Netflix’s queer disability comedy Special is officially returning for a second season

Special Ryan O'Connell

Thank the gay gods, Ryan O’Connell’s amazing Netflix comedy Special has officially been renewed for an eight-episode second season.

The Emmy-nominated comedy will continue to be 15 minutes in length, despite O’Connell previously stating that he wanted to expand to the more traditional half-hour running time.

Actors Jessica Hecht and Punam Patel will return as series regulars for the second season, while The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons will continue as executive producer.

Special is a semi-autobiographical account of a gay man with cerebral palsy, based on the memoirs of disability and LGBT+ advocate Ryan O’Connell.

In the critically-acclaimed first season the lead character decides to rewrite his identity as an accident victim to achieve the life he wants. The comedy has been praised for its authentic representation of disabilities and sexualities, which are not often shown in combination on screen.

“I think Hollywood is largely not interested in disabled people because they don’t view us as ‘sexy’ or ‘cool.’ To [Hollywood], we are just sad and something to be pitied,” O’Connell told Queerty in 2016, when he was struggling to pitch the show.

O’Connell has previously spoken of his decision not to cast straight actors in gay roles in Special, drawing comparisons with the problem of disabled characters being played by abled people.

“I’m not saying actors can’t play something that they’re not, but the world is structured in a way where disabled people have no opportunities,” he said in an interview with The Wrap.

“On my show there are a lot of gay characters, and it was really important to me that I hire gay actors to play that role.

“Is that because I think straight people can’t play gay? No, but I know a lot of talented gay actors that don’t have the same opportunities as straight actors because they’re gay, and that’s just the world we live in.

“Until that can be rectified, you bet I’m going to give opportunities to people who don’t have them.”