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Ah, lost episodes. A particular brand of creepypasta and Reddit lore that anyone who grew up on the internet is familiar with.
But it’s not all legend — there actually are TV films and shows that only aired once, or were buried or banned at some point, due to either current events, sensitive or scary subject matter, or just being plain bad.
Oftentimes, episodes are just delayed — such as the “Earshot” episode of
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was set to air right after the Columbine shootings and depicted Buffy discovering one of her classmates is planning to kill other classmates. But other times, episodes are barred from airing again entirely.
Here are 17 “lost episodes” and banned specials and films that got buried:
The Star Wars Holiday Special
Ah, yes, the infamous “missing” piece of the
Star Wars universe. (It’s not exactly missing anymore — you can watch it here.) In the special, Chewbacca returns home to his family to celebrate Life Day. Among other things, the special features Harvey Korman in “drag and blackface as a four-armed alien Julia Child impersonator,” which Rolling Stone calls “not the worst thing that happens in the special,” so that already gives you an idea as to how bad it is. It only aired once in 1978. George Lucas himself allegedly said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” The special also features the above scene of Chewbacca’s dad watching porn and apparently “pleasuring himself.”
Sesame Street, “Cracks”
There are actually multiple
Sesame Street episodes that never aired or only aired once. However, the most famous “lost” Sesame Street moment is probably a single segment about a wall crack. The reason I bring this one up is that the story behind recovering it is literally one of the strangest things I have ever heard, including a decades long search and a mysterious DVD hand-delivered with instructions to never show it to anyone else. You can watch the segment here!
The X-Files, “Home”
This horrifying episode of
The X-Files about an incestuous, murderous family led by a quadruple amputee mother who lived under the bed was so infamously disturbing that it only aired twice on Fox (the second time was three years after the first, advertised as a special viewing of the “banned” episode for Halloween). You can watch the episode wherever The X-Files streams, including Hulu.
Friends, “The One Where Rachel Tells Ross”
Parts of this episode
had to be reshot after 9/11, as it originally dealt with a humorous plot where Chandler made a joke about bringing a bomb on a plane. If you’d like, you can watch the original “lost” scenes here.
Caillou, “Rosie Bothers Caillou”
Look, Caillou is a demon spawn and literally anyone above the age of seven who has been forced to watch an episode knows this. There are a
number of episodes from Season 1 that do not appear on the Amazon Prime release of the show (though you can find them on YouTube), including one where Caillou gets kind of violent with Rosie and talks back to his mom. You can watch the episode here.
Gargoyles, “Deadly Force”
According to creator
Greg Weisman, when Toon Disney began airing the show, they removed this episode from the rotation due to the plotline of Broadway accidentally shooting Elisa. Later, it began airing on Halloween and late at night, and you can currently watch the episode on Disney+. However, the glimpse of Elisa lying in her own blood (as seen above) is cut, with the scene jumping quickly to a close-up of her face instead. This was apparently the cut Weisman had intended — the bloodier version was only shown once as they apparently hadn’t yet received the recut version with less blood from Japan yet.
Cry Baby Lane
The film starts with a super creepy story of conjoined twins — one good and one evil. They die, and their father literally saws them apart and buries them separately. A kid hears this story and decides to resurrect the good twin, but turns out the father mixed up the twins and he actually resurrects the bad one, who begins posessing the townspeople. This Nickelodeon film
aired once leading up to Halloween in 2000, and after the network apparently faced backlash for it being too scary, it did not air again until online buzz caused the network to resurrect it in 2011. You can watch the made-for-TV movie here.
Ren & Stimpy, “Man’s Best Friend”
This episode was
“banned” from airing on Nickelodeon, and the show’s creator John Kricfalusi was fired along with his team. It later aired on Spike TV. In the episode, Ren and Stimpy are adopted by George Liquor as pets, and there are multiple tobacco references as well as a scene in which Ren beats George with an oar. You can watch the episode here.
Doctor Who, “The Feast of Steven”
A lot of
Doctor Who episodes are missing, as the BBC deleted many of them in the ’60s and ’70s to free up space, but perhaps the most referenced is the holiday episode “The Feast of Steven,” which was a strange episode that didn’t fit into the continuity of the season and instead took place mostly on a 1920s Hollywood movie set. At the end, the Doctor also broke the fourth wall to wish viewers a Merry Christmas. Not so disturbing, per se, but definitely a bizarre one.
This episode from the show’s first season
actually didn’t air at all, because it was decided that the episode, which dealt with people being murdered by their lost children, too closely related to the Sandy Hook shooting. They did release other segments of the episode on the NBC website. However, you can watch it on streaming services like Netflix.
Darkwing Duck, “Hot Spells”
The episode featured Gosalyn being tricked into making a deal with a character that is essentially the devil, resulting in Darkwing pretty much going to hell. The episode was
pulled from reruns after parents complained. You can find unofficial recordings of the episode online, but it’s not on Disney+.
Suite Life, “Smart and Smarterer”
The episode is skipped over on Disney+ due to its subject matter of Zack pretending to have a learning disability. Adrian R’Mante, who played Esteben,
says it only aired maybe twice and hasn’t aired since. However, you can still find it in parts through The Suite Life of Zack & Cody YouTube channel here. The only shame about this episode getting cut is that it features Esteben’s absolutely amazing impression of Mr. Moseby — but you can watch that here.
Don’t Look Under the Bed
In the film, imaginary friends turn into boogeymen when forgotten — this also begins to happen to one of the main characters, an imaginary friend named Larry. While not technically banned, the backlash for the scare factor in the film caused Disney Channel to
stop airing it as part of their Halloween block starting in 2006. However, you can watch it on Disney+!
Rocko’s Modern Life, “The Good, The Bad and the Wallaby”
According to a
review of the Season 1 DVD, this scene was edited from the episode by Nickelodeon and remained cut in the DVD, which is mentioned on the packaging. You can watch the offending scene, in which Heff is milked and seems to derive sexual pleasure from the experience, here.
Shake It Up, “Party It Up”
After Demi Lovato
slammed the network for airing a joke about anorexia, they pulled it (and another episode) to “reevaluate.” You can watch the episode on Disney+, but the joke is cut.
TaleSpin, “Flying Dupes”
Talespin had 65 episodes, but only 63 appear on Disney+ — two are missing, including last episode “Flying Dupes.” In the episode, Baloo attempts to deliver a package he doesn’t realize is a bomb. You can find it on
YouTube, but the quality is low.
And finally: Dexter, “Rude Removal”
This episode was actually
considered kind of a legend for a while, and buzz built up surrounding the episode until Adult Swim released it in 2013. It was later taken down, but you can still find it through unofficial sources on YouTube. The swears are censored (as they were always meant to be), but apparently, uncensored audio exists (if you see uncensored versions, swears have been edited in by whoever uploaded the video, but that isn’t the original audio by the voice actors).
Got any lost or banned episodes for us that you think more people should know about or have wild stories behind them? Let us know in the comments below!