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Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 48: Shades Of Gray

Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 48: Shades Of Gray a clip show

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Trek's first clip show, and it's last.

  • Jun 1, 2011
No one likes clip shows.  Even if the clips are good, all it reminds you of why you couldn't be watching the episodes the clips came from instead of the clip show.  It's not even like it's a "best of" since not all the clips are always good.

Shades of Gray is TNGs only clip show and I don't think there really is another example of a clip show in all of Trek which shows how odious this is.  TOS had "The Menagerie" which at least utilized the episode of the unused pilot episode into the proceedings to make an episode which showed some creativity.  No such luck here.

Season 2 was infamous for some real clunker episodes, lets go over a few of them:

"The Child" which opens the season had the crew in transition at the start but focuses on a plot having Troi being impregnated by an alien beam of light which many people took as being at best a weak story line and at worst, rape.

"The Outragouse Okona" showcases a would be charmer who got himself involved with the politics of two worlds while Data learns comedy from that comedic genius himself, Joe Piscopo.

"The Dauphin" has little Wesley Crusher falling in love with a cute young woman who will bring a warring world to piece while being looked after by a cranky old woman.  Wesley in love......BARF.

"The Royale" has Riker, Worf and Data being trapped in an alien recreation of a bad pulp casino and hotel.  Could have been fun.

"Up The Long Ladder" has the Enterprise crew interacting with a family of Irish colonists who are so stereotyped it could have come from an episode of Family Guy.  A second story involved illegal cloning but it's almost an after thought.

"Samaritan Snare"  The one where the aliens kidnap Geordi and say "We are strong.....our ship is broken,  make it go!"  You know the one.

All of those episodes came from this season.  Does this season sound good?  Other then a few winners like "Where Silence Has Lease" "Q Who?" "Elementary Dear Data" "The Measure of a Man" "A Matter of Honor" and a few others, season 2 stunk and the clip show doesn't help.

I'll admit that the episode COULD have gone somewhere at the start with Riker being infected by a parasite, but the silly premise of having to stimulate memories in Riker to get the clips going is goofy.  I can sympathize with a budget problem and a potential writers strike but even we could have had something so cheap made like a "ship loses power via invisible alien force" episode and pad it out and it would have at least been decent.  It wouldn't have been clips at least.

Shades of Gray only great marker in people's minds is that it's the last time we saw Dr. Pulaski as her character was written off the show so that Dr. Crusher could return.  Hey, seeing the lovely Gates McFadden come back is the bright light at the end of this gray tunnel.
Trek's first clip show, and it's last.

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June 01, 2011
Yeah, all this series TV series have a clip show at one time or another. Nice one, John!
June 01, 2011
I've heard an online reviewer talk about this episode and what they could have done with it, like use alternate takes from episodes to spice up the clips or even have someone like Lore comeback and use the clips to mess with Data. Lore means that you don't even need the guest star. It goes without saying that it is after this point, one of the lowest in the series is where things start to REALLY go up.
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review by . January 29, 2004
One thing about the next generation series that has always annoyed me is the character of the chief medical officer of the Enterprise. Whether it is Dr. Crusher or Pulaski, the most common line seems to be, "I don't know . . . " Even twenty-first century doctors don't talk like that, and they don't have the advantages of another couple of centuries of medical knowledge and intelligent diagnostic computers. In this episode, the line is repeated by Dr. Pulaski until the point of boredom is reached. …
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John Nelson ()
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Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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"Shades of Gray" was one of the weakest episodes ofTNG's first two seasons and proved a particularly flat finale for season 2. It's hard to believe that, in only two seasons, the writers had come up so dry that they cobbled together a kind of greatest-hits show, in which much of the episode consisted of filler from earlier programs. The nominal plot involves Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), who is scratched by a thorn on an unfamiliar planet while doing a geological survey. The thorn injects him with microbes that begin to infiltrate his nervous system, and it's up to Dr. Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) to figure out how to stop the organism from killing Riker. She discovers that stimulating Riker's memory with electricity has an effect, but happy memories strengthen the invading organism--so she must find a way to provoke Riker's worst memories to negate the organism's hold.

Frakes spends much of the episode flat on his back, simulating sleep, while director Rob Bowman cuts to a collection of clips from earlier episodes. The positive memories all have to do with his prowess with women, as he cuts a swath through the known universe. The negative vibes come from clips of the death of Tasha Yar and the few episodes in which Riker was the crew member in the most jeopardy. Mostly the clips serve as a survey of the various facial-hair fashions Frakes sported in the first two seasons. --Marshall Fine

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Studio: Paramount

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