The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"11:59"

by David E. Sluss

7 May 1999

 
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THE BOTTOM LINE
: Nothing blatantly offensive to good taste or common sense, but was there a point to this?

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 6.8 (D+)

REVELATION OF THE WEEK: Well, we were promised a "dark secret" regarding Janeway's ancestor, and I guess we got one: she was a spammer. I had to laugh at the notion of "emailing everyone within 100 miles" though. I think Braga and Menosky are a little Unclear on the Concept of email.

ACCURATE SCIENCE OF THE WEEK: Or of the season, probably. They actually got the millennium thing right, i.e. that 2001 is truly the beginning of the next millennium, not 2000.

MORAL OF THE WEEK: "Man will give up his principles and everything he believes in for the love of Woman." And that's supposed as a good thing?

BUDGET CUTBACKS OF THE WEEK: We knew UPN was hurtin' for certain, and more evidence appears here, as not a single automobile that we saw appeared to be newer than fifteen years old, not O'Donnel's, not the car she hit, not the background vehicles. They must have gotten those rats from some used car lot's "death row."

BRAGA FOOTPRINT OF THE WEEK: I didn't see the writing credits on first viewing, but it was easy enough to figure after the tenth mention of Canton, Ohio. Give it a rest, Brannon; we all know by now that you're from Canton (as am I, or from within ten miles of it, anyway), since you manage to work it into just about every script you work on. On the other hand, maybe the city of Canton will build a giant dick structure like that as a monument to their favorite son and what he stood for...

SOCIAL COMMENTARY OF THE WEEK: For over thirty years, Star Trek has served as a platform for the discussion of contemporaneous social issues within a science fiction context. Issue One this week was the use of sweetheart tax abatements and so forth by cities to attract and keep privately-owned amusements. On the one hand, as the resident of a city currently embroiled in a "stadium controversy" and being blackmailed by its sports teams to "build new facilities or we move out," and as someone who complains loudly about such things at the bar, I was receptive to seeing the issue played out in this episode. On the other hand, it looks like a case of "How the mighty have fallen": Star Trek used to address issues like racism, war, and poverty; cities rolling over and giving away tax goodies to rich blankity-blanks is a problem, but it isn't that significant...

CONTRIVANCE OF THE WEEK: In another stunning case of retrocharacterization, we learn that Paris is an expert on all the Mars missions. And just in time, too; otherwise Janeway might never have learned the shocking truth about her ancestor. Come on: "Paris' ancestor must have known the Captain's ancestor!" -- they say everyone has a "small world" story to tell, but this is ridiculous.
 

Previous: "Someone To Watch Over Me"
Next: "Relativity"
NEXT WEEK: In a mad rush to meet the yearly quota, Voyager offers another installment of Trek Time Travel. Beat the clock! Literally, if possible. [Yes, I wrote that last week, but this "time," I think it's actually true...]

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This review is copyright 1999 David E. Sluss
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