• Delven Shaw

SPECIAL is extraordinary!


SPECIAL is one of the best Netflix experiences of 2021! In its first season last year, the work created and starring Ryan O’Connell was a bit of a gimmick, as O’Connell celebrated his physical differences in a gay love story that broke many barriers. Now, the second series has landed, and it is all grown up with an terrific cast, excellent writing, and characters who you will love and who will break your heart.


For me, the show anchors on Ryan’s mom, (Jessica Hecht), a single mom who sacrificed everything to raise her most unusual son. It is a wonderfully complex performance and character, and no doubt many will identify with the adult who gave up so much. Ryan’s best friend Kim (Punam Patel) is a great comic foil for him, as another type of outsider in American culture. Kim can get away with saying what we are all thinking.


At the heart of the matter is Ryan, whose emotional and sexual journey is both enticing and unbearable to watch. The show is full of humor – and nudity. And the mother/son dynamic is surely one that many queer folks will identify with. of his CP. Creepy! Kim, on the other hand, catches the eye of Harrison (Charles Barnett) who is impossibly rich and improbably nice. Too good to be true?


At the heart of the matter is Ryan, whose emotional and sexual journey is both enticing and unbearable to watch. The show is full of humor – and nudity. And the mother/son dynamic is surely one that many queer folks will identify with.


Hopefully SPECIAL will settle into a long life at Netflix. I surely am curious to know how all of these friends, lovers, and family members will turn out.



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