July 3, 2014

Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Shades of Gray"

Riker is infected with a toxin that's going to kill him, unless Dr Pulaski can save his life by making him dream the first two seasons of the series - condensed down into 42 utedious, montage-heavy minutes. "Shades of Gray" has a few distinctions: it's the season finale for The Next Generation's second year, it's Star Trek's first and only clips episode, and it's almost uniformly regarded as the worst episode of Star Trek ever made. Given what I've sad through this season alone, that takes some doing.

As the episode is a clips show, I figured the most appropriate form of review would be a clips review. Under the cut, I attempt to review the episode using only sentences from earlier reviews of the first 46 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is The Angriest's first-ever clips review.

Nostalgia has taken hold. [1] Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced the all-new USS Enterprise of the 24th century, its captain Jean-Luc Picard and its valiant crew: Riker, Data, Worf, Yar, Troi, Dr Crusher, La Forge and Dr Crusher's teenage child prodigy Wesley. [2]

Nobody likes this episode. [3] This is getting rather dispiriting, but I watch on in hope. [4] The story lacks tension for what should be an utterly terrifying situation. [5] I remember when I first saw this episode. [6] This is a terrible episode on an epic level. [7] There's a very silly scene at the beginning of this episode [8]; others are downright irritating. [9]  All sensible viewers either cry themselves to sleep or run a mile. [10]

The cast do a great job with a fairly difficult task. [11] Perhaps the biggest problem with the story is that [12] it is an irredeemably dire hour of television. [13] As is often the case with these early Next Generation episodes the execution is an enormous faceplant on the television screen. [14] I always find this a weird episode to watch. [15] I can't entirely avoid blaming the parents. [16]

This is the sort of episode that [17] is all a horrible bundle of cliches. [18] It's probably worth noting [19] quite often cringe-worthy [20] rubbish [21]. Two nice things I can say about this episode [22]: by the end you're quite happy to move on and forget that you had ever seen the thing [23]; there's one climactic shot in particular that's so gory that [24] its a relief to end such a shaky [25] Season 2 [26].

The static, bottle-show nature of the episode is actually one of the things that makes it a bit of a chore to watch. [27] You'd expect there to be some payoff by the end of this episode [28]. You don't need to see the episode, and you don't even need to hear how they attempted it. [29]  It's a pretty awful piece of television. [30] Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. [31] That's right. [32] I'm not entirely sure why [33], but it's [34] genuinely funny [35] to [36] undertake [37] this [38] dreadfully embarrassing [39] episode [40].

From The Next Generation's first two seasons [41] this is genuinely the [42] biggest indication yet that [43] my memory has cheated me [44]. I get the impression that the production team simply didn't have the time. [45] This has been a shaky and often dreadful season of television. [46]

22 episodes this season. Nine good ones. 41%.

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