10 Banned TV Shows
10) Sailor Moon
One of the most popular anime series worldwide, Japanese cartoon Sailor Moon brought anime to the American mainstream in the early 90s.
However, when the cartoon was imported to American TV, certain episodes were heavily censored or even banned because of the cartoon’s homosexual and gender-defying characters, which were deemed to be inappropriate for a young American audience.
Despite the show’s protagonist Sailor Uranus being in a lesbian relationship in the Japanese version, by the time the cartoon was dubbed in English, the lesbian lovers were presented in the cartoon as cousins.
Although their homosexual relationship was censored, some of the pair’s flirtatious scenes were kept in, leaving viewers to infer that the characters were instead in an incestuous relationship.
Furthermore, the show’s evil henchmen, Kunzite and Zoisite were gay in the Japanese version, however in the American version Zoisite had been re-written as a woman, therefore portraying the characters as being in a heterosexual relationship.
Meanwhile, an entire season featuring ‘The Sailor Starlights’, a boy band whose powers transformed them into female superheroes, wasn’t broadcast in America at all.
9) The Simpsons: “The City Of New York VS. Homer Simpson”
The first episode of The Simpsons’ ninth season “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson” was originally broadcast on the Fox network in 1997. The episode follows the Simpsons family as they venture to the big apple to retrieve Homer’s car, which has been left parked outside the World Trade Center by Barney Gumble.
While the rest of the family take in New York’s sites, Homer finds that his car has been clamped. He spends the episode waiting for a ticket officer to take off the car’s parking boot, visiting both the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in the process.
Although the episode got largely positive reviews, it was removed from syndication 4 years later, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, due to the episode’s heavy feature of the World Trade Center.
By 2006 the episode was back on the air, but some jokes were often censored, as they were considered to be insensitive to 9/11 victims.
8) Buffy The Vampire Slayer: “Earshot”
Buffy the Vampire Slayer permeated the pop culture of the 90s, with its supernatural themes set around the lives of a group of high school students. But in 1999, despite its popularity, an episode of the third season ended up being temporarily banned from the air, due to bad timing.
The 18th episode of this series sees Buffy gain the power of telepathy, after being infected by a demon. Able to hear the thoughts of her classmates, Buffy hears that someone is planning to kill all the students in the school. But just in the nick of time the slayer and her crew find the student assembling a rifle on the school grounds.
However, just one week before the episode was scheduled to be aired, the Columbine High School massacre occurred, in which two students murdered 13 people at their high school before turning the guns on themselves.
Due to the similarities between Buffy and the high school massacre, broadcasters WB decided to postpone the airing of the episode in order not to offend viewers.
7) Power Puff Girls: “See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey”
This musical episode of Power Puff Girls’ fifth season has never been aired in the US, with varying accounts being given to explain its ban.
Created in the style of a rock opera, in the episode the Power Puff girls give their super powers to an evil gnome in exchange for world peace. But when the evil gnome uses his new powers to induct the people of Townsville into a cult, the Power Puff Girls realize that their utopian vision isn’t all they hoped it would be.
Website TV Tropes suggested that the episode was banned for its communist undertones, as the cult members were dressed in bizarre red uniforms.
Meanwhile Power Puff creator Craig McCracken suggests that the episode was banned due to the cartoon’s Christian imagery, with destroyed buildings looking too much like crosses and one of the hippies even looking like Jesus.
However, the episode may just have been banned for the safety of its viewers, due to its use of strobe lights, which could potentially cause people to have seizures.
6) Star Trek: “High Ground” and “Patterns Of Force”
The sci-fi franchise Star Trek has been on the air and on the big screen since 1966, so it’s only natural that they’ve ruffled some feathers along the way.
Created in 1990, The Next Generation episode ‘High Ground’ was banned in the United Kingdom for more than a decade, due to the episode’s referencing of the violent territorial conflict that was taking place in Northern Ireland at the time of the episode’s broadcast.
The episode, set in the future, sees the character Data note that after a successful terrorist campaign, Ireland is reunited in the year 2024. Due to the sensitivity of the ongoing conflict, the Republic of Ireland’s Star Trek rights’ holder, RTÉ, refused to broadcast the episode, while the BBC didn’t show it until 2007.
Meanwhile, in the original series, a 1968 episode called “Patterns of Force” was banned in Germany for a staggering 43 years. The episode features original characters Captain Kirk and Mr Spock exploring the universe, visiting the planet Ekos, a culture of Nazis.
Donning SS uniforms and Swastikas, the Star Trek crew attempt to infiltrate a group. Due to Germany’s dark history of Nazism the episode wasn’t shown in the country until the mid-1990s.
5) Aqua Teen Hunger Force: “Boston”
Despite being creator Matt Maiellaro’s favorite, Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode “Boston” has never seen the light of day due to its controversial satirizing of a bomb scare. It was scheduled for release in 2008 but the reason “Boston” was banned dates back to an incident that had occurred a year earlier.
In 2007 the cartoon caused a scandal in Boston when their guerrilla marketing placards of LED lights were mistaken for explosive devices. In response to the perceived bomb threat, the city was shut down for the safety of its citizens.
This precaution cost Turner Media, which owns the show, $2 million dollars for the trouble they caused. During the production of “Boston” the cartoon’s executives were scared that the episode would only lead to more controversy and so forced the writers to re-write it several times.
Despite three different episodes being produced, Turner Media reportedly threatened to fire the Aqua Teen Hunger Force staff if the episode ever aired.
4) American Dad: “Minstrel Krampus”
We all love watching Christmas specials of our favorite shows, but fans of American Dad had to wait a whole year to watch Christmas episode “Minstrel Krampus” after it was postponed due to the Sandy Hook school shooting.
The mass shooting, which saw the death of 20 children, prompted Fox to pull their violent episodes from the TV schedule, in order to prevent airing any sensitive content. The episode depicts Steve acting like a spoilt brat at Christmas. He is then kidnapped by the Christmas demon, Krampus, who proceeds to beat him and lock him in a cage.
Due to the violence being depicted against a child character, ”Minstrel Krampus” wasn’t aired until a year later in December 2013.
3) Sesame Street
Despite Mississippi being the site of Sesame Street creator Jim Henson’s birthplace, back in the early 70s, the US state had a personal beef with the children’s entertainment program, leading to its ban for 22 days.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the show that brought us Elmo could do no wrong, and in fact when the show debuted on public television in 1969, it was an immediate success.
However, not everyone was a fan of the Muppets and a group in Mississippi, headed by former local mayor Allen Cavett Thompson, protested against taxpayer dollars being spent to air Sesame Street. They took offense to the show’s interracial cast, which they claimed they were ‘not ready for’.
In response to the outcries, a state commission was formed which decided that Sesame Street should be banned from Mississippi TV. The little children of Mississippi were deprived of Sesame Street for a whole 22 days, before the commission overturned their decision.
2) The X-Files: “Home”
In what is considered to be one of the scariest TV episodes ever, X-Files episode ‘Home’ was broadcast just once before being banned for being too disturbing.
Originally aired in 1996, the episode centers on a quadruple amputee mother, who is revealed to be breeding with her disfigured sons. After its debut showing, viewers rang up to complain, disgusted by the episode’s gruesome scenes.
These included a baby being buried alive, violent murders, and the taboo theme of incest. Despite the episode beginning with a warning about its graphic content, Fox ultimately agreed with the complaints and it was banned from the channel for 3 years.
It was finally aired as part of an X-Files Halloween special in 1999.
1) Arthur: “Room To Ride” and “The Great MacGrady”
Everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur, has been educating children since it first aired in 1996. The family friendly cartoon tackles important life issues, sometimes with the help of celebrity cameos. This included the now disgraced cyclist, Lance Armstrong, leading to several episodes being banned from further rotation.
In the episode “Room to Ride”, Lance Armstrong plays himself as an anthropomorphic animal, encouraging the character Binky to keep up his campaign for cycle lanes.
Meanwhile in the episode “The Great MacGrady”, which was co-sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the professional cyclist helps the character Francine deal with the sensitive topic of cancer.
However, in 2012, 7 time Tour de France winner Armstrong was found guilty of having used illegal performance-enhancing drugs over the course of his career. He has since been stripped of all of his achievements after 1998, meaning that even the Arthur episodes with his cameos have been banned.