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 Children's programming, apart from PBS shows, were sometimes decades out of date — and if the budget was tight, they might buy the rights to Canadian cartoons from the 1950s, shows that would (and should) fall under this trope.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!
BBC Worldwide's Asia arm has never been good with the specials. However, most egregiously, "The Time of The Doctor" has been skipped over, and this special is important as it showcases the regeneration of Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi, and regenerations are extremely important events to Whovians. Many have written to the BBC, who claim that they have noted the interest of Asian viewers in the episode, but have announced that it will not be aired in the near future, and mention nothing about it airing in the distant future. And oh, the pre-2005 episodes have never been aired on BBC Asia's feeds, either.
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 have 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, however, sold on the Internet, with Kikaider's being under the title Kikaida. 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, they're 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 cheaper 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 are due to not just the show license but also the actors' fees.
Star Fleet was dubbed in English and shown on UK TV during most of the 80's before disappearing from the air with very scarce cut up VHS releases. However after many years of fan devotion, the show was released on DVD in the UK and Australia, however not in the US. The DVD distributor has stated that there is no audience for a DVD release in the US. This is simply not true as while the show did not air there, 8 VHS tapes of the series were released and were most often subject to being put on a fan archive online.
Also, the Canadian selection of Netflix titles differs from in the US; As of this writing, no Beetleborgs, no VR Troopers, and only up to Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (And neither of the movies) for Power Rangers.
Despite the fact there's an English dub of Violetta (Complete with Cristina Valenzuela dubbing the lead character), it has yet to air on the US Disney Channel. The dub of the show did air on the South East Asian feed though. One of the few reasons might be because of its Teen Drama nature, which would look out of place on the US channel's Kid Com- laden shows.
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 released on DVD without 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, TV shows are often aired one season late on French-language channels. Thus, the channel doesn't wish for viewers to find the dubbed version on DVD before it airs. Some series DVDs are inconsistent, seemingly without explanation. 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 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* four hour-long episodes are available on Amazon... for £72.)
The Listener used to air on CTV and NBC, like Flashpoint and CBS. It's still going on, but only in Canada. NBC killed it to put on Law & Order reruns. Further, Flashpoint has been banished to ION, whatever that is.
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. Argentinian soaps (particularly the innovative ones) have a similar fate.
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 and even then that block was later off the air), 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.
MythBusters has inverted the trope; despite being made in America, so far the "Plane Boarding"/"Bite the Bullet" episode has only been shown overseas. note It was finally added to the US broadcast schedule, over a year after the rest of the world saw it ... and then taken right off again. A clip from it continues to appear in Discovery's "new season" teaser videos, though.
Cartoon Network never seems to air in Belgium anymore since 2011, which is about a few months after the channel had Dutch presentators. The main reason why is probably because Cartoon Network Belgium directly airs its shows from the Dutch Cartoon Network, whom the latter also shut the channel down and sold its airing time to its co-host National Geographic, because the Dutch re-translation cost about that much.
Despite being co-produced by Canada, there is currently no Region 1 DVD of Shoebox Zoo.