Comedian O’Connell created the groundbreaking show based on his own experiences as a gay man with cerebral palsy. Netflix has also announced that episodes in the second season will run 30 minutes–double the length of the first season entries.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, O’Connell revealed that expanding the length of the episodes was his idea. Cancelling the show, however, was not.
“It would surprise no one that it wasn’t my decision,” O’Connell laughed. “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.”
Spring is going to be extra SPECIAL this year – the second and final season of the groundbreaking show arrives on Netflix May 20. *dances is gay* pic.twitter.com/FeiGrbKu8V
— Most (@Most) March 10, 2021
O’Connell also added that his insistence on expanding the episodes to a more traditional 30-minute format caused production delays, as did COVID-19. He also says that he’d intended the show to run three seasons, but the expanded episode runtime also let him tell the full story he envisioned for the show. He also insists that while Special may end, he has no plans to retire from showbiz.
“People will be surprised that Special is ending but this is just the tip,” O’Connell said. “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!”
The cancellation of Special comes on the heels of the cancellation announcement for several other LGBTQ-themed series. FX announced the third season of Pose will be the final season last week. Netflix, meanwhile, canceled the shows The Society, I Am Not OK With This and GLOW due to ongoing issues with the pandemic.