Blame the fellas at the freakin' FCC
Every once in a while, a series will have an episode that eventually draws in some kind of controversy, for whatever reason - be it offensive to certain viewers, too risqué for standards of the time, a result of Executive Meddling
(this also includes if the episode or entire TV show becomes part of a lawsuit) - and as a result, those episodes are pulled from the air, and very rarely, if ever, are seen in reruns, or syndication, ever again.
Depending on the popularity or cult following of the series, often these episodes still get some mileage, through tape tradings, or various posting on Internet video sharing sites such as YouTube
of Missing Episode
. If an episode is pulled from certain markets while remaining available elsewhere, it's a case of Banned in China
or (if it's for non-censorship reasons) No Export for You
. If an episode is rerun with parts cut (whether for content reasons or not), then it's Edited for Syndication
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Anime and Manga
- The first-season episode "Tentacool and Tentacruel" features an enraged Tentacruel wrecking havoc on a large city in an act of revenge against construction crews destroying the Tentacool's reef, including destroying skyscrapers. This episode had been pulled from most television markets due to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, but it was aired on American Cartoon Network in 2002, then it was pulled again in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. As of 2011, the episode is airing again.
- That same season, the episode "Electric Soldier Porygon" aired once in Japan, but sequences involving continually strobing blue and red lights caused several Japanese viewers - both kids and adults - to experience terrible seizures. While it was removed from Japanese reruns for a period of time, the episode has never seen the light of day in American markets, nor anywhere else in the world, and likewise, has never seen any official commercial home video releases.
- Back when Excel♥Saga first aired in Japan, the censors pulled the 26th and final episode of the series due to its offensive content (pedophilia, excessive bloodshed, and frontal nudity). The odd thing is that the creators wanted the episode to be so raunchy that it would get banned.
- Even if a network had been willing to air it, the last episode of Excel♥Saga deliberately runs too long. It can't be aired in a standard time slot without cuts.
- Outlaw Star's "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei" got skipped over in America due to excessive sexual innuendo and scenes of female nudity (if you'll recall, Outlaw Star was toned down to kids' show levels when aired on Cartoon Network). A toned-down version of the episode does exist, but only in the UK, and it only aired once because it ran too short.
- The series premiere of Transformers: Robots In Disguise, which has Megatron smash through a skyscraper similar to the World Trade Center, was pulled from US airwaves due to the 9/11 attacks three days after it aired.
- The Price Is Right: A rare game show example; purportedly, on the wishes of longtime host Bob Barker, episodes in which furs were awarded as prizes. Some say the ban also encompasses episodes that feature model Holly Hallstrom (roughly, those episodes airing from 1977-1995) due to various disputes in which she sided with the opposing side.
- I Love Lucy: For a period of time in the 1960s, networks stopped airing the final season episode "The Ricardos Visit Cuba", due to the then-strained relationship between the U.S. and Cuban governments.
- Seinfeld: One of the last episodes of the series, "The Puerto Rican Day", was initially pulled after its original broadcast, mainly because NBC felt the episode was too offensive with its depictions of Puerto Ricans, as well as a scene involving Kramer (accidentally) burning a Puerto Rico flag, causing an angry mob of Puerto Ricans trashing the streets, and vandalizing Jerry's car (to which, Kramer remarks, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico."). As of 2010, certain local markets across the country had placed the episode back into their packages; but as of 2012, the episode is now back permanently in the syndication package (Kramer's line, "It's like this every day in Puerto Rico" is absent, though it could be a case of being Edited for Syndication).
- The season three Married... with Children episode "I'll See You in Court" was banned from FOX in the light of Moral Guardians complaining about the show's raunchy content (the missing episode was about the Bundys and the Rhoades having sex in a hotel room where they're being videotaped). It finally premiered on FX in June 2002 and has been airing on cable syndication ever since (TBS has aired it), though the episode did air overseas and was released on two DVDs: a compilation of Married... with Children's most outrageous episodes, and the complete third season set.
- The original version (not the 2012 remake) of Hawaii Five-O: The episode "Bored, She Hung Herself" was banned after a viewer supposedly died from imitating a deadly yoga technique that greatly resembled Autoerotic Asphyxiation, which appeared on the show. The episode was barred from ever being seen again, not even on network syndication or home video/DVD release.
- The Disney Channel pulled the Shake It Up episode "Party It Up" from rotation after Demi Lovato complained on Twitter that one of the jokes on that episode (and an episode of So Random) made light of anorexia (Lovato herself had overcome the eating disorder). "Party It Up" later aired without the anorexia joke while the So Random episode that also had jokes about eating disorders seems to have been indefinitely shelved.
- Sesame Street, of all shows, even has its share of some of these:
- From the show's 33rd season, one episode dealt with Telly receiving a visit from his bully cousin, who essentially swipes all of his triangles away from him; Telly, naturally, wants his triangles back, but fears that it will cause a fight between him and his cousin Izzy - we are even treated to an Imagine Spot where Telly and Izzy do get into a physical scuffle, and we even see both of them lying in hospital beds, all bandaged up and in casts. Kids watching were apparently more entertained by the humorous fight between Telly and Izzy, rather than responding to the episodes actual anti-bullying message, that Sesame Workshop had removed the episode, and as such, it didn't appear again on PBS during that year's summer repeats.
- One episode was banned before it even made it to the airwaves: sometime in the early 1990s, an episode was taped where the subject of divorce was tackled, in a plot where Snuffy and his baby sister Alice now live in a "broken home", since their parents had gotten divorced. Sesame Street has a process of screening episodes with focus groups of children, to make sure they grasp a message, or educational concept, before the episode is approved for airing. However, the kids in the test audiences were so emotionally distraught over this episode that it never saw the light of day on PBS, and to this day, remains unaired.
- Another 1970s episode had Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West, which only aired once and was banned for being too scary.
- When the BBC first aired Star Trek: The Original Series, it refused to air "Plato's Stepchildren," "The Empath" and "Whom Gods Destroy" for several yearsnote (and also refused to repeat "Miri" after its initial UK broadcast) on the grounds of those episodes being "unsuitable for children". Never mind the fact that the series as a whole was never supposed to be "for children" (at least in America).
- In Germany, the episode "Patterns of Force" was banned due to heavy references to Nazism.
- Later, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" was banned by the BBC because of a line about Ireland being reunited following "a successful terrorist campaign" (in the context of an episode on a conflict-ridden alien planet where the ethnic conflict was a blatant Fantastic Racism version of The Troubles).
- Top of the Pops: A sizable chunk (mainly episodes that aired between 1964 and 1984) of the run of this weekly countdown series will likely never air again due to Jimmy Savile, one of the show's hosts (and arguably the face of it's early era), posthumously being fingered as a child sex predator. However, clips of Saville that were uploaded to various video sharing sites before his death and the revelation of his criminal activities likely remain, and TV specials have aired performance footage from the Savile era that do not feature him on camera at any point.
- Also banned (at least from BBC Four repeats) are episodes featuring rocker and convicted pedophile Gary Glitter (especially now that the Savile Scandal has left a zero-tolerance policy on material featuring him. Glitter was also arrested during the height of the scandal), as well as episodes hosted by Savile's co-worker Dave Lee Travis (a month after the scandal broke, Travis was arrested on several sex offence charges; he was cleared on most of them, but the two charges that the jury could not agree on might be retried, damaging chances of his episodes re-airing.)
- Also connected to the example above, Jim'll Fix It, a show whose premise was having the wishes of kids granted via Savile, was banned following accusations of rape (and interviews with the man before his death which, in hindsight, seemed like he only did the show so he could be close to his target).
- The entire run of The Black And White Minstrel Show (the George Mitchell Minstrels in blackface doing a traditional minstrel show, and ironically the first BBC1 show to be screened in color) is never again likely to be screened, or released on video, due to racial concerns.
- A strip from Get Fuzzy drew in plenty of controversy, because of supposed implications that Boston TV and radio sportscaster Bob Lobel is an alcoholic. While some newspapers had a "censored" version published by replacing Lobel's name with a simple "him", the strip is excluded entirely in subsequent Get Fuzzy collection and treasury books.