Finally watched "Shades of Gray" on the set... and I gotta say, it was much less painful than I remembered. In fact the opening 15 minutes or so with the marsh planet and Riker putting on a brave face in sickbay is actually pretty good stuff (and better written than some entire episodes in the 2nd season).
Plus the idea of someone on an away mission picking up a random alien infection from the local animal life is something we don't often see on Trek, and actually feels kind of novel and unique. It's a side of space travel and exploration that I really wish we could see more of in a series someday (not every threat has to some from a bumpy-headed alien).
And I didn't really mind watching the flashbacks either, since they're now all in glorious HD and look amazing. I just thought of it as a chance to revisit some of these cleaned up episodes again. Although I do wish they had sampled from a few more episodes, at least.