Season One of South Park, an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, began airing on Comedy Central in the United States on August 13, 1997. The first season comprises thirteen episodes, and concluded its initial airing on February 25, 1998. Parker and Stone wrote and directed most of the season's episodes but Dan Sterling, Philip Stark, Pam Brady, and David A. Goodman served as writers for some episodes as well. The narrative of the show revolves around four children—Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick—and their bizarre experiences in the titular mountain town.
South Park began in 1992 when Parker and Stone met in a film class and created an animated short called "Jesus vs. Frosty". The low-budget, crudely-made film featured prototypes of the main characters of South Park. Fox executive Brian Graden saw the film and in 1995 commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film that he could send to his friends as a video Christmas card. Titled "The Spirit of Christmas#Jesus vs. Santa Jesus vs. Santa", it resembled the style of the later series more closely. The video was popular and was widely shared, both by duplication and over the Internet. This led to talks to create a series, first with Fox, then with Comedy Central, where the series debuted on August 13, 1997. Comedy Central originally ordered only six episodes of South Park for the first season's initial run. However, when the show proved to be a success, it requested an additional seven, which Parker and Stone had to produce quickly. The show was released on DVD in November 2002 in region 1, and in October 2007 in region 2 and 4. The first season was a ratings success for Comedy Central, receiving a Nielsen Rating rating of 1.3 for the first episode, rising to 6.4 by the tenth episode. Several episodes have received award nominations, including both a 1998 nomination for an Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour)" category and one for a GLAAD Award in the "Outstanding TV – Individual Episode" category for the episode "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride". During the season, South Park won a CableACE Award for "Best Animated Series", and was in 1998 nominated for an Annie Award in the "Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Primetime or Late Night Television Program" category. Television critics gave the season mixed reviews, ranging from assessing the show as to being so offensive that it "shouldn't have been made" and "it doesn't just push the envelope; it knocks it off the table", to "coming pretty damn close" to being a "perfect" television series season.