In the current so-called golden age of television, it seems that there could be no content too crass for primetime viewing. However, with streaming platforms and cable networks forcing broadcast television to push the envelope in terms of storytelling and content, it is inevitable that some TV shows will end up going too far. Here are twelve episodes of popular shows that were so controversial that they were banned after a single airing or were never shown on US TV.
American Horror Story: Cult – Mid-Western Assassin
Some of the most gruesome, violent, and shocking sequences in TV history have come from American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy’s groundbreaking anthology series. In 2017, it was Murphy who decided that one episode from the seventh instalment, Cult, could not go to air as it was originally intended. Days after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Cult was set to air an episode that featured a similar shooting at a political rally. When critics saw the episode, they noted that the intense opening scene could be deeply unsettling for many viewers given the recent tragedy. Murphy quickly recut the episode for television, removing several realistic and disturbing shots from the shooting sequence. FX went on to make the original edit available through online digital platforms. They also ran an extra disclaimer before the episode to warn audiences that the episode may be too disturbing for some viewers.
Boy Meets World – Multiple Episodes
The Disney Channel pulled three episodes of this classic children's series from their rotation after airing each one just once on ABC. The episodes Prom-ises Prom-ises, If You Can't Be with the One You Love…, and The Truth about Honesty dealt with subject matter that Disney felt was too mature for their young audience. As a result, the episodes never aired on Disney again, although they were released on DVD and broadcasted on some syndicated channels. The episodes featured discussions of pre-marital sex between lead characters Corey and Topanga, who were in high school, and also dealt with underage drinking and peer pressure. Although the series was often hailed for dealing with important issues realistically, Disney believed these three episodes would ruffle too many feathers with their audience.