Star Trek:TNG "Shades of Gray" (The Clip Show)

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by doom1701, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. doom1701

    doom1701 Time for a new Title TCF Club

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    I would completely agree that their scheduling choices were crap. Even if they flip-flopped the final two episodes, the season would have ended on more of a bang.
     
  2. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    Interesting that you dropped the first part of that bullet point from Memory Alpha.

    Also, because of the strike, the show was running close to the wire regarding making air dates for probably all of the season.
    They may not have had enough time to switch the airing order.

    And with production of Season 3 starting only a few weeks after this show aired, they may simply have said, "Screw it".
     
  3. Fish Man

    Fish Man Phish Food

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    JYoung

    You keep missing my point.

    If the strike was a factor in having to make such a horrible episode, why did show it last.

    • All scripted TV shows in this strike year were affected by the strke.
    • Almost all had their season "finales" in November.
    • Few, if any, saved their crappiest show for last (except, ST:TNG, for mysterous reasons).

    In other words, for the last time:
    • The strike was at the beginning of the season.
    • Despite the strike, the season had many excellent episodes.
    • If the strike was a factor in making this crappy episode (and I'm not saying it wasn't) why put it LAST. Other series' faced with this sort of thing buried their "crap shows" in the middle of the season somewhere, they didn't air them last.

    Edit to add: Few TV shows, especially hour long dramas, air episodes in the order they are shot. All of the Star Trek shows are no exeption to this. So, they could have shot this last, they didn't have to air it last. With even a modicum of planning, that is. As doom pointed out, simply flipping "Shades of Gray" and "Peak Performance" in airing order would have been a hugely better decision.

    Edit again to add: I guess I've hit on the only explanation that makes sense: Very, very poor planning. In other words, if the strike forced a cheap/quick episode, they should have planned better. They could have made it not be the last one shot and/or aired. And as the director said, the fact that they "splurged" a few times in this season and made expensive (and, I must assume, lengthy to shoot) episodes was a greater factor for needing this "cheap" one than the strike alone.

    Also, the director himself never mentions the strike as a reason. The reason the director gives is being over budget for the season on earlier episodes. The "Memory Alpha" link jyoung cites gives the "strike" as a reason without any citation. So, this is only the (anonymous) Memory Alpha editor's guess. The cited quote from the director of the episode does not mention the strike.
     
  4. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    No, my point is that due to the strike, the entire season was rushed.
    Was there some poor planning?
    Probably.

    But when you're under a ton of pressure for so many months, not every decision is going to be brilliant.

    Besides, at this time, Star Trek wasn't into Season cliffhangers and enders weren't given a lot of thought.
    (In fact, most shows at the time weren't doing "grand Season Enders".)

    Look at what ended Seasons 2 and 3 of TOS.
    Assignment Earth and Turnabout Intruder.
     
  5. Fish Man

    Fish Man Phish Food

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    Assignment: Earth:

    Great episode! Consistently ranked a fan favorite, and a pilot for a potential series of the same name, which didn't sell. Also, THE highest budget episode of TOS (because they were working with money allocated for the new series pilot and combined that with a normal TOS episode budget). Made a splendid "season finale" IMHO.

    Turnabout Intruder:

    Goes back to my original point (my fear, before the era of being able to "google it", that ST:TNG had been canceled). Turnabout Intruder was a gigantic bag of suck specifically because it was common knowledge that TOS had been canceled, and no-one cared about the quality of the episode. They were all bummed that it was over and just wanted to get it over with. It was just a "contractual obligation".
     
  6. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    Source?
    I don't recall seeing it make any Top Ten lists myself and while I like it well enough, it's not Mirror, Mirror, Amok Time, Doomsday Machine, or Journey to Babel.

    What budget????
    If anything, this is a budget saver.

    Most of what isn't shot on the Enterprise is shot at Seven's office (one set which is pretty much a standard office set. Even the Beta Five computer was built from the M5 prop.) and you have one small corner of the Launch office and a piece of the Rocket Gantry.
    Throw in a couple of scenes around the Paramount back lot and there's your shooting.

    And you don't have a plethora of guest stars either. Only Lansing and Garr have any significant screen time, the other four speaking roles are essentially day players.

    Seems to me that this one was made pretty cheap.

    Not bad, but how is this more fitting for a season finale than say Bread and Circuses?

    Most of the third season was just a "contractual obligation" but Turnabout Intruder is in no way a wrap up show, but That Which Survives might have been a better choice.

    Although the production staff thought that they were going to get two more episodes that season but apparently found out while filming Turnabout Intruder that NBC had passed on those episodes.


    Ok, so what makes The Neutral Zone a better season finale than Conspiracy?
    I always thought that the ending of Conspiracy made for a better season finale (yes, they didn't follow through because they decided to make the Borg cybernetic instead of insectoid but that's not the point).
     
  7. Fish Man

    Fish Man Phish Food

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    Again, you missed my point.

    At the end of TOS they didn't bother to do a "wrap up" show because they were tired, pissed, and didn't care. Hence, we got "Turnabout Intruder".

    The entire rest of your post is quibbling about wouldn't such-and-such a season ender be a better choice than the one they used (for any given season).

    In each of the examples you cite, the budget and "quality" of the episodes you offer as alternate season-enders are certainly comparable to the one they actually did choose as the season-ender, and which one was actually the "better" episode would be a matter of individual taste.

    In this particular case, however, I think we can agree that "Shades of Gray" was by a gigantic margin the worst episode (from a pure production quality stand point) of the entire series. Hence, a truly weird choice for a season wrap-up, in a situation where they had not been canceled, and there was no reason for them to be ticked off or upset.

    Again, I agree that "cheap" episodes are sometimes necessary, and usually buried in the middle of a season somewhere (and not during "sweeps" either). For the season to end on such a horrendous note is just weird when the cast and crew had no reason to be disgruntled or ambivalent (as they did when "Turnabout Intruder" was made).
     
  8. JYoung

    JYoung Series 3

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    And you keep missing my point, it that no Star Trek producer was really thinking in terms of "season finales" and "sweeps episodes" up until the end of Season 3 or 1990.
    Certainly not in 1968 or 1969 or 1988 or 1989 for that matter.
    In fact, in 1969, it was very rare for any show to even get a wrap up episode.

    (Heck, in 1988, Skin of Evil didn't air during sweeps.)

    (And I'm sure that Bread and Circuses cost a lot more that Assignment Earth.)

    In addition to all the pressure of the strike shortened season, Maurice Hurley was exiting so I'm guessing he didn't care that much.
    Tracy Torme was also gone by this time.
    We know that Rick Berman didn't care and who knows what was going on in Gene Roddenberry's head.

    It's possible that they were just tired and didn't care that much.

    I agree that Shades of Gray is a POS episode and probably in my bottom five of TNG episodes. Every show puts out a clunker or two every season.

    But considering how much better Season 2 overall was over Season 1 with episodes like A Matter of Honor, The Measure of a Man, Contagion (co written by Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber), Q Who, The Emissary, and Peak Performance, I felt rather hopeful after Shades of Gray aired for Season 3 as opposed to disappointed.

    Fortunately, Season 3 exceeded my expectations.
     

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