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10 Banned TV Shows That Shocked The World –

 

 

 

We’re lucky enough to be living through the Golden Age of TV, where there’s more quality content than ever and increasingly less motivation to head outside for some cinematic entertainment.

But as content-rich as the world of TV is today, not everything produced is deemed suitable for all types of audiences, resulting in shows being banned both abroad and, in extreme cases, even their English-speaking countries of origin (which is almost always the U.S.).

From controversial, fully produced TV series that were slapped with a ban by the network and never allowed to see the light of day, to hit western shows which ignited outrage internationally, each of these 10 programs ultimately fell foul of viewer, network or state ethics and was nixed as a result…

10. China Considered Time Travel “Disrespectful” – Doctor Who

BBC

The Chinese censors sure are a sensitive bunch, having infamously banned Winnie the Pooh from state-controlled TV and Internet due to him being mockingly likened to Chinese President Xi Jinping online.

Surely even stranger than that, though, was the nation’s decision back in 2011 to clamp down on any media which featured the use of time travel, which the censors deemed “frivolous” and disrespectful of history.

This resulted in the totally harmful, damaging show that is Doctor Who being banned from official broadcast in the country, with no consideration given to its playful, campy tone or the fact it’s not terribly disparaging of real-life historical figures (especially Chinese ones).

Ultimately money talks, though, and the ban was seemingly quietly lifted last year when BBC Worldwide cut a deal with Shanghai Media Group Pictures to distribute the entire Doctor Who back catalogue across TV and VOD services in China. Phew.

9. High School Shootings Made Paramount Lose Their Nerve – Heathers

Lakeshore Entertainment

Paramount Network originally intended to air this TV adaptation of the classic 1988 black comedy classic Heathers earlier this year, but following February’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the edgy series, which dabbles in similar subject matter, was pushed back to the summer.

A month prior to its premiere, though, the network dropped the show entirely, a full 10-episode season of which had already been produced, due to Viacom executives expressing discomfort with the show’s thorny themes in light of yet another high school shooting.

Several episodes had already been screened and reviewed by critics, though – they weren’t kind, shockingly – and because the rights had already been sold internationally, the show can still be viewed in other territories despite effectively being banned in the U.S.

8. Kenya Hated Its “Secret Queer-Baiting” – Hey Arnold!

Nickelodeon

Despite being over two decades old, Nickelodeon’s classic animated show Hey Arnold! was banned last year by the Kenya Film Classification Board in a sweeping crackdown on TV series that support “the deviant LGBT agenda.”

Along with the likes of The Legend of Korra and Adventure Time, Hey Arnold! was said to “glorify homosexual behaviour” and was “deliberately designed to corrupt [children’s] moral judgement regarding the institution of family.”

Uh, what?

In specific reference to this show, the ruling argued that Arnold’s grandpa Phil “has a d*ck for a head” – referring to his testicles-looking chin and “shaft” that seems to run up the side of his head – and also singled out a scene in which a sign reads “Try my sausage” while pointing to Phil, accusing it of further promoting the gay agenda.

There’s not really much point trying to figure out the logic of this one: it’s just plain, old-fashioned homophobia.

7. Cruel Intentions Prequel Series Was Too Sexy For Fox – Manchester Prep

Columbia Tristar

In case you’re wondering, yes, that is Amy Adams.

Manchester Prep was a series commissioned by Fox as a prequel TV show to the hit 1999 movie Cruel Intentions. The show was set to star a 25-year-old Amy Adams as Kathryn Merteuil and Robin Dunne as Sebastian Valmont, the roles played by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe in the film respectively.

In late 1999, however, Fox reportedly got cold feet over the show’s sexual content and halted production after just two episodes had been completed. Considering the blandly sexless nature of most of Fox’s TV output – but gratuitous violence is fine! – it’s pretty shocking they’d even swing for a show like this in the first place.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. An enterprising Fox then decided to recoup some of their sunk costs by re-editing the completed episodes into a feature film and even shooting some sexier additional scenes. The end result was a straight-to-video Cruel Intentions prequel, confusingly entitled Cruel Intentions 2.

The film was quietly released in early 2001 and quickly scorned by critics, yet nevertheless proved successful enough to warrant the release of a third movie in 2004. Funnily enough, Amy Adams opted not to return.

6. Humanity Prevails, O.J. Simpson’s Murder Confession Deemed “Tasteless” – If I Did It

Time Magazine

If I Did It was a planned cross-media project in which O.J. Simpson offered an apparently hypothetical explanation for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, of which Simpson was of course accused and acquitted.

If I Did It was both a book ghostwritten by Pablo Fenjves and a TV special intended to air on Fox to coincide with the book’s scheduled release, the latter featuring extensive video interviews with Simpson about how he “would’ve” committed the murders.

On the eve of their November 2006 release and airing, though, Fox opted to abandon both projects, citing pressure from Fox station owners and the fast-mounting avalanche of bad PR.

The book was eventually published in a revised form after the rights were transferred to Goldman’s family – preventing Simpson from profiting off of it – and though the TV specials never aired in their entirety, segments were broadcast by Fox earlier this year. These excerpts were widely interpreted as Simpson basically confessing to the killings.

5. It’s Political Propaganda…According To Myanmar – The Simpsons

Fox

Is there any TV series, animated or not, as brilliantly representative of the American family as The Simpsons?

Though its anarchic spirit has proven controversial over the years – to the extent that President George H. W. Bush even directly called the show out during a 1992 re-election campaign speech – the show’s soft, sentimental edges make it hard to imagine many finding it truly objectionable.

The nation of Myanmar (formerly Burma) wasn’t quite as charmed with it as the rest of the world, though, deciding that the series’ bright yellow character designs and orange-red clothes were a little too similar to the yellow-red colour combination used by rebel groups fighting back against the state’s military junta.

This resulted in not only the TV series being pulled, but The Simpsons Movie being denied a release in the region in 2007. Then again, this is the very same nation that once suddenly demanded that all currency be divisible by nine, causing a huge swath of citizens to lose their life savings overnight.

4. Interview Subjects Were Bribed By Producers – Escaping The KKK

A&E

A&E produced this documentary series about members of the Ku Klux Klan wishing to escape its clutches, but just three weeks ahead of its January 2017 premiere, the network pulled the show. This was following revelations that producers had paid some interviewees in exchange for access to the KKK, in firm violation of A&E’s policy not to fund hate groups.

Considering A&E is co-owned by Walt Disney Co., it’s little surprise the House of Mouse wanted nothing to do with this, and despite A&E retaining support for the show as a serious piece of investigative journalism, they ethically had no choice but to prevent the show from airing.

Regardless of how the docu-series could’ve turned out, it’s an integrity move in the very least, and flies in the face of the money-grabbing soullessness we as viewers generally expect from the entertainment industry.

3. Marvel Wanted To “Nazi-Wash” World War II (Probably) – Captain America: The Animated Series

Marvel Comics

Marvel teamed up with Saban Entertainment to produce a Captain America animated series set to air in late 1998, which would re-imagine Cap as Tommy Tompkins (Steve Rogers being revealed as a cover name), with Red Skull taking the antagonist role, while the typical, expected Nazi context would be toned down considerably.

Scripts were written, major design elements were completed and a 60-second sizzle reel was prepared, but the plug was pulled somewhere along the line, the precise nature of which remains rather ambiguous.

Some point to Marvel’s bankruptcy as slamming the kibosh on production, yet more persistent rumours indicate the studio objected to even the faintest whiff of Nazi imagery, despite these aspects already being firmly stripped from all of the finished scripts.

Considering that Marvel reportedly had to ask the writers not to include a sequence where Stonehenge is transformed into a giant Swastika by Red Skull, they may have just decided to cut their losses and avoid a PR disaster in the midst of their already calamitous financial issues.

2. Promoting Promiscuity & Being Blatantly Racist – All My Babies’ Mamas

Oxygen

Proving that even the tawdry reality TV sausage factory has some vague standard of decency sometimes, this show starring rapper Shawty Lo and the 10 different mothers of his 11 children was supposed to air in 2013, following the ins-and-outs of their, ahem, unconventional family dynamic.

After public outcry over the show’s perceived glorification of promiscuity and dangerous reinforcement of racial stereotypes, however, network Oxygen cancelled it.

Given that a petition calling for its cancellation received almost 40,000 signatures, it’s little surprise Oxygen cowed to the pressure, especially as they’re a subsidiary of the all-powerful entity that is NBCUniversal.

And with that, the world was deprived of yet another soul-sappingly inane, wildly offensive slice of “reality.” Oh no. Don’t go.

1. Doc Subjects Practised Poor Corpse Preservation – Good Grief

NBC5 News

While this Lifetime-produced docu-series about the day-to-day workings of a Texan family mortuary didn’t have an inherently problematic premise, the network buried (sorry) the show after the July 2014 discovery of eight unattended and/or decomposing corpses at the funeral home, leading to the arrest of the owner.

Lifetime surely must’ve been tempted to lean into the controversy and exploit it for their own promotional gain, but to their surprising credit, they canned the show barely a week after the revelation, literally right on the eve of its intended air date.

Considering the show was fully complete and ready to be broadcast, props to Lifetime for just throwing it in a vault presumably to never see the light of day. That’s hardly the sort of restraint you’d expect from a network airing awful TV movies on a weekly basis such as “Bad Stepmother”, “Evil Doctor” and “Fiancé Killer.”

 

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