Friday, April 24, 2020

Star Trek: The Schizoid Man

Episode: "The Schizoid Man"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2, Episode 6
Original Air Date: January 23, 1989
Image result for schizoid man star trek
via Memory Alpha
Our friends meet Dr. Ira Graves (W. Morgan Sheppard), a famous cyberneticist,  as he approaches death.  Graves and Data quickly bond, the scientist claiming to be the android's de facto grandfather as Graves taught Noonien Soong, Data's creator, everything he knew.  As his final living act, Graves manages to transfer his own consciousness to Data.  Unfortunately, Graves's massive ego is not a good pairing with Data's superhuman physical capacities.  Disaster ensues (a little Of Mice and Men-ish, actually).  Executive producer Gene Roddenberry's health was very much in decline by 1989 and one wonders if the prevalence of aging and death stories was not entirely unrelated, not to mention concerns about the survival of one's legacy.

This episode is an eye-roller for me.  Both Lore and Graves-possessed Data inspire over-acting tendencies in Brent Spiner.  Nonetheless, there is decent Data development.  His rights as a sentient being are challenged and Geordi is identified for the first time as his best friend.

The Graves role was initially intended for Patrick McGoohan, star of the 1967 British classic series The Prisoner.  "The Schizoid Man" was also the title of a Prisoner episode.

Music Notes

I can never resist a Wizard of Oz reference.  Both pre- and post-possession, Graves whistles "If I Only Had a Heart," presumably to tease Data:

Acting Notes
Image result for w. morgan sheppard
via Wikipedia
William Morgan Sheppard was born August 24, 1932 in London.  Like Patrick Stewart, he was an alumnus of the Royal Shakespeare Company, logging 12 years of service.  On Broadway, he appeared in Marat/Sade and Sherlock Holmes.  He had four Trek appearances in total, including two of the movies.
Image result for mark sheppard
via Wikipedia
Sheppard's son, Mark Sheppard, is a megastar of geeky television: a principal on Supernatural plus recurring roles on Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Leverage and Firefly.  Father and son appeared together in "The Impossible Astronaut", the first episode of Doctor Who's Series Six.

W. Morgan Sheppard died January 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  He was 86 hears old.


  1. Wizard of Oz was so fascinating for me when I was a kid!☺

    1. One of my all-time favorites. After 81 years, it still holds up beautifully.

  2. Well, now I want to watch The Prisoner again.
    I think that's due for a modern adaptation.

  3. I love the Wizard of Oz reference! :) ~ Jess

  4. W. Morgan Sheppard was one of those instantly recognizable character actors. So many good roles. I had no idea that he and his son played two different ages of the same character on Doctor Who, too. They could still bring back Canton Everett Delaware III...

    1. I am so far behind on Doctor Who! I should probably do something about that at some point.

  5. Didn't really like this episode, in my mind it was like this was a spare script from the first season.

    On another note, just when you think Data didn't have anymore family, another damn Soong drops out of nowhere. The last being Data's human "brother" on Picard.