- BOTTOM LINE
- A Gay Dramedy That Is Good In Parts
|Platform Netflix||Genre Comedy|
What is the Story about?
Ryan Hayes (Ryan O’Connell) has mild cerebral palsy and is gay. How does he want to come out and establish himself like an average person without hiding, who he really is what ‘Special’ all about?
Ryan O’Connell writes acts in principle lead role of Ryan Hayes. It is a semi-autobiographical part for him as the character is based on his real life. Since there is so much that comes naturally and is internalised, there is believability and connectivity in his act that feels singular to him. Many minor key moments have the right expression and are captured neatly.
Direction by Anna Dokoza?
The direction by Anna Dokoza is adequate. There is an air of simplicity and lightness that simultaneously feels necessary and also needless when the whole thing comes to an end.
The speciality of Special is also its weakness. The length is unusual for a TV show length series and the narrative feels too lean to get the balance right. It feels as if each episode has a different emotion and ring to it with a few funny moments thrown in to string the various emotions together. This style doesn’t work as a whole as there is a feeling of something missing.
There are parts, which includes the climax showdown that is beautiful and capture the essence of the core problem beautifully. The writing is also top-notch and provides a unique vision into the world of the lead and why it is indeed ‘special’.
However, the lack of a wholesome well-rounded approach of emotional arcs mars the series in its entirety. It mainly can be felt in the episodes after the opening one and before the concluding ones. At a point, one is sure to not care about the proceedings at all as there is a complete loss of interest. But, if one stays the course until the end, the final two episodes are sure to register. The ending, particularly, will remain with us as in presents both the sides of the mother and son honestly and brutally.
Overall, given its short length, one can give ‘Special’, a chance. But, be prepared to lose interest or bored intermittently due to the same issue.
Special has limited but well-defined characters. The mother played by Jessica Hecht is as important as the lead. She has reliably done her part. The various emotions she undergoes is neatly and subtly showcased as a performer. Punam Patel is a hoot and stands out from the first scene itself. All her scenes with Ryan O’Connell are a delight to watch. Marla Mindelle has limited screen time compared to others, but the impact she has whenever she arrives can’t be missed. Patrick Fabian is dependable as always and does his part well.
Music and other departments?
Joshua Moshier’s music is delightfully light without any overbearing effect. The cinematography by Philip Roy is okay. There is nothing special in his work. The editing by Thomas Calderon is razor sharp. The sharpness, in fact, works on the negative side here. The writing is excellent as mentioned above.
Inconsistent Flow Of Emotions
Did you enjoy it
Yes for the most part
Will you recommend it?
Yes but with reservations.
Special Series Review by Siddartha Toleti