Created By: PancticeSquadeCutterbackSeptember 5, 2011 Last Edited By: maxwellsilverJuly 23, 2015

Rarely Aired Episode

An episode that is aired on TV, but not that much.

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Trope
Up For Grabs.

Sometimes an episode is never aired on TV. Other times, certain episodes, for whatever reason, are aired, but only rarely. The reasons behind this can be similar to those behind a Missing Episode. It's basically an episode of a certain show that's Screwed By The Network. Sometimes this trope can even apply to an entire season!

Holiday episodes, of course, air only once a year in most cases. They don't need to be mentioned here.


Examples

Live Action TV
  • The "Ultimate Mythbuster" episode of Mythbusters rarely airs, and isn't available on US DVD release (it was nothing but a series of competitions between Jamie and Adam. Given Jamie's stated opinion of in-show competitions, it probably won't be aired all that much).
  • Several episodes of The Goodies were originally excluded from the show's original airings in Australia, where it was shown as children's program. These episodes, such as "Gender Education", have only turned up on Australian TV in recent years.
  • The Grand Finale of MASH is seldom aired due to its feature length (two-and-a-half hours total, without commercials). Because of this, when it does air, it's invariably part of a day-long marathon, usually on a holiday.
  • "The Puerto Rican Day" episode of Seinfeld borders on a Banned Episode with some networks due to Kramer offhandedly claiming riots are common in Puerto Rico and accidentally burning a Puerto Rican flag. Michael Richard's racist outburst at a heckler in 2007 didn't help.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 51
  • September 5, 2011
    Antigone3
    The "Ultimate Mythbuster" episode of Myth Busters rarely airs, and isn't available on US DVD release. (It was nothing but a series of competitions between Jamie and Adam. Given Jamie's stated opinion of in-show competitions, it probably won't be aired all that much.)
  • September 5, 2011
    omnitarian0
    "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" is rare to see in syndication, because of the prominent use of the twin towers in the episode.

    The episode of Rugrats where all the characters get naked, because it really pushed the TV-Y rating.
  • September 5, 2011
    foxley
    Several episodes of The Goodies were originally excluded from the show's original airings in Australia, where it was shown as children's program. These episodes, such as "Gender Education", have only turned up on Australian TV in recent years.
  • September 5, 2011
    TippyToeZombie
    There are some movies that might qualify for this. You see Spy Kids 1 and 3 all the time on TV, but they barely ever air number 2.
  • September 5, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    • There are at least five South Park episodes that aren't shown too often.
      • Backlash from people with AIDS has made "Jared Has Aides" into one such episode.
      • "Pip 2000" is also a rare episode with no clear reason why.
      • "Not Without My Anus" only shows seldomly as it was the cause of a massive boycott on Comedy Central.
      • "Bloody Mary" deeply offended an executive at Comedy Central, and he made it so that it would never be aired or released on DVD for as long as he can.
      • "It Hits the Fan" has trouble getting sponsors for its commercial breaks due to the colossal amount of swearing.
  • September 7, 2011
    archie
    Two Stupid Dogs: The episode "Spit Soup" was aired on Cartoon Network about once in a blue moon. Probably because it's Exactly What It Says On The Tin.
  • September 16, 2011
    youcantseeus
    "Accidents Will Happen" from Season 3 of Degrassi The Next Generation wasn't aired in the United States for several years because it dealt with a teenager getting an abortion. It still isn't shown very often.
  • March 16, 2012
    tvtroper98
    The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episodes Return of Harmony, Parts 1 and 2. They have only aired twice since they premiered: Both in succession, as a "mini-marathon" to honor Discord winning the naughty part of the "Naughty Or Nice" competition, and Part 1 as part of the We Heart Ponies Fan Favorite Mare A Thon.
    • For obvious reasons, Mare In The Moon and Elements Of Harmony haven't aired at all since they premiered. They are on the Friendship Express DVD, though.
  • March 16, 2012
    StevenT
    I've never seen the Codename Kids Next Door episode "Op. TEETH" on TV, possibly because it's about the kids avoiding the dentist and intentionally rotting their teeth. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about it being a rarely aired episode.
  • August 9, 2012
    Noah1
    Minor nitpick, but "Jared Has Aides" rarely airs due to the end when Cartman gets poor Butters beaten by his Abusive Parents for false pretenses. As someone once put it, "Only South Park could make an episode about AIDS that gets banned for something else."
  • August 9, 2012
    Ogodei
    Honestly, i would say that the only valid responses here are the Fairly Odd Parents and Spongebob Squarepants examples, and possible the Degrassi one (never watch it). I see the Simpsons example fairly often, same with some of the South Park examples (Jared Has Aides i get a lot on Comedy Central). Bloody Mary, Not Without My Anus, and Pip 2000 are valid. Spit Soup from 2StupidDogs is in regular rotation on Boomerang. Naked Tommy i remember seeing a decent amount of times.

    Return of Harmony is on quite often on Hub, too. The episodes of MLP that are under-rotated are "Luna Eclipsed" and "Hearth's Warming Eve."

    This all could really depend on where you live and which networks you're watching.

    One valid example would be the semi-banned episode of Seinfeld, Puerto Rico Day, which is almost entirely unsydicated because of Kramer burning the Puerto Rican flag (by accident), but that might be a more straight "Missing Episode"
  • August 9, 2012
    MrRuano
    Lethal Force, and for a justified reason: Gun safety, which is hardly an thing for kiddies to learn about.
  • August 10, 2012
    triassicranger
    @TippyToeZombie: Which tv network are you referring to? In the UK, the BBC has aired Spy Kids 2 as much as it's shown 1 and 3.

    International broadcasts...now we're in for trouble.
  • August 10, 2012
    Arivne
    According to its entry on The Other Wiki, it was "Bloody Mary" that inspired the international Catholic boycott against Comedy Central, not "Not Without My Anus".

    "Not Without My Anus" just angered a number of South Park fans.
  • August 10, 2012
    TheNinth
    We have Missing Episode. I'm not sure this is different.
  • August 10, 2012
    AgProv
    The "Bloody Mary" episode of South Park was on British television only last week. The not especially funny "Not without my anus" has been screened quite a few times. No sniff of a boycott here?

    Incidentally, only one episode of The Goodies has been screened on British TV in the last twenty years. The BBC could hardly ignore the show's thirtieth anniversary. It is commonly believed that Executive Meddling by the then Controller of BBC 2, a woman who publicly said the Goodies would only appear on television again "over her dead body", is responsible for this. Goodies fans are anxiously awaiting the funeral of Jane Root.
  • August 10, 2012
    AgProv
    Rutland Weekend Television, Eric Idle's post-Python ensemble comedy show, is thought unlikely to be screened on TV again because of Idle's personal dissatisfaction with the quality of the shows, and the fact it reminds him, apparently, of a miserable time in his life. The last time a repeat run happened on TV was 1979, and the series is unlikely to appear on DVD. Fans are reduced to bootlegs and You-Tube.
  • August 10, 2012
    TurntechGeneticist
    The reason why "Pip 2000" of South Park isn't "unclear"; it's not shown much is because it was unpopular among audiences.

    (I have no examples of my own, sorry.)
  • August 10, 2012
    triassicranger
    @TheNinth: A Missing Episode never gets rebroadcast. The examples in question do get rebroadcasted, just not very often.

    @AgProv: Given that your The Goodies and Rutland Weekend Television are examples of shows that have never been re-aired (save for that one exception with The Goodies), those examples would fit Keep Circulating The Tapes, if anything. Especially since you're talking about entire shows rather than individual episodes.
  • August 10, 2012
    RedneckRocker
    There's also the opposite version: The episode that seems to be shown WAY too often. I can't think of any examples right offhand, but there are times when I've seen the same episode of a show three or four times in a month (on different channels, usually, but still...).
  • August 10, 2012
    raven2785
    • Cowboy Bebop "wild Horses" does not air in cartoon network anymore due to the destruction of space shuttle Columbia
  • August 10, 2012
    giggles
    The episode of Top Gear that brings back Richard Hammond after his accident, and goes over the crash in detail is not shown that often (& isn't on Netflix either), if I'm not mistaken.
  • August 11, 2012
    triassicranger
    @raven2785: That's Missing Episode.
  • August 11, 2012
    TheNinth
    Missing Episode also covers things that aren't aired often. Most of the examples listed here are on the media pages.
  • August 11, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    I'm not sure exactly how it works but in the UK it seems like Comedy Central own about 20 episodes of South Park that they reshuffle and show over and over again. Viva have another 20 and they swap them around like Viewers Are Morons who can't just check both channels and decide which episode they want to watch.

    There's an episode from the first series of Scrubs which is rarely shown because it's actually an hour long, not two half hour episodes. The one where JD and Elliot get together then break up over the course of a week or so?
  • August 15, 2012
    Ogodei
    Another good one would be the Regular Show episode The Unicorns Have Got to Go. Not sure why
  • August 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^Why don't they just cut that Scrubs into two parts, like practically every other sitcom with an hour long episode does?
  • August 30, 2013
    FlyingDuckManGenesis
    • Almost any Arthur episode from the first four seasons.
  • August 30, 2013
    gallium
  • August 30, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    ^^ First four seasons? Try first eight seasons.
  • August 30, 2013
    Exxolon
    TheProfessionals has "Klansmen" which has never been shown in the UK due to it's race related subject matter but has been seen in other countries.
  • August 30, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    The Bond movie The Living Daylights doesn't get aired as often as the other entries in the series these days. Mainly due to it having a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban being the good guys thanks to The Great Politics Mess Up.
  • August 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Very Special Episode is often this.
  • September 2, 2013
    BlueGuy
    Pretty sure the Arthur episode "Bleep" counts, as it concerns swear words. Also, there are a lot of Beavis And Butthead episodes that aren't aired too much due to their content (which was probably [[{Bowdlerization}} already censored anyway]]).
  • March 9, 2014
    DAN004
    This is a trivia right?
  • March 10, 2014
    BaffleBlend
  • March 11, 2014
    Arivne
    ^^ Yes, this would be on the Trivia tab (and index) as it isn't In Universe.
  • March 11, 2014
    Lakija
    This isn't Missing Episode. Because the episode isn't exactly missing. It's just for some reason not shown as much as other episode. Maybe because it's old, or forgotten, or less popular.

    I guess anyway. I've always been miffed by this happening on TV. It makes me feel so annoyed! My example was already listed though. :)
  • September 30, 2014
    Pichu-kun
    I've seen Squeaky Boots plenty of times. It doesn't seem rare
  • September 30, 2014
    randomsurfer
    While MASH is popular in syndication, the final episode is rarely broadcast.
  • December 6, 2014
    MattBoo
    "It's A Wishful Life" from The Fairly Odd Parents hardly ever airs (thank God).
  • December 6, 2014
    chicagomel
    "Indelible" from CSI NY has aired perhaps twice since 2011 and is frequently skipped in reruns on other channels. It's a 9/11 tribute episode depicting the characters during the attacks, so that's probably why the syndicators shy away.
  • December 6, 2014
    Darksilverhawk
    I feel like this is difficult to trope without solid statistics. One person might remember an episode as being aired all the time while someone else might have missed it last time it aired and remember it barely appearing. Even as trivia, there's a lot of room for opinion here.
  • December 7, 2014
    maxwellsilver
    The M*A*S*H finale is rarely broadcast because it is feature length, requiring networks to dedicate at least two and a half hours just to air it. Because of this, it's generally reserved for all-day marathons on holidays, such as Thanksgiving.
  • December 8, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Couldn't they chop it up into an inverse Five Episode Pilot/Compilation Movie?
  • December 8, 2014
    maxwellsilver
    Theoretically they could, but it wouldn't mesh well because it wasn't filmed that way and as a Grand Finale, it works best as a special event, not cut up into several regular length episodes.
  • March 29, 2015
    AgProv
    TV: Everybody Loves Raymond.
    • Channel Four in the UK screens almost all of the 200+ episodes of ELR on a repeating loop in the early part of the morning (between eight and ten am). This appears to be designed so that it can be recorded and replayed later in the day by people getting ready for a day's work who are too busy for TV. But two Series Six episodes have never been screened by C4 for what are presumed to be pre-Watershed reasons: the content of Marie's Statue (suggestive artwork) and No Roll! (Ray and Debra's sex life) are deemed too extreme for daytime viewing by British audiences. Which is strange, as both screened in prime-time in the notoriously more conservative and prudish USA without problems. So should be a shoe-in for British TV. Evidently not....
  • March 29, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
    ^ Really? I thought the U.K. was more liberal about such subject matter and context compared to the U.S.

    I had a thought: this could definitely apply to weekly cartoon series that only have a certain number of episodes that pop up in syndication and reruns because of the Sixty Five Episode Cartoon rule, and certain distributors and syndicators not wanting to spend money for any additional episodes than they already need. Alvin And The Chipmunks, for example, ran for eight seasons and 104 episodes, but in certain syndicated markets, only the first 65 episodes (five and a half seasons) are shown, whereas the rest isn't. Similarly, one common syndication package for Rocky And Bullwinkle includes only the first, second, and last season, while completely skipping Seasons Three and Four.
  • March 30, 2015
    Arivne
  • July 16, 2015
    zoop
    I think the description needs a bit of work. It's a bit too "informal", but other than that, I think we have a good article here.

    I'd like to add the example of:

    Live-Action Television:
    • Season 4 of the original run of The Twilight Zone is rarely seen in syndication, because the format changed to hour-long episodes. Any station that airs the program in a half-hour time slot won't be able to show any of that season.
  • July 16, 2015
    foxley
    Teamo Supremo: Toon Disney only aired the episode "Won't You Be My Valentine Bandit/Unidentified Goopy Substance" once, and then never again.

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