If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
For 25 years, the animated kids on South Park have been giving new meaning to hump day with fresh episodes each Wednesday on Comedy Central. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone forever changed pop culture all those years ago when they debuted the show about the controversial, adult antics of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny. Today, thanks to ongoing streaming and content creation deals, the brand is stronger than ever.
In case anyone needs a quick refresher, South Park debuted on August 13, 1997. At the time, some viewers were appalled at how crude and graphic the series as, while others loved the bold takes and the fact that Parker and Stone weren’t afraid to tackle controversial topics. (If you need further proof of the duo’s lack of inhibitions, take in their musical The Book of Mormon the next time it comes to town.)
That discussion further propelled viewership, and the show quickly became known as the series that put Comedy Central back on the map. Within a couple of years the feature-length film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut hit theaters, earning a spot in the Guinness World Records for the “Most Swearing in an Animated Film.” It also got the song “Blame Canada” stuck in all of our heads.
To this day South Park still has a loyal fanbase and is sometimes even credited as an influence on other series like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Rick & Morty. For all those reasons and more, it’s always worth a rewatch. How to rewatch it, however, is kind of complicated.
South Park‘s Real-Life Streaming Wars
South Park is owned by Paramount Media Networks, so you’d think you could stream it online at Paramount+. However, the company sold streaming rights to WarnerMedia in June 2020 before Paramount Plus launched, earning itself an impressive $500 million in the process. You can catch 24 of the 25 seasons of the series on HBO Max, where the show will live until the deal expires in 2025. Until then, new episodes hit the streamer just 24 hours after they debut on Comedy Central.
When that deal expires it’s unclear where South Park will land, but because the show has been the No. 1 primetime cable comedy series among young adults for the past six years, we have a feeling Paramount will keep the series for itself and add it to the growing Paramount+ catalog. But hey, never say never. A half a billion dollars to let someone else stream your show seems kind of hard to turn down.
How to Watch South Park on HBO Max
If you want to binge all 25 years of South Park in order, you’ll need a subscription to HBO Max, which we consider a must-have streaming service (despite the buggy interface). That’s where you will find the show until 2025. All episodes, including those from the most recent 25th season, are available on HBO Max just 24 hours after they debut on Comedy Central. The sole exception is Season 24 (more on that below).
Plans to HBO Max start at $9.99 a month for an ad-based subscription and $14.99 a month for an ad-free plan. Or save 16% and upgrade to the annual plan, which runs $99.99 for an ad-based subscription and $149.99 for the ad-free plan.
What Happened to South Park Season 24?
If you’re wondering what happened to Season 24 of South Park, and how to watch it, you’re not alone.
In addition to pumping out new episodes of South Park over the years, Parker and Stone have also created a series of specials and films. One of those, The Pandemic Special, dropped in 2020. A follow-up, South ParQ Vaccination Special, hit a year later in March 2021. South Park: Post COVID and South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID followed later that year. Together, those four specials are considered Season 24, and the only way to watch them (along with the other specials and the 1999 movie) is with a Paramount+ subscription.
In others words, if you’re a completist, you’ll want access to both streaming services to fulfill the true South Park experience.
Subscriptions to Paramount+ start as low as $4.99 per month (or $49.99 per year) for a basic plan, or you can upgrade to an ad-free, next-day broadcast experience for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
How To Watch South Park: The Streaming Wars
Stone and Parker’s latest animated event, South Park: The Streaming Wars, dropped this past June on Paramount+ in the U.S. and in Canada. The 48-minute special features Stan, Cartman, Kyle and Kenny back in South Park where “an epic conflict unfolds that threatens South Park’s very existence.”
How to Watch South Park For Free Online
You can watch South Park for free and you don’t have to feel shady about it, either. Past episodes of South Park are available for free at South Park Studios. You can watch the entire catalog or even generate a random episode watch list.
However, if you don’t want to watch on your computer, a streaming service subscription may be the way to go. While HBO Max doesn’t have a free trial, there are workarounds.
You may have HBO Max for free through Samsung TV, Roku Channel Store, Verizon Fios or other cable and live TV streaming platforms. You can also nab a free trial through Hulu or Direct TV Stream as an add-on.
If you’re looking to access the specials and the movies at no additional cost, head on over to Paramount+, where new users are offered a seven-day trial.
What’s Up With South Park Season 25?
The 25th season debuted on February 2 and ran for six episodes. New episodes are expected to return to Comedy Central (along with HBO Max) by the end of the year, but at time of press it’s unclear whether those new installments will be considered Season 25B or Season 26.
If Season 25 is just six episodes it will mark the second-shortest season of the series to date: Season 24, with its four pandemic-inspired specials, is still the shortest.
How to Watch South Park on Hulu
Unfortunately, you can no longer watch South Park on Hulu. Before the Discovery WarnerMedia deal, South Park was a Hulu property. That deal (worth about $110 million) expired in 2020. Now the only way to technically watch South Park on Hulu is by adding on an HBO Max package. In order to do that you’ll need to subscribe to a Hulu base plan (beginning at $6.99 per month), then add HBO Max to your account.
The Future of South Park
Need more South Park in your life? Rest assured the series will live on for at least 30 seasons thanks to a deal between Parker, Stone and Comedy Central. The estimated $900 million, six-year agreement includes three new, 10-episode seasons, as well as 14 Paramount Plus specials.
“Franchising marquee content like South Park and developing new IP with tremendous talent like Matt and Trey is at the heart of our strategy to continue growing Paramount Plus,” Chris McCarthy, president-CEO of MTV Entertainment and chief content officer of adult animation for Paramount Plus, said in a statement at the time.
Cast Members in South Park
Since the beginning, Parker has voiced four of the main South Park characters: Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman, Randy Marsh and Mr. Garrison. Stone, meanwhile, voices Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick and Butters Stotch. Both creators voice several additional recurring characters as well.
Other notable voice actors on the show include Mona Marshall (who voices Sheila Broflovski and Linda Stotch) and April Stewart (who voices Liane Cartman, Sharon Marsh, Carol McCormick, Shelly Marsh, Mayor McDaniels, Principal Victoria and Wendy Testaburger).
Unfortunately, when a series runs as long as South Park has, some of the talent behind-the-scenes don’t stick around quite as long. In 1999 Mary Kay Bergman, who voiced a number of the female characters, passed away. And even more notably, Isaac Hayes, who voiced Chef, left the series in 2005 after the episode “Trapped in the Closet” made fun of his religion, Scientology. Chef the character was killed off in the Season 10 debut, “The Return of the Chef,” and a few years later, in 2008, Hayes himself passed away following a stroke.