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14 Rumored And Real "Lost Episodes" Of TV Shows

Updated September 23, 2021 25.8k votes 7.9k voters 293.4k views14 items

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Thanks to the advent of streaming services, pretty much every episode of a TV show you want to see is out there – almost. There are some TV show episodes that have been lost or banned outright, and a few may not even exist at all. Some TV episodes like "Squidward's Suicide" (from SpongeBob SquarePants) are merely urban legends. Other lost episodes of popular TV shows like Doctor Who's "The Power of the Daleks," are not only known to be real, but are some of the most sought-after pieces of media of all time. Who knows – even episodes of your favorite television series may have been lost to history.

Then again, some famous “lost episodes” of a television series aren’t actually lost; they were simply shelved by studios for one reason or another. Either the people in charge hated the episode, or circumstances led to the program being shuffled around until it disappeared. Often these lost episodes are considered to be the best episodes of a television show, whether that’s just because people want to see them so badly, or because they’re genuinely good. That's up to you to decide – if you ever get a chance to see them.

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    Friends – "The One Where Rachel Tells Ross"

    Photo: Friends / NBC

    This episode of Friends technically aired in October 2001, but it had to be re-shot due to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The original episode features Chandler being Chandler about someone blowing up an airplane. After joking that a sign in the airport reading “no jokes about bombs” should actually say “no bombs,” Chandler and Monica are dragged out of line. Security goes through their luggage and makes fun of their underwear.

    In order to fill the time, the scenes were replaced with a sequence in which Monica and Chandler try to sneak into a fancy airport lounge. The original scenes ended up on DVD, but they still feel weird to watch.

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    • 10

      Star Wars – "The Star Wars Holiday Special"

      This episode probably should have stayed lost. The notorious "Star Wars Holiday Special" is a musical revue in which Chewbacca and Han Solo visit the wookie's home planet to celebrate Life Day. If that's too normal for you, consider this: there’s a Jefferson Starship video, Bea Arthur shows up, and Carrie Fisher even sings a song.

      It’s an understatement to say George Lucas is embarrassed of the debacle. Somehow this mess didn’t end the entire Star Wars franchise, probably because Lucas did his best to bury the special after it initially aired. However, if you really want to watch it, you can, either via bootleg VHS tapes or online.

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      • 11

        Doctor Who – "The Power Of The Daleks"

        Photo: Doctor Who / BBC

        It's crazy to consider something simply disappearing in the era of digital filmmaking, but in the 1960s the BBC didn't back up their shows. Instead, they would just wipe the tapes that they filmed and edited a show on to reuse for another episode. That's how a classic Doctor Who installment, "The Power of the Daleks," was erased from history. In fact, it's one of 97 missing Doctor Who episodes.

        If you're really keen to see it, "The Power of the Daleks" was reconstructed in animated form in 2016.

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        • 12

          Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – “The Pilot”

          Television pilots rarely resemble the show they’ll become. Pilots – especially pilots that don’t make it to air – are more about showing a network what the show is supposed to look like than actually solidifying a tone.

          Case in point: the unseen Mighty Morphin Power Rangers pilot not only has a slightly different cast, but the character names are also a little off. The Yellow Ranger is played by Audri DuBois rather than Thuy Trang, Zordon is called “Zoltar,” and the group’s zords are called “droids.” This may be the only time a network requested more Zs.

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