Buffy The Vampire Slayer was often funny and scary, but it also had its fair share of serious, thoughtful storylines; Season 3’s Earshot was one such episode.
After close contact with a demon, Buffy discovers she has the ability to read minds. While at school, she “hears” someone thinking about killing all of Sunnydale High’s students, and she and the Scooby Gang set out to find and stop this mysterious person.
In the midst of their investigation, they find a letter written by the nerdy, reclusive Jonathon, in which he apologizes for his actions. Convinced that he is the one they are looking for, Buffy and the gang find Jonathon up in the school’s clock tower, armed with a rifle. As it turns out, he was planning to only kill himself.
That didn’t really matter, however, because Earshot was originally scheduled to air one week after the Columbine High School shootings, which happened in April of 1999. The timing couldn’t have been worse, and the episode was finally aired out of sequence on September 21, 1999.
Later, the second part of the season finale, set during Sunnydale High’s graduation, was also yanked from the schedule due to lingering uneasiness about school violence. During the finale, the mayor transforms into a demon, and devours the school principal. In this case, the network may have overreacted.