Sci-fi) Where to stream: Netflix
This underrated masterpiece from the Wachowskis doesn't contain any literal time loops — but it does revolve around the idea that souls are destined to relive the same lives over and over again in a beautiful but tragic symphony of fate.
Oct. 18, 2013 (Horror) Where to stream: Showtime Anytime
Both a ghost story
and a time loop story, Abigail Breslin stars in this haunted house movie as a ghost who is forced to relive the day she was murdered until she can solve it and save the new inhabitants of the house. June 6, 2014 (Action) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
When Tom Cruise gets drenched in alien blood, he absorbs their ability to rewind time — their ultimate weapon and his key to defeating them. (This is also the second time loop movie to feature Emily Blunt after
Looper.) Jan. 9, 2015 (Thriller) Where to stream: Available to rent on iTunes and other platforms
Primer and Looper and multiply them by 1,000 and you get Predestination, which pushes the looping paradoxes of time travel to their utter, most mind-bending limit. Sept. 16, 2016 (Sci-fi) Where to stream: Netflix
The inventor of a time machine is killed when men try to steal it — only for his own invention to give him the tools he needs to relive the day enough times in order to figure out how to survive.
Feb. 14, 2017 (TV) Where to stream: Hulu
2017 was a big year for time loop stories. It all started with this Season 5 episode of
The Mindy Project, in which Mindy was forced to relive the most embarrassing day of her life until she could figure out how to break the loop. Mar. 3, 2017 (Drama) Where to stream: Amazon Prime
In this YA adaptation, when a high school mean girl is killed in a freak car accident, she is given the chance to make things right by waking up the next (previous?) morning as though it had never happened. Valuable life lessons will be learned.
Aug. 11, 2017 (Comedy) Where to stream: Netflix
What would be worse than being caught in an endless time loop? How about waking up naked in an elevator every time? That's what Marlon Wayans is forced to go through over and over in this Netflix original film.
Oct. 13, 2017 (Horror) Where to stream: FX
2017 went out with a time loop bang thanks to this little gem of a horror-comedy in which a college sorority girl (played perfectly by Jessica Rothe) gets a chance to solve her own murder by reliving the day of her death multiple times.
Feb. 13, 2019 (Horror) Where to stream: In theaters now
After a sadly time-loop-less 2018, the format is back with a vengeance in 2019 thanks to this sequel, which you can still catch in movie theaters now!