The series is based on O'Connell's memoir 'I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.'
Special is an American comedy-drama and semi-autobiographical Netflix television series created by Ryan O'Connell. O'Connell also stars in the series as Ryan Hayes, which tells the story of his life as a gay man with cerebral palsy as he goes after the life he wants by forging new friendships, and relationships, while also working towards self-sufficiency. The series is based on O'Connell's memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.
The series was well-received. It was praised for its writing and ability to mix honesty with humor. The show was nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards and O'Connell won at the 2021 Writers Guild of America Awards for Short Form New Media – Original. As for the future of the show, here's what we know so far.
Season 1 of Special premiered on April 12, 2019, with eight episodes. The series was then renewed for another eight episodes for a second season which was announced as the last season. But because the show was well-received, the short-form comedy was extended from 15-minute to half-hour episodes, which was something O'Connell wanted to do. But it was Netflix's decision to end the series after two seasons. This has been a common occurrence with other comedies as well including Trinkets and Feel Good.
“People will be surprised that Special is ending but this is just the tip!” showrunner O’Connell had told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not finished telling stories about disability. I’m not finished telling queer stories. This is really just a beginning of a new chapter, so hang tight, baby, I’m coming!” But his stories will, unfortunately, not be under the title of Special for Netflix. He added, "Creatively, they’ve been dream partners and [let me] make exactly the show that I wanted to make. I’d rather make two seasons of television that are exactly my vision rather than four seasons where I felt like I was making creative compromises. I feel very fortunate for that." He had earlier planned for three seasons.
Netflix probably canceled the show based on internal viewing metrics in comparison to the cost of doing additional seasons. O’Connell also explained, "Netflix told me pretty early on that it was going to be the final season and I appreciated that because I was able to craft a season that felt very much like a final season. The story will feel complete." With the extended episodes, we hopefully got to see everything he wanted to tell us.
While we may not be able to see any more of Special, we can look forward to O’Connell's other projects.