When Commander Riker comes down with a dangerous alien infection after an away mission, the only way to treat it may be through reliving his memories.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Lieutenant Worf (archive footage)
Wesley Crusher (archive footage)


Riker returns from an away team mission wounded and infected with microbes from the planet below. He is soon in a coma in sick bay, the microbes having fused itself to his sciatic nerve and impeding his normal functions. Dr. Pulaski cannot find a cure and although she can kill the microbes, it would also likely kill Riker. With only a hour or so before the spreading disease reaches his brain, Pulaski stimulates his neural impulses leading Riker to recall previous events aboard the Enterprise. The Doctor realizes that negative emotions are what will defeat the the body's invaders. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

15 July 1989 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the producers made Star Trek: The Next Generation: Q Who (1989) earlier in the season, the episode went way over budget. Meaning the money ran out at the end of the season. So in order to cut costs, they had to do a clip show. As such, Shades of Gray is often considered the worst episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), and even the producers admitted they were embarrassed by it. See more »


In one of the clips where they are orbiting the alien world, they show the state of Michigan. See more »


Commander William T. Riker: Facing death is the ultimate test of character. I don't wanna die, but if I have to - I'd like to do it with a little pride.
Counselor Deanna Troi: And a lot of impudence.
Commander William T. Riker: You bet.
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Violations (1992) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Saves you about 20 hours of time
26 December 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

America loves clip shows. It's a fact. Why do you think "America's Funniest Home Videos" is still on the air? Given that now we have Tosh.0 and the oh-so-different Ridiculousness to boot, it's a safe bet that clips shows are what we're all about. And that's why "Shades of Gray" is a fine episode. It takes all of the crap from 2 seasons worth of TNG and distills it into an easily digestible form. All told, it saves you a good 20 hours of some pretty awkward television. If you watch "Measure of a Man," "Q Who," "Samaritan Snare," and "Shades of Gray," then you'll know as much about the first 2 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation as any other casual fan, and you'll be happier for not seeing the Anti-Drug PSA episode of "Symbiosis," as well.

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