The Big Bang Theory has never been known as a controversial television show in America, but in China the show has been censored and ordered off leading video streaming web sites such as Youku.
According to a report on the NY Daily News, “the country is cracking down on what is shown through video streaming websites and pulled four popular American series.” In addition to The Big Bang Theory, three other American TV shows including The Good Wife, NCIS and the legal drama The Practice have all been removed from the Youku.
According to the Guardian, “the move suggests government attention is intensifying on the online streaming industry, which is freer than state television and China’s cinemas to show foreign productions and other content and has stretched the boundaries of what can be seen in the country.”
Additionally, a spokeswoman for Youku said it received notification on Saturday not to show the four shows including The Big Bang Theory. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television didn’t give a reason for its order, said the spokeswoman, who couldn’t be named because of company policy.
According to the NY Daily News, this kind of move for censorship from Chinese regulators is not uncommon among sites like Youku and another service known as Sohu:
“Online streaming sites regularly receive orders to take down Chinese or foreign TV programs and movies, but usually because the regulator considers them to be too salacious or violent or because they infringe copyright laws,” the article suggests. “Sohu’s most popular U.S. shows are “Nikita” – episodes from the first and second seasons have been watched a combined total of 472 million times – and “Masters of Sex,” which weren’t included in the order.”
The Big Bang Theory meanwhile, is gearing up for their season 7 finale in May despite being pulled from Chinese streaming sites. This past Thursday the Big Bang Theory writers dusted off the “The Anything Can Happen Thursday Recurrence” a concept introduced a ways back in season two. According to IGN, the episode was not one of the strongest ones of the season up to this point:
“The show could certainly be accused of falling victim to formula and rehashing old storylines,” IGN writes. “Not that this was a particularly lousy episode, but certain elements definitely felt stale. The best that can be said is that the premise allowed the writers to explore the same nontraditional character pairings that have often been a focus of Season 7.”
The Big Bang Theory can still be seen on American TV Thursdays on CBS.