Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 TV Shows That Pushed the Limits of Censorship

        Entertainment | TV Shows

9
'Star Trek'
Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura and William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" episode "Plato's Stepchildren." CBS Photo Archive/Contributor/Getty Images
Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura and William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" episode "Plato's Stepchildren." CBS Photo Archive/Contributor/Getty Images

Though the crew of the starship Enterprise had a mission "to boldly go where no man has gone before," NBC was squeamish about breaking new ground. The 1960s science fiction series about space exploration focused almost as much on Captain Kirk's love life as it did on extraterrestrial civilizations. However, in 1968, the episode "Plato's Stepchildren" went too far. The captain (William Shatner) and communications officer Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) were in a predicament: Aliens were controlling their actions. When the two were forced to kiss, the network intervened. The problem? Uhura was black, Kirk was white and an interracial kiss hadn't made it to television yet.

The cast didn't flinch, but executives were nervous. "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry recommended taping the scene twice. They'd capture the scandalous kiss, but they'd also have a version with a simple hug. Then there'd be choices! Shatner chose otherwise. When the hugging scene was shot, he made sure the director couldn't see his face, and he mugged it up. The sabotage wasn't discovered until after the actors had already left the set. The director was forced to use the shocking kiss, but the world didn't end. It turned out, the fans didn't react negatively. Silly censors.