Weekend Trek “Shades Of Grey”

Clip shows are, at best, problematic creations.  Done to save money by reusing previous footage, they’re probably as good as whatever framing device the episode uses to tell the rest of the story.

There’s only been one in the entire history of the Star Trek franchise, and it came as the season two finale for Star Trek the Next Generation.  Will Jimmy and Tom have much to say about it?

“Shades of Grey”

An alien infection forces Riker to relive past events. 

jimmy:  You know, it was somewhat interesting outside of all the clips. At least they tried to make them integral to the plot.

tomk:  True. And this episode is mostly the result of the show running out of money.

jimmy:  And what a horrible way to end the season.

tomk:  Wanna go back to season one?

jimmy:  Well no. But disappointing none the less. At least it was Pulaski heavy to give her a decent send off…though they probably didn’t know that at the time.

tomk:  They might have. Diana Muldaur wasn’t happy with the show.

jimmy:  And she spent the last episode basically saying “I need to adjust the technobabble further…”

tomk:  Still a better send-off than what she got on her next show.

jimmy:  Lol…the most cliched way to die on TV ever.

tomk:  I remember when Seinfeld did it to Newman.

jimmy:  Seriously though, if an elevator opened to an empty space and wires, you wouldn’t notice before walking in?  Maybe in today’s age of people glued to their phones, but then?

tomk:  Maybe she was just as good a lawyer as she was a doctor.

jimmy:  Lol.  Not a show I ever watched.

tomk:  I never watched it either, but that scene was rather famous at the time the show ran.

jimmy:  It seemed vaguely familiar.  I don’t think I knew it was Pulaski though.  Harsh.

Anything to elaborate with on her not enjoying her time on TNG?

tomk:  Patrick Stewart tells this story about his most embarrassing moment working on the show. During season one, he called a cast meeting and berated everyone for goofing around. Denise Crosby told him to lighten up, and he responded that acting was work not fun.  He regretted that statement later and even learned to embrace the goofing off in his own way.

Apparently, Muldaur never quite fit in that way. She was always on the outside, never felt welcome, and that was that.

jimmy:  Lol, great story by Dorn.

After watching the finale I watched a cast reunion they had for the 25th anniversary/Blu-Ray remaster and the crew having fun came up quite a bit.  Especially with Dorn and Stewart needling each other.

tomk:  Right. You don’t see that with the original cast because Shatner was kind of a self-centered asshole. I can’t speak for the other Trek casts, but these people genuinely liked each other.

Muldaur just didn’t fit in with them.

So, she left, Maurice Hurley left, and with him gone and Stewart requesting as much during contract renegotiations, Gates McFadden came back and everyone was happy.

jimmy:  BTW, Muldaur and Crosby were not at the 25th reunion thing.  Though not really surprising.

tomk:  Crosby seems to be only an occasional guest at those things.

jimmy:  The cast did a zoom thing last year and she was excluded from that too. It doesn’t pay to get killed by a tar monster.

tomk:  Family Guy included her…briefly.

jimmy:  That’s pretty much how the 25th anniversary special I watched went. They must have phasered Crosby off screen before it started.

tomk:  Oh, that Stewie…

In all seriousness, clip shows are made to save money because they can reuse old footage. Season two ran out of money after introducing the Borg and “Elementary, Dear Data”.

jimmy:  They must have really ran out of money to stop at 22 episodes and the last being the clip show.

tomk:  Writers strike didn’t help.

jimmy:  Maybe it wasn’t money they ran out of, but scripts.

tomk:  It was, as I understand it, a  bit of both.

I mean, they didn’t even have any guest stars in this episode aside from O’Brien and (if she counts as one) Pulaski.

jimmy:  They cost money too.

tomk:  Exactly!

Now you get it.

Also, they had to make this episode in three days.  Normally, they’d have seven.

jimmy:  How come they “had to”?  Let me guess: money.

tomk:  That or time.  They might have had a limited amount of time to make the episode period.

jimmy:  Was the show in danger of being canceled?  You’d think they would have dug up some money somewhere.

tomk:  I don’t think so and only learned they had to finish the season finale in three days. My guess is Maurice Hurley couldn’t keep the schedule right.

But here’s a good question: is there anything to talk about with this episode aside from it being Pulaski’s last?

jimmy:  Hmm. I suppose one could try to analyze the clips that were picked to represent each of Riker’s emotional states. But one probably doesn’t really care.

tomk:  This is the sort of episode that could have made better use of Troi given her abilities and past with Riker.

jimmy:  She had a lot of “he feels sad” and “he’s pretty horny” lines to keep the doctor informed.

tomk:  How useful.

jimmy:  It told her how much fine tuning to do of his healagens.

tomk:  I suppose.

Say, if this is a clip show, should we just reuse comments from previous chats?

jimmy:  Lol, now you think of that?!?!

tomk:  Well…

I found Clock King a more credible opponent than Lucas the special effects guy in “Prophecy of Doom”.

jimmy:  Stupid Clock King.

tomk:  Someone joined the race in a blimp?

jimmy:  It’s a bit of an odd clip show.  Usually these types of things are “best of” moments for the whole show, but this one specific to Riker and his feelings.

tomk:  And it’s hard to have best of moments when the show hasn’t hit its stride yet.

But we can say this much: Stannis isn’t a coward. He led his own army from the front and without a helmet. Contrast that with Joffrey running away the first chance he got…

jimmy:  At least it had a great Queen soundtrack.

tomk:  So…Data is a robotic Richard Simmons?

jimmy:  It is the worst Mr Burns could do.

tomk:  Well, there are better ways to run a starship.

GORDON: A bunch of athletes are suddenly scared out of their minds. Any suspects?
BULLOCK: Penguin for sure!
MONTOYA: I agree!
GORDON: Go stake him out!

jimmy:  Ok, ok. So not much to talk about here.  Any thoughts on season 2 as a whole?

tomk:  An improvement in spots.  Some dreadful episodes, but I don’t think we did any worse than the Lucky Charms Colony, and that puts it ahead of season one.

Not quite where it needs to be.  Pulaski as a character showed some improvement over time, but her initial impression soured me to her overall.  The Borg are here, and stuff like “Measure of a Man’ showed what TNG could be.  You?

jimmy:  Agreed. A lot of shoddy writing, but the season did give us The Borg, Guinan, Ten Forward and Riker’s beard.

Though “Measure of A Man” is an all time great amidst the script issues.

tomk:  It is.  And Michael Dorn’s Worf is something of a series MVP right now.  Sure, Data and Picard are cool, and Riker is the man of action, but when Worf gets some attention, Dorn really makes the most of it.  Do you have an MVP so far and why isn’t it Wesley?

jimmy:  Haha, no, not really. I can get behind Worf. Data makes great strides this season too. The clip of Riker and Data from “Farpoint” makes you realize how far his makeup has come as well.

tomk:  And Patrick Stewart is always a delight.  Did you have a favorite guest star and why isn’t it Lwaxana Troi?

jimmy:  Not much to choose from here if we can’t count O’Brien or Guinan.

tomk:  I’m sorry. The correct answer is Q. But we have some lovely parting gifts like a case of Turtle Wax and some Rice-Or-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.

jimmy:  Nice Weird Al reference.

tomk:  Nice of you to catch the reference.

jimmy:  Did I also make myself look like a jerk in front of millions of people?

tomk:  We don’t have that many readers.

jimmy:  Do we have any?

tomk:  Theoretically.

jimmy:  Should we theoretically move on to season 3?

tomk:  No.  We should do that for real.

jimmy:  I like the way you think!

tomk:  And we’re getting Beverly Crusher back!

jimmy:  Wes will be happy!

tomk:  We’ll see about that, won’t we?

jimmy:  Indeed we will.

tomk:  In that case…

Engage!

NEXT:  “Evolution”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: