Banned TV Moments That Fans Can't See

 A Room at the Top - The Brady Bunch

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.

Lloyd J. Schwartz, the director of the beloved Brady Bunch, spilled some juicy behind-the-scenes details in his tell-all tome, Brady, Brady, Brady: The Complete Story of the Brady Bunch. In one sizzling chapter, Schwartz reveals how the on-screen chemistry between Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams was quickly turning into a raging inferno that threatened to scorch the entire set. In the fourth season episode "A Room at the Top," a seemingly innocent scene called for the duo to engage in a harmless conversation on Marcia's bed. But even the cool, collected Schwartz couldn't contain the palpable sexual tension that crackled between the two stars. Schwartz wrote:

The problem was that this episode was being shot at the height of the sexual tension between Barry and Maureen, When Barry sat down on the bed and started to talk to his TV sister, it became romantic, even steamy. I couldn’t print a scene in which a brother and sister were obviously hot for each other.

The High Ground – Star Trek: The Next Generation

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.

Home – The X-Files

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.

White Rabbits Can't Jump - Adventures In Wonderland

Adventures in Wonderland was a beloved live-action musical comedy series that put a fresh spin on the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland. The show followed the adventures of Alice, played by Elisabeth Harnois, as she traveled to and from Wonderland through a magical mirror. Originally airing from March 23, 1992 to 1995, it was a hit with viewers of all ages.

However, the series faced controversy when the unaired ninety-ninth episode "White Rabbits Can't Jump" was pulled from release in 1994. The episode featured the White Rabbit seeking help from his hero, O.J. Simpson, prior to his infamous criminal trial. In the episode, the residents of Wonderland hold an annual athletics competition, and the White Rabbit is afraid he will lose. Unfortunately, the episode was never aired due to Simpson's arrest, but it was adapted into a picture book that is still enjoyed by fans of the show.

Encounters – The Twilight Zone

For fans of the classic series The Twilight Zone, the show's blend of sci-fi, horror, and social commentary was a winning formula. But even this groundbreaking series wasn't immune to controversy, as demonstrated by the infamous episode "The Encounter."

Starring Neville Brand and George Takei, the episode centers around a Japanese-American man whose father had been a traitor to the U.S. during World War II. This provocative storyline drew the ire of the Japanese-American community, who viewed it as an affront to their dignity and a reminder of a painful chapter in American history.

As a result of this backlash, "The Encounter" was never rebroadcast or included in syndication until 2004, leaving fans of the series wondering what might have been. And yet, even in its absence, the episode remains a testament to the power of television to challenge, provoke, and sometimes offend, even as it entertains. For fans of The Twilight Zone, "The Encounter" is a reminder of the true power of art to make us uncomfortable, to force us to confront the darker corners of our past and present, and to ultimately emerge stronger and more united.

Episode 0847 – Sesame Street

The 847th installment of the beloved Sesame Street series featured the one and only Margaret Hamilton, revisiting her infamous role as the Wicked Witch of the West a staggering four decades after the release of The Wizard of Oz (1939). But the episode's controversial content proved too much for the delicate sensibilities of some, and it was swiftly banned for being "too scary" for children. For years, it was a rare and elusive find.

To address the escalating uproar, a series of additional test screenings were conducted from March 1st to the 5th, specifically to gauge the impact of the Wicked Witch on the tender psyches of the show's young audience. Yet despite the results of the tests, and the feedback from parents, it was ultimately determined that the episode was simply too much for young viewers to handle, and it was deemed unfit for broadcast.

Patterns Of Force – Star Trek

In the dark and turbulent history of Germany, the Star Trek episode known as "Patterns of Force" stands as a singular example of censorship and suppression. The episode, which explores the concept of a society explicitly modeled on Nazi Germany, was deemed too provocative for audiences in Germany itself. The use of Nazi uniforms and insignia, along with a character proclaiming that Nazi Germany was the most efficient society ever created, were deemed too extreme for the delicate sensibilities of the German viewing public.

As a result, "Patterns of Force" stands as the only Star Trek episode that was never shown during either of its original runs in Germany, first on the ZDF network in the mid-1970s, and later on the Sat.1 network in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It wasn't until 1995 that the episode was finally dubbed into German, and even then it was only presented with English subtitles. Only in 1996 was it shown on German pay TV, and it wasn't until 2011 that it was finally broadcast on the public network channel ZDFneo.

In the end, "Patterns of Force" serves as a grim reminder of the power of censorship and the dangers of suppressing art and ideas that challenge the status quo. The fact that it took so long for the episode to be shown in its entirety in Germany stands as a testament to the deep wounds inflicted by the legacy of the Third Reich, wounds that are still healing to this day.


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