South Park has been a hot topic since before it first premiered on Comedy Central, as the show initially launched as a short comedy animated film that featured the obscurity of the series that we know today. From those first animated features, the series exploded with seasons of Comedy Central and a theatrical movie released before they eventually released over 300 episodes total before the creators started to create specials for release on Comedy Central and Paramount+. Below, we’ve detailed every special from the franchise to the series as a whole and the episodes in between.
The Pandemic Special
While South Park has released episodes exclusively since it started, outside of the release of the adult animated comedy musical full-length movie, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, with the premiere of the 24th season of South Park, that changed. When Season 24 of South Park approached, Viacom teased that South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were creating 14 movies for the service, but the South Park creators clarified what fans could expect from all future specials. The Pandemic Special was South Park‘s first attempt at tackling the COVID pandemic with its unique comedy, and they did not disappoint.
South ParQ Vaccination Special
While The Pandemic Special and South Parq Vaccination Special were the first specials from Matt Stone and Trey Parker, they were released before their so-called “movie deal” and were released on Comedy Central and are much less monumental than the specials that follow. However, the first two South Park specials were the only ones considered episodes of the South Park television show. While the first unique streaming special kept up with the tradition of Randy and his special weed releases, it felt as though, even then, the show was preluding to longer-length features.
Post COVID was the first South Park special that premiered on Paramount+ as part of the big deal that Parker and Stone made with Viacom, estimated to be worth somewhere around $900 million, while two years earlier, HBO acquired the streaming rights to South Park’s episodes at the time, estimated between $500 million and $550 million. As the first special on Paramount+, versus a premiere on Comedy Central, wasn’t on a cable network, the overall special had a much more comfortable vibe that felt more detailed and high-budget than previous efforts.
Post COVID: The Return of COVID
Post COVID: The Return of COVID, as the comedic Star Wars-style title suggests, was the sequel unique to Post COVID, as well as the final special released on Paramount+ as part of the 24th season of the series. Overall, Post COVID: The Return of COVID featured our favorite boys from the town as adults, investigating the death of Kenny in a dystopian future.
Streaming Wars Part 1
The Streaming Wars specials were among the most exciting and thorough out of every special from the animated series, which honestly can’t be compared to another show in its genre. Still, they were also an incredible refresher of what they can do with pure inspiration from their writers’ room and using their classic characters versus a real-life event to heavily inspire the season, as COVID had done with the last two years of the show. Overall, The Streaming Wars was some of the most outrageous that South Park has been in a while, with Cartman getting the breast surgery that he implied on his mother, the return and expansion of the ManBearPig character, another weed farm as competition for Randy, and Karen-related issues for Randy as well.
Streaming Wars Part 2
Out of every special, The Streaming Wars were the first specials to not be associated with a specific season, and more take place between seasonal events. As the Streaming Wars and Streaming Wars Part 2 were interconnected themes released over a month apart, it built anticipation for fans with a bunch of cliffhangers that had fans eager for me, more so than the next episode of a season would do. While Streaming Wars Part 2 was a conclusion to the two-part special, it felt closer to a movie in terms of length and extended plot, shocking when the series has been doing chronological work on the series for a while now since their change from each episode being treated as a brand new start. The Streaming Wars Part 2 has been the most recent release from the franchise between specials and episodes. Still, new episodes and specials are on the way as the show was extended to Season 30, and only 4 of 14 specials have premiered of the 14 that the creative duo behind the adult cartoon signed on for.