During the Cold War, American soldiers and their families living overseas often had to put up with this. Generally Armed Forces Network stations were only allowed to broadcast shows after they had already aired in the local market, which meant AFN stations were three to five years behind on many shows. The exceptions were generally syndicated shows that held little interest for foreign viewers. Children's programming, apart from PBS shows, were sometimes decades out of date — and if the budget was tight, they might buy the rights to Canadian cartoons from the 1950s, shows that would (and should) fall under this trope. Modern AFN is reportedly much improved.
The AFN television station on Okinawa is an excellent example. During the middle 1970's, for instance, that station mostly ran reruns of programs that had broadcast in the U.S. a season or so previously during prime time, and old movies during most of the rest of the day. Children's programming tended toward PBS shows like Sesame Street and The Electric Company, as noted above, and VERY old cartoons.
3/5's of the world will probably never know what those Europeans and Americans are talking about when refering to Monty Python.
And Americans are just lucky to not be part of that group. According to The Other Wiki, the Pythons didn't think their humor was exportable at all; it was only because an executive at a single PBS station happened upon some episodes, liked it, and had the show put on his station that America was exposed to the Flying Circus and later movies.
QI will probably never be seen in the United States (legally) due to the enormous cost of licensing all the images and sounds they use on the show. While you can get the first three series on Region 2 DVD from a few sources, it only works if you have a Region 2 or regionless DVD player.
After two series of a German dub of the Doctor Who revived series had passed without anyone noticing, the show was cancelled with the network announcing that they had no intention on ever picking it up again. Odd, considering its spinoff show Torchwood continues to air in Germany, leaving an unexplained gap between its first and second series. Doctor Who was not picked up again until Matt Smith's first season.
Doctor Who: The Movie. Due to conflicting rights and legal issues between the BBC and Universal, the 2001 DVD was not released in the US or Australia (Australia got it on VHS, however). Come 2011, and the DVD was finally released to those countries, 15 years after the film aired!
Think it's bad being an anime fan in the UK? Multiply it, and that's being a tokusatsu fan outside of Japan.
There are also no signs of any toku series being released in America in their original, unadapted forms. Some exceptions: Kamen Rider The First (a movie, not a show) was released in North America in 2007 under the name Masked Rider: The First; to date, it is the only subtitled Japanese Tokusatsu that was widely available in American stores. But not UK ones. There has also been box sets put out for series like Kamen Rider V3 and Kikaider, made for the Hawaiian market and thus not widely available; they are sold on the Internet but Kikaider is currently out of print due to licensing issues whereas V3will be getting reissue this May. Japanese Spider-Man is streamed on Marvel's website.
Tokukatsu programming has a moderately large following in certain areas in Asia outside of Japan as well, so long as you're willing to accept episodes that are dubbed into the local language. Video releases are a-plenty (depending on where you plan to visit, are dubbed into Malay, Mandarin or Cantonese respectively), toys are a-plenty (beware the knockoffs tho) and they even air it regularly on national TV in the countries. Just expect to get strange looks from the cashier when you try to buy merchandise.
The Philippines used to air Super Sentai until the early 2000's, the last series being Choujin Sentai Jetman. Now, Super Sentai is this in the Philippines, due to Power Rangers. One of the reasons? someone said before that Power Rangers was cheap to buy and license in the country than Super Sentai.
Same with the US, the reasons why Toei doesn't bring the originals to DVD in the country is due to not just the show license but also the Actors fee.
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan very nearly failed to be released in the UK due to a licensing mess. Sky One, who broadcast the series in the UK, declared that they had no interest in ever broadcasting The Plan, since they considered BSG to be yesterday's news and were more interested in promoting Caprica instead. Unfortunately, the licensing agreement between Sky and SyFy meant that no BSG episode could receive any form of DVD or iTunes release in the UK until Sky showed it. Eventually, Sky relented and showed The Plan... on a Friday midnight, on one of the Sky Movie channels, which paved the way for an eventual DVD release. The whole situation was actually kind of ironic considering that the UK actually got new-BSG well before the US did.
The story of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is long, complicated and sad for anyone in the UK. Originally, the Archive Panic-inducing clip libraries on the Comedy Central website were available to all. Then Canada lost access, and then Britain. Full Episodes mode was introduced and just as quickly made inaccessible to the UK. The Daily Show used to air the day after it was shown in the US on More4 but then they dropped it in favour of the Global Edition. The Colbert Report was picked up for UK distribution by FX, and, well, it didn't last. Now the only legal option for UK viewers is to buy the Report on iTunes, at £10 a month.
Oh, and just to rub it in, the Comedy Central merch shop is US-only too.
South of Nowhere has yet to see the light of day in Australia—likewise with post-season 3 reruns of Degrassi The Next Generation. Possibly due to costs, but implications can be drawn when you consider that Season 3 of SoN aired in France first.
Similarly to the film example above, many TV Series are not released on DVD with a French language track even if one exists. Unlike film examples, this has a logical reason: due to the time it takes to dub a series and obtain the rights, TV shows are often aired one season late on French-language channels. Thus, the French-language channel doesn't wish for the season to be found in DVD at the time it first airs, as it would remove too many viewers. However, some shows on DVD have certain seasons where the language track is present while other seasons don't, with seemingly no reason. For example, Stargate has a French-language track on seasons 1, 8, 9 and 10 only, while Avatar: The Last Airbender only has one for seasons 1 and 2. Lost Season 1 and 6 originally had no French-language track, but the DVD sets were (or, in the case of Season 6, is announced to be) re-issued with the language track.
Despite having been available in other markets since 2007, a number of LazyTown episodes have never been broadcast in the United States.
Inversion: A number of 1980's U.S. TV miniseries have still never been released on DVD in the U.S., even though they've been made available in VHS, laserdisc and even DVD in various European and South American nations and Japan. Examples include Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (1986), starring Armand Assante and Jacqueline Bisset, and Casanova (1987), starring Richard Chamberlain, Faye Dunaway, Sylvia Kristel and Ornella Muti.
Another rather bizarre inversion, this time from the U.K.: The Last Detective exists on DVD in the U.S. and Australia, but not in the U.K. (Region 2 DVDs of Season 1*
Other than aging obsolete VHS tapes, the chances of Blake's 7 being made available in a modern home video format in the U.S. is about zero, especially since the show is not well known in the U.S except among some older Sci-Fi fans. Word of mouth got out about the Region 2 (U.K) DVD release having disk defects and inexplicably cut footage, the latter totally unacceptable to hardcore fans so export of that DVD release was out of the question. The show dates horribly due to its non-special effects, wobbly sets, and hammy acting by today's standards. It would simply not sell well to today's Sy-Fy audience. Especially when newer (albeit cancelled) shows like Firefly and Farscape are said to essentially modernize and update the premise behind Blake's 7.
Which is why fans of Blake's 7 are understandably upset when they see things like the DVD release of all 1,200+ episodes of Dark Shadows to tie in with a bigger-budgeted movie remake, even though Dark Shadows sets and budget often made Blake's 7 look like a Hollywood blockbuster by comparison.
The original, Argentine version of Los Simuladores had very little distribution in Latin America (let alone the rest of the world). Instead, remakes were made.
Spaced (the first teaming of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright) was like this for many years in the US until 2009, when the series went straight-to-DVD.
Due to Nickelodeon Japan's shutdown in 2009 (The channel was stepped down to a block on Animax in Japan), Japanese Nicksters have no access to cool new sitcoms like Victorious, later seasons of iCarly (which is probably a mercy, as the Japanese got spared from the horrid mess that is the Seddie Arc), How To Rock or even other stuff like House Of Anubis. Averted with some shows like The Penguins of Madagascar, which airs on NHK. Kinda makes you wonder who gets to dub them if the channel didn't close.