Special
GenreComedy
Created byRyan O'Connell
Based onI'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves
by Ryan O'Connell
Starring
ComposerJoshua Moshier
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Anna Dokoza
  • Eric Norsoph
  • Ryan O'Connell
  • Todd Spiewak
  • Jim Parsons
Cinematography
  • Philip Roy
  • Nate Miller
  • Jeremy Mackie
Editors
  • Thomas Calderón
  • Luis Colina
  • Taichi Erskine
  • John Daigle
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time12–34 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNetflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format4K (16:9 UHDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12) –
May 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
External links
Official website

Special is an American comedy streaming television series that premiered on Netflix on April 12, 2019.[1] The series is based on the memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves (2015) by Ryan O'Connell,[2] who also stars, writes, and executive produces the series.[3] In December 2019, the series was renewed for a second and final season, which premiered on May 20, 2021.[4][5]

Synopsis

Special is "a distinctive and uplifting new series about a gay man, Ryan, with mild cerebral palsy who decides to rewrite his identity and finally go after the life he wants."[6][7][8]

Cast and characters

Main

Recurring

Guest stars

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
18April 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
28May 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)

Season 1 (2019)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Chapter One: Cerebral LOLzy"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
22"Chapter Two: The Deep End"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
33"Chapter Three: Free Scones"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
44"Chapter Four: Housechilling Party"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
55"Chapter Five: Vagina Momologues"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
66"Chapter Six: Straight Potential"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
77"Chapter Seven: Blind Deaf Date"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
88"Chapter Eight: Gay Gardens"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)

Season 2 (2021)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
91"One Day Stand"Anna DokozaRyan O'ConnellMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
102"I Don't Like it Like This"Anna DokozaMason FlinkMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
113"That's The Way The Boys Are"Anna DokozaLiz ElverenliMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
124"Death By a Thousand Cold Cuts"Anna DokozaLeila CohanMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
135"Ryan Joins the Crips"Craig JohnsonKeshni KashyapMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
146"Prom Queens"Craig JohnsonLeila CohanMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
157"Why Is No One Ready?"Craig JohnsonRyan O'ConnellMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)
168"Here's Where the Story Ends"Craig JohnsonRyan O'ConnellMay 20, 2021 (2021-05-20)

Production

Development

On February 5, 2019, Netflix announced that it had given the production a series order for an eight-episode first season.[13] The series is created by Ryan O'Connell, who is credited as an executive producer, alongside Jim Parsons, Anna Dokoza, Eric Norsoph and Todd Spiewak.[13] Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of That's Wonderful Productions and Stage 13.[13] On December 16, 2019, the series was renewed for a second and final season by Netflix.[4][5]

Casting

Alongside the series order announcement, it was confirmed that Ryan O'Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Augustus Prew, and Patrick Fabian would star in the series.[13] In February 2020, Max Jenkins was cast in the recurring role for the second season.[11] In March 2021, Charlie Barnett, Ana Ortiz, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lauren Weedman, Buck Andrews, Anjali Bhimani, Ajay Mehta, and Karan Soni joined the cast in recurring roles while Leslie Jordan was cast to guest star.[12]

Release

On March 25, 2019, Netflix released the first official trailer for the series.[14][10] The first season, consisting of 8 episodes, was released on Netflix on April 12, 2019.[1] The second season was released on May 20, 2021.[5]

Reception

Critical response

The first season received positive reviews upon its release. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 95% with an average rating of 7.29/10 based on 22 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Honest and genuinely affecting, Special lives up to its name with a funny—if a bit too concise—first season brightened by Ryan O'Connell's infectious charms.[15] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16] Variety gave the show a positive review calling the main character "quick and snarky, deeply insecure and sometimes more selfish than he's willing to admit. He makes mistakes and pays for them, undergoing a hell of a lot of change in the short time Special gets to show it."[17] TV Guide gave the show a mixed review saying that, "Hopefully Special gets a second season with a bigger budget, a writing staff, and more time to plan. The way Season 1 improves as it goes along shows Special still has a lot of potential."[18]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Jim Parsons, Todd Spiewak, Eric Norsoph, Ryan O'Connell and Anna Dokoza Nominated [19]
Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Ryan O'Connell Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Jessica Hecht Nominated
Punam Patel Nominated
2020 Writers Guild of America Awards Short Form New Media – Original Ryan O'Connell Won [20]

References

  1. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (December 26, 2018). "Midseason Premiere Dates For New & Returning Series: 2019 Edition". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves to Get Through Our Twenties". www.publishersweekly.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Petski, Denise (February 5, 2019). "Netflix Orders Ryan O'Connell Comedy Series 'Special' Produced By Jim Parsons". Deadline. Archived from the original on February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Petski, Denise (December 16, 2019). "'Special' Renewed For Season 2 By Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Goldberg, Lesley (March 10, 2021). "'Special' to End With Expanded Second Season at Netflix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 10, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  6. ^ "Netflix's upcoming series, 'Special' explores the life of a disabled gay man". The Rustin Times. April 9, 2019. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Nakamura, Reid (February 5, 2019). "Netflix Orders Cerebral Palsy Comedy Series 'Special' From Ryan O'Connell, Jim Parsons". The Wrap. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Matthew (February 6, 2019). "A Comedy About a Gay Man with Cerebral Palsy Is Coming to Netflix". www.out.com. Archived from the original on May 24, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  9. ^ Porter, Rick (February 5, 2019). "Netflix Orders Jim Parsons-Produced Comedy Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 19, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Nordine, Michael (March 25, 2019). "'Special' Trailer: Netflix Series Shows the Highs and Lows of Being Gay and Disabled". IndieWire. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (February 27, 2020). "'Buffy' Alum Juliet Landau To Recur On 'Claws'; 'Dead To Me's Max Jenkins Joins Season 2 Of 'Special'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 11, 2021. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Petski, Denise (March 29, 2021). "'Special': Charlie Barnett, Max Jenkins, Ana Ortiz Among Nine Set To Recur In Season 2 Of Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 29, 2021. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d "Ryan O'Connell and Jim Parsons' Special is Coming to Netflix". Netflix Media Center. February 5, 2019. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  14. ^ Shepherd, Jack (March 26, 2019). "Special trailer: New Netflix series' lead character is gay and has cerebral palsy". Independent. Archived from the original on April 11, 2019. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  15. ^ "Special: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "Special: Season 1". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  17. ^ "TV Review: 'Special' on Netflix". Variety. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  18. ^ "Special Review: Netflix Let This Promising Comedy Down". TV Guide. Archived from the original on August 12, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  19. ^ "71st Emmy Awards Nominees and Winners". emmys.com. Archived from the original on January 28, 2020. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  20. ^ Evans, Greg (December 5, 2019). "WGA TV Nominations: 'The Crown', 'Mindhunter', 'Watchmen' Among Contenders – Complete List". Deadline Hollywood. Adelaide. Archived from the original on December 5, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.