Al-Shamshoon (partially lost unaired Arabic dubbed episodes of "The Simpsons" animated series; 2005)
Al-Shamshoon (Arabic: الشمشون) was an adaptation of the long-running American TV series The Simpsons for a Middle-Eastern audiences. Al-Shamshoon was produced by the Saudi owned media company Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) with the first episode airing in 2005. In order to better suit a Middle-Eastern audience and to meet the guidelines of various Middle-Eastern governments, many changes were made to the series. These changes would actually end up being so drastic that it caused the series to have a short run due to low viewership. While 52 episodes of Al-Shamshoon were made, only 34 aired leaving 18 unaired episodes currently lost.
The Simpsons airs in numerous countries with numerous cultural changes in order to fit the standards of the country in which it is airing in. Prior to the production of Al-Shamshoon, The Simpsons aired on networks in the Middle-East such as Showtime Arabia and Dubai's One TV in English with Arabic subtitles. The Simpsons was very popular among viewers in the Middle-East and in order to capitalize on its growing popularity, Saudi owned media company Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) produced its dub and take on The Simpsons.
Al-Shamshoon aired on the first night of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan on October 4, 2005. A lot of very noticeable changes were made to the show in order to better fit the Middle Eastern region. Among these changes The Simpsons include name changes, the character Homer not drinking beer, all references to Moe's Tavern were edited out, the removal of references to Judaism, the elimination of certain characters, Springfield changed to Rabeea, the church became a mosque, and references to bacon were edited out. In order to be effective "Arabized," the showrunners only worked with certain episodes. They opted to start with season 4, skipping the early seasons, and adapted popular episodes like "Sideshow Bob vs Bart." Several early episodes, notably "Homer the Heretic" (which details Homer's dismissal of church and foundation of his own religion after an epiphany) were not adapted.
Many viewers found the changes made to Al-Shamshoon to be just too different and not funny. On top of that, many people in the Middle East see cartoons, as aimed towards kids, who did not see a reason to watch Al-Shamshoon. Due to massive criticism from viewers and even from executive producer John Swartzwelder, Al-Shamshoon was pulled from the air after thirty-four episodes.
Due to the series not being well-received, Al-Shamshoon has never been released onto home media.  As of the writing of this article, the remaining eighteen unaired episodes have yet to surface.
- Simpsons Wiki article on Al-Shamshoon. Retrieved 12 Mar '17.
- Early ABC News article about the series. Retrieved 12 Mar '17.
- MentalFloss article about the series. Retrieved 12 Mar '17.
- CBC article about the troubles during production. Retrieved 12 Mar '17.
- ABC article on Al-Shamshoon where John Swartzwelder voices his criticism over the changes
- Wall Street Journal article about its failure. Retrieved 12 Mar '17.