Star Trek: Voyager


3 stars.

Air date: 5/5/1999
Teleplay by Joe Menosky
Story by Joe Menosky & Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston

"To family..." — Captain Janeway's toast

Review Text

Nutshell: Not riveting execution, but some good feelings and intentions.

"11:59" is a sincerely written reflection upon histories and feelings. It's without a doubt the quietest episode of the season, with no aliens, no action, no gimmicks, and no cheats. The most common complaint I've heard about this episode is that it's "filler." I don't quite understand such an assessment. Just how do you define filler? A story that doesn't advance us to ... what? A story that doesn't have ... what? Explosions? Aliens? An expensive-looking budget? A plot that gets us 10 years closer to the Alpha Quadrant?

"11:59" is different in that it doesn't follow the conventional Voyager pattern. There are no threats to the crew, no sci-fi anomalies. Just some ideas about the past, as Janeway thinks back to memories of her childhood, where she held an ancestor in high regard as her hero and inspiration.

She tells the tale of Shannon O'Donnel, a quiet, lonesome, and uncertain adventurer who sought a role in life that would offer an avenue toward the future.

The story is told in a sort of 400-year flashback, as we follow O'Donnel (played by Mulgrew) through the events of the days prior to New Year's 2001. O'Donnel, in her failing decades-old car, happens upon the small town of Portage Creek, Indiana. There she meets widower Henry Janeway (Kevin Tighe) and his son, Jason (Bradley Pierce). The town is caught up in a controversy involving something called the "Millenium Gate," an ultra-expensive, highly experimental futuristic community that a large corporation hopes to build in the area. The town wants the gate. But standing in the way is Henry Janeway, a man who values books and history and doesn't want to see the town leveled for some newfangled idea of the "future." He's adamantly refusing to sell his bookstore, and if he doesn't do so by midnight on New Year's Eve, the corporation will take their grandiose building plans elsewhere.

O'Donnel's car breaks down, and in order to pay the repair bill, she needs work. Janeway agrees to offer her board for a few days in exchange for work in the bookstore. The rest of the tale shows how O'Donnel's and Janeway's views of the world collide, albeit not in remotely unpleasant ways. Janeway lives in the past, O'Donnel looks toward the future, and a dialog opens between them that offers the viewer two reasonable viewpoints.

It might not be the most original story ever told, but it does make for an hour of friendly themes that are relevant to Kathryn Janeway as a character. One of the interesting aspects of the show is the way the captain holds this ancestor in hero status based on the obstacles she supposedly faced. But through the course of the hour Janeway comes to realize that her learned version of history might not have been the actual truth. Paris is also familiar with history, and he doesn't remember any O'Donnels being on any of the Mars missions, the history of which he has memorized. This leads Janeway to do some deeper research, until she realizes that O'Donnel was a relatively minor player in the Millenium Gate construction, and not quite the audacious adventurer Janeway long believed she was. (It's a revisit to the theme of historical accuracy that was the focus of last season's "Living Witness.")

The flashback story seems to capture some bits of atmosphere of a small Midwest town fairly well, and I appreciated the simple problems of the story and David Bell's appropriate musical accompaniment. We learn O'Donnel has had some tough career luck of late, and one of the corporate officials, Gerald Moss (John Carroll Lynch), offers her an opportunity to work on the groundbreaking engineering project—if she can convince Janeway to let go of the past. (But I must say that given the job market today, I find the idea of a brilliant, apparently respected engineer unable to find work to be slightly dubious.)

"11:59" invests a lot of time in the flashback characters. And perhaps the biggest problem with the episode is that it relies too heavily on the acting chemistry between Mulgrew and Tighe—a chemistry that comes off with mixed results.

There are some good scenes between these two, particularly where they argue their differences concerning the role of people and technology. Henry's son is an example of a youth who is more interested in the future than the past, which makes it pretty hard for Henry to remain so adamant. But despite the decent execution of several quiet dialog scenes, I don't think one key scene that really needed to work well ended up having the emotional payoff if seemed to want.

I'm referring to Henry Janeway's inevitable eleventh-hour change of heart, and especially O'Donnel's realization—through the taste of chocolate-chip cookies, no less—that she has developed such strong feelings for Henry and this town that she has to stay. The sequence is somewhat lackluster sentiment, and I wish it had been more believable. O'Donnel's realization doesn't seem heartfelt; it seems scripted. An earlier scene should've better established her feelings.

Fortunately, I think the impact of this tale on Kathryn Janeway—especially learning that history is not always what it seems—works far better. It's always something of a wake-up call to learn that your childhood hero was just a person with their own agendas and needs, and Janeway finds herself somewhat depressed by that all-too-simple realization.

The episode also knows that "family" is where its heart is at. Sentiment in the flashback sequences may have fallen somewhat flat, but I can't help but admit an affection for the group photo at the end—an image that speaks louder about the Voyager family unit than dialog probably could've.

"11:59" is a pleasant episode. It might not break much new ground and might lack emotional punch in a few important places, but it accomplishes its goal of telling a quiet tale about some people—with no strings attached. I'm inclined to think those who call it "filler" are mislabeling it. Perhaps it's simply an hour of peace, and a plot without the gimmicks we've come to expect.

Next week: Seven takes a trip through the fourth dimension.

Previous episode: Someone to Watch Over Me
Next episode: Relativity

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Comment Section

106 comments on this post

    Another of my top 5 - Wow, I think Season 5 had the most 'winners' in my opinion.

    One of the best Treks, ever. Should be included on one of those 'Collective' DVD series.

    Didn't Janeway say in "Future's End" that she had no idea what any of her relatives were up to in "this" time period?

    Neelix had contradictory facts in 2 sentences! 'Great Wall only thing visible from space til 22nd century'. 'Millenium gate?oh, that was built in 21st century - also visible from space!'

    Just to clarify, regarding the Great Wall of China, Neelix said "...before the 22nd century, it was ONE OF the only man-made objects that could be seen from Earth's orbit with the naked eye." [emphasis added]

    Tina: With the emphasis it makes even less sense! "[B]efore the 22nd century, it was ONE OF the only man-made objects [...]" "One of the only" what? One of only THREE MILLION manmade objects visible from space? Paul's right: Neelix's statement is a contradiction, but, then, he's a dufus anyway.

    Anyway, about the show. Two thirds of it is set in the 20th century, saving the crew (the studio crew, that is) having to come up with special effects and decor. Hey, why bother painstakingly creating a 24th-century environment, when you can just go out of the studio on to the street outside to shoot the episode!

    Janeway became a captain because of some broad from four centuries previously?! Yeah right. I'll become a blacksmith, how about that!

    A really boring and pointless episode, with no "sci" and way too much "fi" of the wrong sort. Wrong century, wrong focus, wrong plot. Unlike the previous abortion of an episode (Someone to Watch...), this one wasn't even funny. 0.5 stars and even that's being generous.

    Fairly good, in a quiet sort of way, until the corny ending in the mess hall and the terrible aging makeup on Janeway...

    Can't stand it myself. It's made well, but I really can't bring myself to watch it if I rerun the show on DVD, as it just has nothing to do with Star Trek. It really is a filler. Yes, at the end of the episode we've progressed nowhere and maybe that doesn't matter, but we haven't even got any extra depth in a character. Yes we have some background to an ancestor, but it tells you nothing new about Janeway except something she has an interest in.

    These kinds of episodes strike me as an excuse for a writer who desires to write something other than sci-fi, but can only get it out there by turning it into a story for a popular sci-fi series.

    At least have some humour and/or a strong story to make them interesting. DS9's Far Beyond the Stars, is a good example of a filler done well. This is slow, boring, and of no relevance to Voyager.

    "Filler" is a term best used when dealing with TV shows or movies based on books, or anime based on manga. It refers to material written for the new medium to fill in time, I.e. when keeping only to the original material would make the show too short. It gets a bad reputation because it's usually written by the TV/movie/animation team and not the author so it frequently lacks the original material's quality, attention to detail and sincerity.

    It doesn't apply to this in the slightest.

    I don't see why episodes should need to have the flashing lights and a space battles every time without fail (I guess Voyager did attract people who like to be spoon fed the same recipe week after week as unfortunately that's the way it went from about S3/4).

    The thing about it is that yes it's about a spaceship tens of thousands of light years away trying to get home but it also has characters. I do think they deserve to be treated as characters once in a while and not just props like they have been in seasons 4 and 5 in particular. As such I loved this little insight into Janeway's view of her ancestry and it warmed me somewhat (not before time) to her again.

    After a season of mostly using her as "hard headed Captain" it was nice to see the human side again and I enjoyed this quiet and sincere little tale. I'm not saying it should be (have been, rather) like this all the time, it is after all about space and exploration. But it's like (let's use a Voyager Style Random Analogy!) music can't be all peak/chorus, it needs the quieter, slower interludes as well to make it complete.

    Man this episode feels so forced in every way. These two people have nothing in common and the are so different, and ages apart. I am shown no reason as a viewer why they should get married. First of all the concept of the whole town being sold to built a "M GATE" is absurd. And that one little bookeeper is going to stop the construction process. Oh yea, I mean they stopped building I 95 when they got to Baltimore because the Nattie Boe Beer Co had a warehouse in the way! Come on! If a project as large as this were this close, Mr. Janeway wouldnt stand in the way. I mean he phone hasn't rang in 3 days anyway we learn. BTW, this goofy thing looks like Farpoint Station, and why the hell would anyone support building this thing, and support buliding it where a town already existed? None of these questions are answered, and none of it makes any sense at all. Its just the usual Voyager boring story that takes up an hour, that is bland and appeals to the masses. Poor storytelling, and unrealistic dialogue.
    This episode made me enjoy that idiot Neelix's nonsensical ramblings.
    All in all none of this matters, none of it feels real, and I have no reason to care about anyone in this story.

    If they broke ground on the Millenium Gate in Portage Creek, Indiana on 12/31/2001, wouldn't it be done by now? I've been through Indiana lots of times since 2001, and I've never seen anything like this. There is a Portage, Indiana on Lake Michigan right across from Chicago, but there is literally nothing of consequence there. Maybe Janeway found some other way of shutting down the project after all.

    Hey, why build this on top of a town anyway? Has anyone driven through Indiana? They have lots of empty spaces where you could build a crazy shopping mall/biodome/plot contrivance.

    Jammer:(But I must say that given the job market today, I find the idea of a brilliant, apparently respected engineer unable to find work to be slightly dubious.)

    Maybe the episode was set 10 years too early because, right now, I definitly believe, and have experienced, respected and brilliant people out of work and unable to find a job.

    I remember really not liking this episode when I first saw it (going back about 11 years, I think); it just seemed so random and pointless. Second time around and I enjoyed it a lot more - it's still random and still a bit pointless, but it's also a nice change of pace (although it would have been nice if it had been spaced a bit apart from 'Someone to watch over me' - two very quiet episodes next to each other). Kate Mulgrew gets to show more humanity in her portrayal here than in the entire season and I enjoyed the relaxed, easy-going nature of the episode. The best word to describe this ep is 'pleasant'.

    SO from "I have no idea what my ancestors were doing in this time frame" in Future's End" to "I wouldn't have become joined Starfleet if it wasn't for Shannen O'Donnell".

    Another warning against tossing around throwaway lines that can easily be done without.

    "Oh yea, I mean they stopped building I 95 when they got to Baltimore because the Nattie Boe Beer Co had a warehouse in the way! Come on!"

    They have eminent domain for highways. Though in certain cases they may be able to do it for economic development (thank you Kelo v. New London) it's extremely rare. One relatively modern example of a holdout affecting plans is the Citigroup Center in NYC:

    (Actually I-95 was held up for a while due to local opposition, with the final alignment being somewhat different from the original plans; I-70 was never finished, and ends at a park and ride on the city limits. The recently-published book "The Big Roads" about the origins of the Interstates goes into detail about Baltimore's plans.)

    Though in this case it was a little silly that they needed to buy up an entire small town. Why not just buy the same amount of land from one outlying farmer?

    Well, call me boring, but when i tune in to Star Trek: Voyager i expect a) a science fiction show b) about Voyager and it's crew. This was neither. Now, I don't mind being surprised by something great, but this was just bland. I guess it's a matter of taste, I also hate mirror universe episodes and Voyager's incessant use of the reset button. This episode just hit reset before it even started.

    I also find it something of a stretch that Janeway's great great whatever grandmother was also her identical twin.

    I'm more in agreement with tobe on this bored me to tears...I don't really care about Janeway's ancestry 400 years ago...I care about Janeway's present mission to get Voyager home, this episode had absolutely nothing to do with that.

    The O'Donnell scenes fall flat flat flat for me- total snorefest (although is it me or is Henry a dead ringer for Gene Roddenberry?)

    The scenes on Voyager, however, are totally charming and funny, some of the best crew interaction scenes in the series. They don't completely redeem the episode, but I'm very glad to have seen them.

    Enjoyable enough, if not especially memorable. There have certainly been a lot of episodes that were worse.

    Of course, as a resident of Canton, Ohio (also Brannon Braga's hometown), I got a kick out of the repeated references.

    Interesting how Michael and the other Tom Paris History Buff haters don't show up for this one. I guess as long as it's made up history it's OK, right?

    Perhaps the one major flaw of ST is that always portrays the future of humanity and technological "progress" as so benign. In fact, the technologically influenced future is more dystopian than utopian, given global warming, nuclear waste, and countless industrial hazards -- all created by industrial and technological development. There could have been star ships and a future without with war or poverty IF humanity's values were no so similar to that of Malon wasteships. However, as long as fossil fuel "petro-tyrranies" reign supreme -- and there is no sign that their power is abating -- then the utopian future will be hellish, not the ideal that ST portrays. The colonists we often see on the M class planets who garden and live simply and in peace is perhaps a better ideal to aspire to right now, given that climate change, peak oil and the mass extinction of species and eco-system disasters caused by extraction industries and toxic pollution -- all in the name of "progress" -- are leading to the end of life on this planet. Colonization of Mars is a distant dream. We need to stop wrecking this planet first. Then we can start to build starships and explore space and meet new species. If they met us in our present condition they would regard us as the Vulcans did upon first contact, or as the aliens did in The Day the Earth Stood Still: unworthy of possessing machines and space technology, given our complete disregard for other species, both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial. We need to work on our values first and foremost. This episode fails in my opinion because it does not reflect that and portrays the bookstore owner as backward and regressive. Recall "Remembrance" in which non-technological people suffer a genocide; that is the more frightening future we might face as the gap between technological haves and have-nots continues to widen.


    Might point out that the opposite is true regarding space exploration/settlement. If the earth gets too bad, it would force people into space to find a new place to live. In Asimov's Robots and Empire, the robots purposely cause earth to slowly be uninhabitable in order to force humans into space. People are not going to permanently settle space unless there are economic or social reasons to do so. That's just the way it is. To be honest, I wouldn't mind if global warming forces us into space.

    This was a great episode. It was great seeing a show that wasn't all about the alien of the week, the attack on Voyager of the week, or "they're going to somehow destroy voyager again" story of the week.

    This was about people, their interactions and their finding themselves. And it was good getting away from the ship for a change, into a normal. real world.

    I admit that their wasn't real chemistry between O'Donnell & Janeway; they needed to have something more substantial before the "cookie affect". But episodes are not perfect and, despite that failing, this episode was most enjoyable.

    I wouldn't call this episode "filler" (if you did, about 95% of Voyager episodes would have that label), and I enjoyed the scenes set in the present.

    As for the O'Donnell story, it didn't work for me at all. One of the reasons is that I completely agreed with Henry Janeway's wish to protect what he cherished most even when it is an inconvenience for a large corporation.

    I rather enjoyed this episode. It definitely would have been better if the role of Henry Janeway had been better cast. Nothing against Kevin Tighe's acting abilities, but he simply had zero chemistry with Kate Mulgrew in this episode. While the apparent age difference was likely a factor, I don't think it was the ONLY factor. This lack of chemistry was certainly one of the reasons why Henry's drastic change of heart in the end came off as sudden and unrealistic. Shannon's confession of romantic feelings for Henry just simply didn't carry enough emotional weight or resonance with the audience to justify such a dramatic reversal.

    Overall, I was engaged by the story that was being told, I was interested to see where it was going, and I was reasonably satisfied by its conclusion. It wasn't a great episode by any measure, but it really doesn't deserve the vitriol it receives in many circles.

    It was funny seeing such a (near enough) present day story sandwiched into an episode of Voyager. If you took the present day stuff on its own and teaked it just slightly, it could be one of those obscure really corny 1990s' made-for-TV christmas movies!

    That may sound like a discredit to '11:59' but I did enjoy it, I think there was intentional fluffiness added because this is the way we often nostalgically reflect and eagerly recount family stories. It managed to be heart warming even while I shook my head at some of the unlikely details of the tale...which is again true with many of the tall tales our parents and aunties love to tell!

    I liked the change of pace and it felt well-earned when the crew had their family moment. Given the plot summaries for the last 3 episodes, it looks like the calm before the storm has passed!

    I'd give this sentimental, enjoyable and feel-good episode 3 stars. Too bad Enterprises' take on this sort of story (Carbon Creek) was rubbish!

    1st. To the enviro-wacko crowd, global warming stopped about 25 years ago, pay attention, if anything we are back to colling. Peak oil is a myth and actually technology has and continues to IMPROVE both humanity AND the environment. The fact is the more adavanced a society becomes the CLEANER it becomes because of technical and human progress.
    2nd. Since the so-called milleanium gate is, of course, fiction it was silly to put the story in the present day (more or less). It would have been better and obeyed the previous continuity to simply make it a project in the near future.

    first, i thought it was hilarious when jammer mentioned the job market in 2001 in his 1999 review. between the internet bubble popping and 9/11 he had no idea what was coming just 2 years later.
    secondly, my favorite part of the episode was harry kim's story about his ancestors. i liked that whole seen in the lounge.

    although, i like the more action mystery episodes, i would say this was good. but maybe only 2 or 2.5.

    in truth, i cant wait for next episode. "relativity."wheni think of Voyager i always think of the next episode in season 5.

    For those complaining about how this would be more realistic if it were set in the near future... In 1999, when this aired, 2001 WAS the near future.

    That said, I found the episode rather dull. The characters of O'Donnell and Henry did not engage me and the episode did not hold my attention.

    "(But I must say that given the job market today, I find the idea of a brilliant, apparently respected engineer unable to find work to be slightly dubious.)"

    Just wait 8 years, Jammer.

    To drop back to a comment above, by Adam, unfortunately I'd have to agree.

    I'm quite sure we won't really begin to explore space for new worlds etc until forced to by environmental or economic pressures.

    Pleasant enough ep., but like others I didn't especially buy the chemistry between Janeway and O'Donnell, although I'm generally in favour of these more quiet, background episodes.

    The building they were building looked like something they'd put up in Dubai. Already they have begun construction of the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, which will be over 1000 meters high. So, the Star Trek version of the future wasn't that much off, just 10 years or so ;)

    The plot set-up was a little hokey - nice touch with the gender roles reversal, very progressive. However, I'm sure Janeway got a good settlement from the corporation for his dusty used book shop and perhaps eventually opened a slightly more upscale place in the new shiny millennium gate; people gotta read right?

    For those who read Ian's comment and agree with him, (or disagree with him) I recommend the website: "skeptical science". It is a very informative site; all of their articles(as far as I know) provide references to peer-reviewed research papers.

    (I know its an old comment, but maybe someone will read it and learn something)

    I hate to digress, but I'm hoping Eric learns something as well. As an author of 20-odd peer reviewed articles myself, I can assure you that peer review is not synonymous with fact, or even anything more than the most rudimentary quality control.

    More importantly, I have a strong distaste for anyone manipulating science for their own agenda, regardless of what agenda that is. The "Skeptical" Science website is anything but. Science is about questioning one's hypotheses and accepting the facts wherever they might lead. It is not about massaging said facts to fit one's political agenda (an all too often circumstance in academia, I'm afraid). John Cook, and many so-called scientists who merely spout the party line about settled science or consensus or whatever without truly engaging real arguments are an affront to my screen name (named after Robert Boyle's famous book that practically created modern chemistry). Instead of seeking to understand and to learn, the site cherry picks and ignores data, conflates multiple issues, and spends time on multiple straw men as proof of other claims.

    That's not to say that Ian is correct about everything (although yeah, peak oil is hypothetical math rather than reality). Frank Herbert was wrong; it is not religion and politics being put in the same cart that causes the whirlwind, but rather science and politics. Combining those two is a travesty for both science and politics.

    Not bad, not good. A meh character development episode. Full of holes, short on the deepness it wanted to achieve.

    The plot of the evil developer and the one holdout who won't sell was a worn-out cliche even when this episode first ran. It's just not a Star Trek episode, it's just a thin veneer over an entirely unrelated story to make it look like Star Trek.

    Showing that the problems of today can be solved is not a flaw, it is a strength. If problems cannot be solved then complaining about problems becomes nothing more than bleating. The only people who solve problems are those who believe they can be solved. If a century ago, someone wrote a story about smallpox being eradicated and polio nearly so, many would have laughed.

    At the same time, that problems can be solved doesn't mean the doesn't justify the pseudo-skepticism of thinking they the problems don't exist.

    A disappointing episode. Not really in the Trek spirit. Well acted, but that is all I can say about it.

    I do enjoy this episode, but I have to wonder if Voyager's library computer would truly contain the vast amounts of biographical and historical data the crew uses in this episode to research the past. It seems like any starship (not just Voyager) can call up information on anyone or anything no matter what world or time period. I just find it a little hard to believe.

    Well, on the one hand, I appreciate Voyager trying something new occasionally. On the other hand, this was really slowmoving and rather pointless. It's a good thing they cut back to the Voyager crew every now and again, or I would have been bored to tears.
    The Voyager scenes work really well, but the Millenium Gate story was beyond boring. I just couldn't bring myself to care about anyone involved.

    And like Jeff Bedard says, why would Voyager have so much history in their database? Same issue I complained about back in 'Once Upon a Time'. There is no reason for Voyager to have this in their database, just like there was no reason for them to have children's stories stored in the holodeck.

    Mostly a pointless episode. The only thing worth remembering this for is the nice 'Voyager crew as a family' scenes. The Millenium Gate story itself amounts to nothing and is best left forgotten, if you ask me.


    "Can't stand it myself. It's made well, but I really can't bring myself to watch it if I rerun the show on DVD, as it just has nothing to do with Star Trek."

    I agree 101 percent. I also appreciate the comment from the person who noted that in "Future's End" Janeway said she had no idea what her ancestors were doing at the end of the twentieth century. Maybe if they remaster "Voyager" they can redo that scene.

    SkepticalMI, I spent a bit of time wandering around that Skeptical Science website and am not sure what your objections are. I am not enough of an expert to recognize conflated issues, but it looks like they have a good goal.

    Now, I am NOT AT ALL disagreeing that science should be separate from politics, but in the case of climate change, it is the politicians who grabbed it and are hanging on for dear life and spending tons of money to prove that warming is not occurring.

    In a world where you can't wear white while visiting Hong Kong, and climate scientists are suffering from PTSD because of the abuse they receive, and a politician says,
    “Not to diminish anything about the climate at all, but Mr. President, I believe most of us would think that a beheading is a far greater threat than a sunburn," do we not need some scientists fighting back?

    Bottom line for me, even if global warming is completely a myth, the things the left wants to do are things like limit factories that spew choking smoke in the air, and I am on board with that. I have spent enough time driving past places that made my eyes tear up that I would like to see some limits on that kind of stuff. So if we make good changes for the wrong reason--is that bad?

    As the show says, "What does that have to do with anything"? I am sympathetic with those who feel that this has nothing to do with Trek, and I really wonder what exactly the point was. The year 2000 scenes just left me cold, as there was nothing there I could get invested in. The whole thing seemed forced, cliched and derivative.

    Indeed probably the only redeeming factor in this is the final scene, which has some genuine heart, and some of the earlier Voyager scenes. 1.5 stars.

    Nice to see this episode receive some positive reviews.

    I enjoyed it. Fun? No.... but interesting.

    I think the best part of this episode is that it reveals a problem that most everyone has which makes out heroes more human. We all at one time or another hold someone (or an event) up and it or they motivate us. Many times in the future the truth comes out and we are disappointed.

    "Her life captured your imagination. Historical details are irrelevant.
    TUVOK: I concur with that analysis.
    CHAKOTAY: If it weren't for Shannon O'Donnel, you never would have joined Starfleet."

    It doesn't matter what motivates you as long as you are motivated.

    Solid hour of no explosions/aliens/shields at 47%. I enjoyed meeting Shannon.

    3.5 stars (and we get that great picture of the entire cast)

    @ SkepticalMI,

    "Frank Herbert was wrong; it is not religion and politics being put in the same cart that causes the whirlwind, but rather science and politics. Combining those two is a travesty for both science and politics."

    What we face now in politics and science might be annoying, but Herbert was talking about a whirlwind that would cause the death of billions and enslave all of humanity for generations. If you think mixing science and politics is a danger to that level of magnitude, then I would suggest that this would be a particular case of science being used *as* as a religion, to scare people or sway them with rhetoric. It religion is what captures belief and imagination, and politics is how the levers are pulled, then religion as such need not be defined merely as that which deals with 'spiritual' matters. All public frenzy is religious in nature.

    I came for a Star Trek episode not a crappy lifetime movie.
    .5 stars

    0 for me. I always skip it now. It's daytime telly stuff and while it may be a reasonable story and production it has absolutely *zero* to do with Star Trek. This is like someone stuck the wrong tape in when broadcasting. Even accepting that it's filler material I don't find the story that interesting anyway.

    Yawn. Maybe I'd enjoy it more if I didn't watched it at 3am.

    I don't dislike this episode, and I applaud them for trying something different. I also don't agree that it's just filler because it isn't sci-fi. TNG's "Family" is similar, and it's an outstanding character piece. DS9's "Past Tense" is also a very similar story, and an important one.

    That said, speaking of "Past Tense" there is a similar kind of artificiality I feel in both of these episodes. Maybe it's the studio backlot setting which is almost real but not quite, or the strangely quiet and somewhat stilted acting which might be a symptom of being outside the actors' comfort zones, but both these episodes have something of a Truman Show feel to them that doesn't sit quite right with me.

    OK, so maybe I'm nitpicking here - but I've never liked the ancestor stories in science fiction - why can't they just hire another actor to play Shannon o"donnell, why did it have to be Kate Mulgrew. She did a good job - it's just something I don't like.

    Reading the comments in episode after episode from this Michael fellow..

    I can't fathom why he is watching these shows if he hates them all... unless they are action adventure shows with no character moments, they are crap to him.

    Strange way to spend his spare time. I prefer to spend my personal time doing things I enjoy.

    @dave johnson

    You know, I'm a communications student, and am in a class examining audience and reception, and one thing that came up was the idea of "hate watching" something.

    Essentially, it's watching something you hate, and getting enjoyment from poking holes in it. Now, to regular fans of something, such as Star Trek, to see this is confusing, and can maybe sometimes feel like you may be personally attacked for liking this thing that someone enjoys ripping to shreds. But to better understand this, one need not look further than the Phantom Menace. Yes, there are those who enjoy the movie, but I would hazard to guess that many more watch it to point out just how and where in it's narrative, characterization and runtime that movie failed, if for nothing else to make jokes at it's expense. And not to get political, but to merely give a recent example, it's no doubt a factor in the interest in American politics, talk shows tapping into that "hate watch" mentality that anti-Trump fans have in regards to his Presidency.

    Regardless of that political example and my hypothisizing about it (seriously, I've seen how heated that stuff can get and want to avoid interjecting into it) though and instead focusing soley on pop culture, hate watching something is just another way to consume mass media, and strange as it may seem to those that like the thing being torn apart, it is just as legitamate way to consume pop culture as any other, as it is very much so an individual thing, unique to each viewer.

    That said, I totally get the initial defensiveness to it though, like, "hey, stop ragging on this thing I like." I just try to view that stuff instead as what it is, a differing perspective and read growing out of different experiences, circumstances, and dispositions, which in turn, helps me to expand my understanding of the world and the people on it, so I can be more understanding of others.

    I should confess though to a certain level of hypocrisy in my last comment, as some months ago I did rip into someone on this very site for having a different read of an episode, and different opinions in general, and made some insinuations about the commenter personally. And then I never participated in the following debate. I was going through some other frusterating things at the time, and a button got pushed, and I believe some of that frusteration got vented towards that commenter.

    As such, if that person is still around and reading comments, I would like to say that, despite disagreeing on some fundamental issues, I was still out of line and am offering my apologies to you. Even if it is months later and we've all moved on.

    Personally, I can see why this story is called filler. To me, filler has nothing to do with whether a story has explosions or aliens. As was mentioned above, TNG's "Family" is a great example of an episode which shows how Star Trek episodes can just be about people and can be done brilliantly. An episode doesn't have to advance the plot to not be filler (very rarely did an episode of TOS or TNG ever have a lasting impact). An episode just needs to make you care about the events to the point where you can see why the episode was made.

    In episodes like "Mortal Coil" the characters went through a major crisis you could genuinely care about. In this case, Janeway was concerned that an ancestor from a long time ago that you'd never heard of before wasn't quite the person she thought. There were no "stakes" though. Janeway wasn't an insecure child desperately drawing her strength from the heroic image of the stories of her ancestors. She's a successful starship captain. If it had turned out Janeway's ancestor was actually a cannibalistic serial killer, Janeway might have been disappointed but she'd still have been the same person and would have just moved on. There was no drama to any of that. Even in the past, it was a foregone conclusion that the Millennium Gate would be built (as we were told at the start of the episode) so there was no drama to that either (it also didn't help that we learnt immediately that Henry's name was Janeway so we didn't exactly get shocked they ended up together).

    It wasn't a bad episode. It was inoffensive. At the same time, it wasn't fun, silly, exciting, dramatic, challenging, innovative, mindless entertainment or necessary exposition. There was no clear reason why this episode took place which is why it felt like filler.

    The whole premise of this episode is impossible to buy. A corporation wants to bulldoze an entire town to build this thing? Have the writers ever been to Indiana? I could show them a few cornfields that would be a lot cheaper to plow under. Or they could do it in Iowa and use Kevin Costner's land from Field of Dreams.

    I agree with the haters here. One of my least favorite episodes in all of Star Trek.

    The biggest problem is that Kate Mulgrew has never been well served by the writing where Janeway spouts pseudo-profundities (usually in the last 5 minutes of many episodes). Unfortunately, this episode is chock full of her Shannon O'Donnel doing exactly that, and then you have Kevin Tighe spewing his own set of BS platitudes. The episode would have been marginally better if Mulgrew tried to not play O'Donnel pretty much exactly as Janeway, and better still if they got an entirely different actress to play the character. But it still would have been a bad episode.

    And as others noted, there is so much that is just off. A skyscraper biosphere mixed with a shopping mall? People who pretend they are dining in Paris by propping a book open? TV news keeping a 24 hour vigil outside a holdout business?

    And finally, I am bothered that the show was not true to Star Trek by (a) portraying a monstrous commercial development as some kind of moral progress and (b) giving early and mid-21st century Earth a bucolic depiction, ignoring prior continuity that it was instead a giant sh*t show (Bell Riots, First Contact).

    Oh yeah! Let's build a 2x Burj Khalifa (and 8x large, good for rainy days), in the MIDDLE of a town that is surrounded by EMPTY plains. I would meet the architects and, btw, Janeway ancestors are really dumb, and this episode is a boring poop. Jammer, leave Star Trek alone! Your target is Walker TexASS Ranger...

    According to the story Harry tells, transmitters were not subspace in 2210. Is this possible?

    Enterprise was set in 2151 to 2155, was it not?

    When I originally watched it I didn’t much care for it but I’ve warmed up to it ever so slightly over the years. Kate Mulgrew really felt comfortable in her role as Shannon O’Donnell who made me feel sorry for her and her plight in life —and the story has that comfort food feel to it. I could have done without the Paris, Neelix, Harry parts. Quite annoying but the ending was sweet

    2.5 stars

    I like the world building. I'm always interested in fleshing out there fictional history of the Star Trek world. Just about every TV show at this time had a Y2K episode. I guess not even Star Trek was immune to it.

    Oddly enough, one of my favorite moments was Harry Kim talking about one of his ancestors in one of the early deep space missions. I don't know why I loved it so much. It just rang so true. Of course early deep space exploration would be filled with that kind of trial and error. I thought it was neat.

    Agreed about the chemistry between O'Donnell and Janeway. Definitely didn't ring true.

    So, the "what is the point of this episode?" comes up a lot with one-offs, and the usual rejoinder is "well, what is the point of ANY of this? if it's a good story, it's good." I agree with the latter point, and don't think it's intrinsically a problem for there to be a one-off story relatively disconnected from everything else. That said, I feel like one-off episodes should probably justify themselves with some thematic connection to the rest of the series. Here, the big one is that Shannon O'Donnell is meant to be a proto-Kathryn, which we know because Kathryn says so and also she's played by Kate Melgrew. And Henry Janeway is, also, an ancestor of Kathryn. So what do we learn from these antecedents?

    The two arcs of the episode are:

    1) in the future, Kathryn had believed that her ancestor Shannon O'Donnell was essential for the creation of the Millennium Gate, but then learns she was "just" an ordinary person;
    2) in the past, Shannon believed herself isolated, but manages to build a life with Henry in the Millennium Biodome thing.

    The structure sort of suggests that we're meant to see that Shannon, despite superficially being much more ordinary than the woman Kathryn had believed her to be, still *did* have a decisive role in letting the Millennium Gate happened, albeit on a much smaller, personal scale. Besides saying something about how our heroes are still worth admiring even if they didn't do things that would be considered overtly heroic, I think it's maybe suggesting that Janeway needs to recalibrate her picture of what heroism actually is, and seeing smaller, more personal things as being as important as the big space battles. (Voyager, the series, take note!) Along those lines, Shannon does proto-captain's logs, some relatively low-impact addictions (coffee for Kathryn, junk food for Shannon), is ambitious, has an exploratory attitude, and is very socially isolated, at least initially. She seems to be in a permanent self-imposed isolation/funk after her failure to succeed at NASA, and over the course of the episode learns to reopen her heart, and in doing so also manages to restart her career -- which is a benefit, but a mostly incidental one. This season has emphasized Kathryn's isolation throughout, sometimes effectively and sometimes less so, but, as suggested in Night, the way out for Kathryn is to stop punishing herself and to accept that other people can share her burden, that her life isn't over because she's "failed" (in Kathryn's case, I guess, because she's starting to feel like her Caretaker decision was wrong). I'm unclear on whether Kathryn actually sees enough of the December 2000 story to be able to get that message, but it does end with two family snapshots linking the two Melgrew characters, so, maybe she gets it, at least in part.

    I don't really find the story riveting and I somehow don't quite get how Kathryn somehow got this impression of absolute certainty about her ancestor's accomplishments without her scientist-explorer mind ever thinking to crack open a history textbook to see if these family rumours were correct. Why would the Janeway/O'Donnell clan spread this story anyway? I don't quite get it. And a lot of time is spent on Henry Janeway's reactionary, living-in-the-past beliefs, only for him to drop them out of ~love~ at the last minute, which seems a little convenient. Still, I think the acting is generally good and the characterization more or less effective. 3 stars.

    I enjoyed this episode, its thoughtfulness, and the perspective on our current times by those hundreds of years in the future. My brain was exercising a good deal as I watched.

    But Tuvok only had one line.

    Nice enough episode. Would've enjoyed it more if they had a different actress playing Shannon O'Donnell.

    Mellow, heartfelt episode that is a good change of pace for VOY without any obvious villains, phaser fights or aliens. Definitely like the premise about family, history, genealogy and we get the insight into Janeway's character that is curious and respectful of history, inspired by it. Reminds me of "Carbon Creek" from ENT, which I liked a lot.

    It's far from flawless though as the story has some holes, for me. I didn't buy O'Donnel being an engineer but taking a beat up boat of a car on an exploration drive across the midwest without a dollar to her name. Yes, random encounters can pop up but the eventual romance/marriage seems a bit of a stretch given the philosophical differences (and it seems age difference).

    The giving-in by Henry Janeway at 11:59 seemed abrupt especially with how much at odds he was with O'Donnel. It did seem a bit contrived with how fixated the two were on such opposing philosophies (past vs. future) -- but through this, good arguments were made on both sides. The bit about O'Donnel and the cookies not tasting right was an interesting way of bringing about the denouement.

    Captain Janeway may have wished for O'Donnel to have had a bigger part to play in the Millennium Gate, but what's important is that she believed O'Donnel was somebody really important and was thus inspired and eager to learn about her history.

    The flashbacks worked well because there weren't too many of them. It created a good vibe with all the ship's important cast getting into this family origins kick. The role of a photo can be a strong one and all it represents works well here.

    2.5 stars for "11:59" -- VOY can put forth some very different kinds of episodes every now and then and it generally works well here in terms of getting the message across about family, reflecting on those who came before and laying the groundwork for what we do or aspire to do. Good performance from Mulgrew as O'Donnel but the Henry Janeway character seemed very hard-headed for the most part before giving in at the last second.

    I agree with Jake Taylor who wrote: "Man this episode feels so forced in every way. These two people have nothing in common and the are so different, and ages apart. I am shown no reason as a viewer why they should get married."

    I agree that this episode feels like filler.

    Hello Everyone!

    Boy. This one is just... boy.

    I didn't like it during the original run, agreeing with the forced feel of the whole thing. I did attempt to give it a shot during my re-watch, as I've seen quite a few episodes in a new light as I've slowly crept along...

    But no. To me, it was cringe-inducing. And not just for the forced feel, but for the forced drama of a small town in Indiana having to decide if it wants to be razed to the ground.

    I lived in small town (1,800) Michigan, near the Indiana border, when this first aired, and now live in small town South-central Indiana. I'm thinking this town looks about the size of Austin. One main drag going through and that's about it. So I'd peg the town shown here to be around 1,500 to 2,500 people. Now, most of the towns this size in Indiana are not that big geographically, not their town parts anyway. Nearly all of them, if you drive two miles (or less, sometimes much less) from downtown in any direction, put you in areas with huge acreages of farmland. For me, I just could not wrap my head around why they'd want to destroy Austin (for example), instead of building it at the edge of town. They'd need a bar, a few restaurants, gas stations, and interstate access. Bang! Build it so it stops just outside of town, and you have all of these things.

    Destroying the small town to plop this thing down on top of it was just stupid to me, and all I thought was it must have been written by someone who had not been to small-town America for a while, if ever.

    And I don't believe it was a larger city with 15,000 or so people, because it just didn't look that big. If they wiped out Seymour or Columbus, they'd not only lose all the shops, but also the motels and the hospital. Nope, it looked village-sized to me.

    They'd not bother to buy out all of those business people, and the townsfolk. They'd buy up farmland close to an interstate, and make an off-ramp for it.

    And that... is why I dislike this episode. It must be thumbs down...

    Regards... RT

    My three sins of Star Trek:

    1.) Boring
    2.) Contrived
    3.) Irrelevant
    ...actually there's a fourth sin:
    4.) Midwest in winter. There are few things so depressing.

    This episode seems to enthusiastically commit all three (four) sins with the knobs turned way up. I've watched every episode of Star Trek and might say that this is as bad as it ever got. At least the cheesy holodeck episodes have interesting sets and goofy actors. At least 'Maneuvers' has good special effects and acting. At least the babe episodes have hot babes and take place on the actual ship. I'm off to memory alpha to read the behind the scenes about the production, curious to learn how this happened.

    Interesting story. Well done by Mulgrew.

    I was sorry to see Canton miss out, though. Buckeyes > Hoosiers, any century of the millennium.

    Reminded me of that Enterprise ep, where T'Pol tells the story pic her grandmother on Earth.

    A few comments after reading the review and comments:

    --the Henry Janeway role was badly miscast. Just no chemistry. I guess they were going for ordinary small town guy, but Mulgrew has a strong, somewhat unusual look to her, and it just didn't work.

    --The title makes me think that Janeway is running out of time somehow. That, at some point, it will be late in the day, almost too late in the day, and she'll have to make a decision. But it may not be foreshadowing, may just be about her general isolation and her need to connect with others before it's too late.

    Sooooo... This Millennium Falcon, pardon Gate, is a sort of "3x Burj Khalifa" built ON the downtown of a little nobodycares town surrounded by a uninhabited neverending plain. Wow, who is the kanar-addicted genius who projected it?

    Clearly these Millennium Gate folk never played SimCity...

    I am ashamed to say that this episode was so boring I stopped watching after the fender bender. I am usually easy on the Star Treks but there is an exception to every rule I suppose. Maybe the episode was decent and maybe I will actually finish it someday but I had I boredom meltdown here.


    You should feel ashamed.

    Slap yourself in the face and get back in front of that TV!! :-)

    If Henry Janeway would only have been played by a more suitable actor this would've been a total slam dunk. With that said, this is a super cozy VOY episode and a welcome breath of fresh air (just like the previous episode).

    After half a dozen more or less forgettable episodes in the middle of season 5, I'm really glad things are shaping up just as we are nearing the end.

    Things I liked about 11:59:
    -Mulgrew once again giving a grandiose performance. She really is the pillar of Voyager.
    -"Ferengi talk about Wall Street as if it were Holy Ground."
    -That out of focus "Fish Tales" pinball machine in the background at the pub.
    -Harry Kim's family story.
    -Neelix theorizing about 7of9.5
    -The NYE feeling.

    Things I didn't like:
    -Neelix and Paris battle of useless earth trivia.
    -Paris being a human encyclopedia of Mars projects from the 1970's 'til current Star date. (really? wtf)

    3 Solid stars.

    I was hoping the episode would make some reference to the Eugenics Wars, which happened in the mid 90s, and earth should have been recovering from, and isn,t the World War 3 nearly upon us? Or was it in the 21st century? And the reference first contact by the Vulcans, was this before the movie? It would have been nice to build on canon instead of potentially violating it as Voyager and Enterprise are won’t to do.

    On another note, see The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh paperback triology for an interesting take on The Eugenics Wars and 90s issues, like nuclear testing and global warming and terrorism. It also has Gary 7, nicely conflates Trek and our past.

    By the way, I know it’s an old comment from a few years back but any website they calls itself Skeptical Science is probably anything but, science is by definition skeptical and shouldn’t have to go out of its way to proclaim that. It is trying to use science to justify politics and corporate goals that are not supported by a majority of scientific opinion, as well as our own eyes and common sense. In the last ten years beaches in California and Hawaii shrink or disappear, fire season lasts all year and gets more intense as whole towns burn every year now, and hurricanes now threaten Ireland and New York City.

    A reference to the Eugenics Wars would indeed have been nice. But, this isn't the first time VOY has done a story set in the 1990s and completely ignored the Eugenics Wars.

    As for World War III - that didn't happen until the mid-21st century. This story is set at least 40 years before. And First Contact with the Vulcans didn't happen until 2063.

    Also living in southern Indiana, I guess I agree with cheerful RandomThought’s (and others’) objection to the notion that such a project would logically displace the downtown of a small Indiana town rather than being built in a cornfield. But more fundamentally than that, it seems a stretch that anyone would opt to build such a massive project in an area of such low population density, and of such slight tourist interest in the first place. (Santa Claus Land at Holiday World is more in keeping with Hoosier development ideas.) They’d never begin to fill the commercial spaces proposed, much less populate the tower.

    Also, we alREADy have communities capable of sustainable settlement. They’re called “small farm towns in the Midwest.”

    As a native of the Midwest, I found the town itself , its apparent demographics, and its geography rather vague and contradictory. It had very much the vibe of a northern Indiana small city (and there IS a Portage there). The fender-bending scene looked to be set in a city of 15,000 or more - a Columbus or Bloomington would have been believable. But one line refers to going “up” to Bloomington, which almost has to set it south of that location (because otherwise, you’d go “up” to Indianapolis.

    The night scenes do look more like small-town southern Indiana - but I lived here at that time, and I’m unaware of any 2-story bookstores in any town down in these parts. THAT looks more like an urban thing. Also, unless it was Evansville, one of the towns across the river from Louisville, Terre Haute, or Bloomington itself...there would certainly be no towns with TV stations putting news crews on the street to follow such a little drama.

    If the production folks had REALLY wanted to localize it convincingly, a shot of a town square and courthouse would have screamed “Indiana” at the top of its cinematic little lungs. For that matter, Huntingburg (which had hosted Hollywood for “A League of Their Own” and “Hard Rain” in the 90s, would have made the production welcome.

    Also, 13-14 year-old Janeway Junior couldn’t have casually walked into a sports bar looking for Shannon. Geez.

    So yeah. It’s Hollywood getting the small town America of Flyover Country wrong-wrong-wrong, building it out of tropes, tripe, and stereotypes. We’re used to it, but it’s still annoying. Couldn’t they even bother to look at a map and give it some thought?

    What was historically right: the cars, the way the ignition failure of the clapped-out 80s wagon sounded and behaved, and the dirty frosted windows. I felt right at home in those scenes. Also, Interstate cookies do suck.

    Incomprehensible: why would a show which aired in May 1999 set a massive fictional building project just 18 months into the future? The Gate would already have to have been well into advanced planning by the production date - and, well, it just wasn’t. Odd.

    But all those niggling niggles aside, I’m ok with a quiet episode. I think Janeway herself delivered the line which gives her ancestor’s story relevant emotional resonance. In the disappointment of realizing Shannon had not been the important personage she’d previously thought, doesn’t she say something to the effect of “yeah, my great ancestor was a failure who couldn’t follow through on her ambitions, and now I’ve failed by losing my crew halfway across the galaxy”?

    I’ll agree that Shannon and Henry didn’t have smoldering chemistry. But I think that’s consistent with the tired, second-chance vibe of the episode. At the moment, neither is where they must have thought they’d be in life, and yeah one looks forward and the other looks back (another element tying in with the NY’s eve theme).

    But they’re both literate, intelligent, articulate people with wide-ranging interests, they enjoy each others’ company (in a limited social/cultural environment where there are not endless options), and Shannon feels something for the good kid, whose personality speaks well of Henry’s values. They like each other, and they recognize a good solid thing when they see it. Neither, as they say, is getting any younger. They’re mature and world-weary enough to be beyond lust-fueled passion.

    Love doesn’t have to consume. The family picture from decades later suggests that they made a good life for themselves. That’s believable.

    And yeah the episode is quiet. But does drama always have to be dramatic?

    The present (future?) day parts are admittedly very nice, but the flashbacks sections are so unbelievably dull and lacking in any emotional core that's it's hard to view this as more than a well-meaning dud.

    This is a fine example of an episode that I got something more and something different out of than when I last saw it. In recent years I've become far more interested in family history, and a lot of the comments about "fragmented" and incomplete records rang very true. It's hard to put together a history of someone's life when they just did what most of us do: they grew up, they went to school, they worked, they had a family, and there's just very little to distinguish them. Nor is family oral tradition always accurate.

    There were a number of other things I enjoyed about the episode:
    - Jason is a level-headed kid that has a good relationship with his father. I appreciated that.
    - The project manager who offered O'Donnell the job could easily have been a stereotypical corporate villain, but he was written and played as a quiet and reasonable man. There really is no villain in this story, and it works just fine without one.
    - I enjoyed the story's theme that we can be inspired by what family from generations ago did.

    Overall, it was a quiet, enjoyable story, and a chance for Kate Mulgrew to do something a little different.

    This might be the only episode of any television show where selling out your community to a big developer is presented as the right thing to do. The residents of this town seem to be putting all of their eggs in one basket and that is never a good thing: Detroit and the Auto Industry, Steel and Youngstown, Oil in Cleveland etc are obvious big examples but there are plenty of suburbs that have become ghettoes in the last 15 years because of the collapse of their local mall, and that’s what the Millenium Gate seems to be, a mall that looks like that ugly building down in St Louis.

    I love Kim's story about his ancestor piloting a ship with crew in stasis and Seven just sits there without commenting that that is exactly what she did in One. And Tom says "I'd rather be in stasis" when he did everything he could to get out of that stasis.

    I don't think this story was a winking reference, which is an impressive bit of non-tinuity...

    Anyway, I do like this episode a lot.

    With the exception of "City on the Edge of Forever" I'd have been perfectly content if Trek never ventured back to the 20th/early 21st centuries.

    Just wait until Henry Janeway learns about Amazon . . .

    Accepting the limits of the medium (a television hour, one episode in a 20+ episode season), I think this was an effective main plot that imparted a thoughtful message. Who says sci-fi needs lasers, battles, and technobabble? Reflecting on history, the limits of our ability to "know" what happened in the past, and thinking about the real lives of living, breathing people who came centuries before us makes for good, thoughtful fiction. So what if the A plot resolves itself in a very Christmas movie sort of way? This was not as good as Living Witness, but it was a thoughtful departure from the norm. The B plot could have been better: Janeway's sulky response to learning her ancestor was not who she thought she was, Paris's conveniently encyclopedic knowledge of "every" Mars mission, the ease with which Janeway could have and would have figured out the true story of a family hero -- this was weak stuff, and it had me rolling my eyes a bit. Then again, there's only so much you can cram into 45 minutes of screen time.

    I think 3 stars is fair.


    Who I am not sure is even an active user here anymore, but they said this:

    "I guess Voyager did attract people who like to be spoon fed the same recipe week after week as unfortunately that's the way it went from about S3/4"

    I would add "From about Season 3 or 4 until now" :smirk: I happened on this episode and realized that I'd never seen it before, because at that time (May 1999) my family was in a heavily transitional state, having moved to Alabama during a brief 9 month period while my dad sought work in Nashville and looked for a house. I missed this one the first time around.

    I feel like Marty McFly, talking to his future father in Back to the Future: "Get outta here! I never knew you did anything creative!" :D hehehe

    It's nice, actually, to meet an unformulaic Voyager episode. It's a little bit "Wifetime Network Glurge" but not so much so that it's a bad bit of TV.

    It does make me nostalgic for the pre-9/11 days a bit. Boy howdy things did not stay the way they're presented here. :( Ugh.

    In an interesting twist, the Millennium Gate turned out to be a Borg/Ferengi plot to install a giant antennae on Earth. Once operational, the antennae broadcasts a signal that subtly causes humanity to become profit-seeking individuals. These creatures reap gains off the suffering of the weak, mercilessly pollute, and seek new profits in the stars. This weakens Earthlings, allowing the Borg to assimilate them easily by posing nanophage assimilation arachnotrons as the hottest new Christmas present, Tickle Me Eleven of Seven... And allowed a few Ferengi to amass a lot of value as time traveling bitcoin entrepreneurs.

    ’l agree that Shannon and Henry didn’t have smoldering chemistry. But I think that’s consistent with the tired, second-chance vibe of the episode. At the moment, neither is where they must have thought they’d be in life, and yeah one looks forward and the other looks back (another element tying in with the NY’s eve theme).' (Proteus, Nov. 25, 2019)

    Well said Proteus...l really liked your allusion to 'the tired second-chance vibe of the episode.' I especially enjoyed the Henry Janeway casting...precisely because he isn't a great romantic figure to sweep Shannon off her feet.

    The last thing the story needed was a Mr. Perfect middle-aged hottie with some carefully thought out strategy for taking on big business. It needed, instead, somebody with no real plan, but some kind of authenticity which, believe it or not, some women do find attractive.

    I think the chocolate chip cookie revelation thing came out of nowhere....and would have been better done as a revelation arising out of a book given to Shannon by Henry when she hit-the-road to say no hard feelings. The book should have been about the Pharos lighthouse, mentioned earlier by Seven, which would given Shannon the idea that the Millennium Gate could have a SETI beacon installed at the top. That idea would have captivated Henry, who clearly revered the Hellenistic cultural milieu.

    The whole Martian Colony angle was a waste. The writers should have focused on O'donel's supposed role in relation to what was to happen after her death, during First Contact.

    Paris could still do a faux pas line bumming Captain Janeway out: 'I never heard about an O'Donel doing anything during First Contact'. We the viewers would know however, that the Pharos beacon had attracted the Vulcans to get close enough to Earth to pick up Cochrane's warp flight at the crucial juncture.

    3 stars from me. I also loved the music, as it was well-suited to the message.

    Correction : 'The book should have been about the Pharos lighthouse, mentioned earlier by Seven, which would have given Shannon the idea that the Millennium Gate could have a SETI beacon installed at the top. '


    The last episode of voyager I watched so I could say I watched the entire series, and the 3 most boring ones including this were all on the same disk! What torture! I had the display on half the time so I knew when it would be over. At least Threshold was fun.

    The Chinese Wall has totally different dimensions. Instead of 2400 km it’s more then 21000 km long and it is 1,5 m wide instead of 3.8 meters. How can they be so wrong ? Unbelievable…

    The "happy ending" of the giant developer successfully demolishing the historic town to build a vanity megabuilding has really not aged well.

    I'm not a mechanic so I'm not sure why the oil pan would have anything to do with her car not starting. I guess the writer wasn't a mechanic either. They should have said she got a new fuel pump or something.

    This is one of my favorite episodes and has become a new year's tradition for me. I always watch it before midnight on December 31st, just like tonight. I'm posting this at 11:59 by the way! Kind of silly I guess but it sure beats watching that stupid ball drop every year. I like the second photo at the end and the way it instantly fades to black, sort of indicating that photo was probably lost to time.

    Not fond of this episode. Just didn't buy the relationship between the once and future Janeway. A similar episode I like much better is "Carbon Creek" of Enterprise.


    "Carbon Creek" was much more sci-fi than "11:59". It was much more intriguing, I'd give it a 6/10.

    This really was a nothingburger of an episode, and a very weird idea for any Star Trek writers' room to pitch, much less actually produce. I can understand why @Jeffrey's Tube said in the comments section to a recent SNW episode that "11:59" is just fundamentally not very "Trek-y". Even if we don't necessarily mind that per se, it's a pretty random* story about nothing much in particular regardless of genre. And while I expected some kind of compromise at the end so their inevitable marriage could happen, the Janeway dude just completely caved!

    Yet somehow I was charmed by what Jammer called the "pleasant" good-natured vibe the story put on. And I do admire a show being willing to say the big corporate developer might actually not be the bad guy.** So I was tempted to go three stars here, like Jammer, but really it's more of a three stars out of five type deal, so on Jammer's scale 2.5 seems more apt.

    *I wrote that before reading any comments, including @Iceblink's "random and pointless". Yeah, kinda...but in addition to that, as both Jammer and Iceblink also said, "pleasant".

    **Again, after reading comments I see @Midw3sterner making a similar point: "This might be the only episode of any television show where selling out your community to a big developer is presented as the right thing to do."

    I was convinced the snow in exterior scenes was real, so when they commented on the Delta Flyers podcast that they did a great job making Southern California look like a Midwestern city in the winter, I was sure they were in error and that it was probably shot in Toronto or somewhere like that in the winter. But no, according to Memory Alpha, they did film it on the Paramount lot. Joe Menosky recalls, "David Livingston did it on the New York Street on Paramount lot. They brought in tons and tons of snow and blew it all over the street." Livingston himself recalled: "The production values were great. We shot it on the backlot at Paramount, and made it look like a Midwestern city. It was supposed to be in the winter, and we had snow, and we shot both day and night."

    That really is impressive and deserves a tip of the hat, even if it was in service of an episode which one review called "a somewhat dull Hallmark movie". (Ouch, but not totally off base.)

    I'm really disliking Voyager in general more and more the more reruns I go for. It was the first Star Trek I watched, since it was the first to air in Sweden - on Public Service TV no less! Some episodes I've looked forward to has turned to ashes in my mouth, not at all as enjoyable episodes as I've remembered.

    11:59 is not one of those.

    Oh, it is not a brilliant episode, it has a couple of plot issues. But it does have sincerity and thoughtfulness to an extent Voyager rarely reaches or even tries for. For some reason the quietness and everyday perspective reminds me about TNG's Inner Light, the way both of these episodes stick out in tone - no comparison otherwise.

    But watching it this time, it's not just about that sincerity for me but also the sentimentality and warmth, as it tried to be a still, somewhat sadness tinged episode. Having developed much more firm opinions on Trek, what I dislike about Voyager is just how passive aggresive and plain unpleasant this crew is. They're more often than not a competent crew, in line with the general aesthetics of Golden era Trek, but they're emotionally immature and problems that the TNG crew would deal with healthily will result in bickering with Voyager's.

    In this episode, there's none of that. There are a couple of wry jokes and a bit of banter, but for once the dialogue sells it as endearing and not toxic. This is not just an episode about captain Janeway re-evaluating a mythologized past, but about the crew making effort to bond. In that sense, it also has a bit in common with TNG's All Good Things in tone - and, yet again, no other comparison otherwise. I like the little scene between Paris and Neelix, trying to have a friendly competition about trivia - there are way too many scenes in Voyager in general with Tom making fun of the poor guy behind his back, it is nice seeing them enjoy each other's company for once.

    Janeway's ancestor made a home for herself in a totally unexpected place, and being eerily similar to our captain. This is theatre, and thus all good to me. It would be fair to criticize it as heavy handed, but I think Mulgrew and the writers sell it with slight differences between them. Shannon is more aloof compared to Kathryn, to name the most obvious thing, and she is more marked by being an alone drifter, while Kathryn has always been on top of things and never had enough alone time. The parallel works for me, and I like the affirmation that these people should be dear to Kathryn, and to each other.

    If Voyager had gotten this down in general, I would be more alright with its lack of new ideas, with the comparative lack of political themes compared to earlier shows ... it could still have got the message through that community and teamwork is the solution to problems. It's a shame, because the actors sure could pull this family warmth off when given the chance.

    The negativity towards this episode in the comments surprises me. 11:59 is actually one of my favourite episodes of Voyager.

    We can tear apart almost any episode of TV, or any film or play. There are always shortcuts taken, things that don't make sense. As long as you can suspend disbelief sufficiently to allow the story's themes to emerge then it is working tolerably well.

    11:59 is an episode that blessedly doesn't feature hard headed aliens firing on the ship, doesn't feature that someone's ancestor was key to life, the universe and everything. Instead, it's a human scale episode and takes a number of surprising stances.

    Let's take the tension between the past and the future, between history and progress. This episode doesn't just say "the past is worthless", or "the future is all that matters". It takes a more nuanced stance.

    Janeway's family history evidently has a significant dose of embellishment. Those of us who have investigated our family histories may know the feeling. A grandfather who tells his granddaughters how the family moved from the old country because of famine. True in essence, but not in fact - the family didn't move during the famine but 30 years afterwards but the economic conditions caused by the famine were a large contributing factor. Doesn't stop the granddaughter from confidently telling her own children how the family fled during the height of the famine. People embellish, it's normal. When the family historian encounters the facts, they might feel that the family's folklore is hokum, but they'd be wrong to write it all off as worthless.

    The episode also acknowledges that all we can affect is what we choose to do. Henry Janeway is stuck in romanticizing the distant past, the more distant the better. Shannon convinces him to roll the dice on something better. Is the Millennium Gate a great idea? Almost certainly not, but engineers hone their craft on a lot of rubbish before they get to work on the real deal. The modern steam engine was invented to pump out tin mines and coal mines. It transformed the world shortly thereafter. In the alternate universe that is Star Trek's history, who's to say that the environmental controls built for the Millennium Gate don't ultimately prove the concepts that allow for the Enterprise and the Voyager? H. Janeway risks that future for a misguided attempt to hold on to his today in Portage Creek, and Amazon would have driven him out of business in less than a decade. The fictional Portage Creek may be better off with its ridiculous mall, than with a main street of empty storefronts.

    The lack of a grand romance is, I think, part of the point. Shannon O'Donnell is a dreamer, like Katharine Janeway. Her feet are stuck on the ground, but her mind is in the cosmos. She is frustrated. At the beginning of the episode she recounts the idle and pointless curiosities she's seen, and how it doesn't really matter if she's in Indiana or any other state. She's going nowhere. In Portage Creek she adopts Henry's mission to get work, but she's conflicted about it. In Janeway's bookstore, she makes the first genuine connection in what seems to be a long, long time. She realizes that she can't carry on aimlessly wandering, and she finally puts down roots. It's not a grand romance, but it's realistic - she settles, to have a place in the world, and all she asks of Henry is that he commit to getting unstuck together by agreeing to sell the store.

    It's an episode that is tinged with sadness and also celebratory of reaching a kind of peace with reality, oddly for sci-fi. Captain Janeway reconciles her family history with the cold facts and comes to a realization that whether the family folklore was strictly true matters less than its effects on her. The senior staff celebrate their found family in each other, reflecting how Shannon and Henry and Jason also became a family together during the course of the episode.

    Perhaps I am the ideal audience for this episode as someone who is torn between the past and the future myself. History was my first interest and an ongoing one, sci-fi opened my eyes to the idea of the future and made me passionately interested in technology. As I get older, I see more and more value in both sides of the argument. History tells us much about what was, what can happen, gives us caution and tells us to be wary, while the promise of progress is alluring. Progress rarely gives without us losing something, but the direst warnings of history also rarely come to pass. The truth is in the reconciliation.

    Moral of this story seemed something like: Heroes sometimes save the day in untraditional ways.

    Here, it DOES turn out to be true that the millennium bridge would not have existed without Shannon (at least not in the place it was built and maybe not ever; who’s to say there wouldn’t be roadblocks in an alternate location especially after alternate naysayers learned about the success of Janeway’s blockade).

    But the heroism of a woman persuading her romantic partner to get off his high horse so global progress can happen, isn’t celebrated the way being “one of the first women astronauts” would be. So Kathryn Janeway doesn’t have any historical records to read about the form that Shannon’s heroism actually took, when it wasn’t being an astronaut.

    The episode makes a poignant comment about how, even by the time Voyager surveys the delta quadrant, women like Kathryn Janeway are still searching for validation on a male standard of heroism, when women like Shannon had been heroic all along.

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