Banned TV Moments That Fans Can't See

By Sarah Norman | December 2, 2023

Conflict – Mister Rodgers Neighborhood

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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(PBS)

In the heart of the Cold War, November of '83 saw the broadcast of a weeklong story arc that would rattle even the most jaded viewer. In a series of unfortunate events, King Friday and Corny the Beaver amassed enough nuclear firepower to ensure their mutual annihilation, a tale so fraught with peril that it hasn't been aired since 1996. Mister Rogers deserves credit for his intention to instill a harsh dose of reality in the young minds of tomorrow's leaders, but the truth is, it was all too real.

One theory is that the "Conflict" episodes were crafted as a direct response to the ABC TV movie, The Day After, which depicted a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union and its devastating aftermath in Lawrence, Kansas, in a manner unlike anything seen before. The idea was to offer solace to children who may have been affected by the movie's harrowing content. But the dates of both programs don't quite add up. The Conflict Week's first episode aired on November 7, 1983, while The Day After didn't air until November 20. This leaves one to ponder when exactly these episodes were created and produced.

Bottom, the bleakly hilarious British sitcom

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(BBC2)

Bottom, the bleakly hilarious British sitcom by Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, shocked viewers with its pitch-black humor and gratuitous violence. But the episode "’S Out" took things a bit too far. The BBC banned the episode for three long years. Why? Because the episode featured Richie and Eddie spending a night on Wimbledon Common, which wouldn't have been a big deal except for the fact that it coincided with the real-life murder of Rachel Nickell in the same location. The tragic timing made "’S Out" a little too real for audiences, and it was swiftly pulled from screens.