NYPD Blue – Pilot
Whereas most shows take a while to get network censors riled up, NYPD Blue had ABC affiliates shook right off the bat. Before the show even began airing, Reverend Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association screened the first episode and called it “soft-core porn” because of the partial male nudity. They took out full-page ads in major newspapers across the US to ask viewers to boycott the show. The violence, sexual content, and coarse language in the first episode, which was groundbreaking for broadcast TV at the time, led to fifty-seven of ABC's 225 affiliates refusing to air it. However, ratings for the episode were massive, likely because of the controversy it created. By the second season, every ABC affiliate was airing the series, and the show continued to push the boundaries of primetime TV content.
Hannibal – Oeuf
Hannibal was always a relatively controversial series. Despite airing on NBC, it thrived by pushing the envelope in terms of storytelling and content. The violence was often brutal and cinematic; it was, after all, a series about a cannibalistic serial killer. One episode, however, was pulled at the request of series creator Bryan Fuller. He felt the episode could be too disturbing given the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where several young children were killed. The episode featured children being abducted and brainwashed into killing their families. NBC aired the following episode instead, and Ouef was converted into five webisodes that were made available online. In almost every country other than the US and Canada, the episode aired as originally intended. In the US, it was also later made available on DVD.