Banned TV Moments That Fans Can't See

By Sarah Norman | May 24, 2023

Home – The X-Files

There's a sense of forbidden allure that comes with things that are banned or hard to come by. Whether it's a banned book, a censored movie, or an episode of a popular television show that was pulled from the airwaves, there's something about the unattainable that makes it all the more desirable. And while censorship may seem like a thing of the past, the truth is that there are still plenty of examples of episodes of popular television shows that were banned or are now hard to see because they were pulled from the airwaves after their initial run.

From the controversial and the offensive to the just plain bizarre, these episodes represent a side of television history that we don't often get to see. So, if you're a fan of television and want to explore some of the shows that have been deemed too hot for TV, then read on. We've compiled a list of some of the most banned and hard-to-find episodes of popular television shows, and we're inviting you to join us on a journey into the dark and fascinating world of TV censorship.

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The X-Files, notorious for its seedy dealings of government conspiracies and extraterrestrial life, had already laid out a veritable feast of gore and revulsion for its viewers. But in the sordid and sickening episode, "Home," the show managed to outdo itself, delivering one of the most appalling hours of broadcast television in history. Mulder and Scully's investigation of the murder of a mutated infant leads them to a small, isolated town, where they encounter the Peacock family: a group of twisted, inbred farmers who engage in unspeakable acts of debauchery with their quadruple amputee mother, all in the name of perpetuating their cursed bloodline.

Rife with repugnant depictions of sex and violence, "Home" is like a gruesome spectacle that you can't look away from, no matter how much you might want to. Fox initially banned the episode from ever being aired again due to its overwhelming shock value, but fans protested, and it was eventually brought back, becoming a highlight of the series. Much like the infamous horror classics, The Last House on the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, "Home" is just as enthralling as it is unnerving, and it's a wonder that it was ever allowed to see the light of day.

The High Ground – Star Trek: The Next Generation

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(Paramount Domestic Television)

In the world of science fiction, anything is possible, even the depiction of real-world conflicts and controversies. And yet, even in this realm of limitless imagination, some topics remain too hot to handle, as demonstrated by the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground."

In this provocative installment, the Enterprise crew finds themselves embroiled in the ethnic conflict of a distant planet, a thinly-veiled analogue to the real-world Troubles in Northern Ireland. And yet, it was a seemingly innocuous line about Ireland's reunification following "a successful terrorist campaign" that proved too much for the BBC, who promptly banned the episode from airing.

For fans of the show, this decision was a reminder of the power of science fiction to tackle complex and difficult issues, even as it entertains and provokes. And yet, it was also a reminder of the ways in which even the most daring and boundary-pushing shows can still find themselves at the mercy of the media gatekeepers, who hold the power to decide what is and isn't fit for public consumption.