8. "Shades of Gray" - Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 2, episode 22)
Star Trek: The Next Generation is a beloved series known for its engaging stories and deep exploration of ethical and philosophical issues. But the season 2 finale, "Shades of Gray," boldly goes where no episode will ever go again – into the realm of the much-dreaded clip show.
Commander Riker is struck down by a mysterious alien infection, lying helplessly in sickbay. What's the cure? A walk down memory lane, apparently. The episode turns into a highlight reel of Riker's past experiences, reusing footage from previous episodes. Imagine tuning in for a fresh adventure and getting a "previously on Star Trek" segment that lasts the whole episode. Nice budget-saving strategy.
This trip down memory lane isn't just any stroll through the park. It's more like being stuck on a slow-moving conveyor belt at the least exciting parts of an amusement park. The episode recycles emotional and action-packed moments, trying to bring a sense of nostalgia and urgency. But instead of combining these flashbacks into a new and compelling twist in the story, "Shades of Gray" feels more like a quilt made by someone who only learned to sew yesterday – it's functional, but you wouldn't want to show it off.
The episode is unsurprisingly often critiqued for its lack of originality and creativity, standing out as a sore thumb in a series celebrated for its innovative storytelling. It's a testament to the power of storytelling in Star Trek – when it's good, it's out of this world; when it's bad, it's like being stuck in a malfunctioning holodeck that only plays reruns.