Today in TV History – January 21st, 1998 – Star Trek: Voyager’s “Message in a Bottle” Airs

Has Voyager finally found a way to contact Starfleet? It’s up to the Emergency Medical Hologram to find out in an episode that aired on this day in television history.

“Message in a Bottle” is the 14th episode of the 4th season of Star Trek: Voyager. Written by Lisa Klink (with story by Rick Williams) and directed by Nancy Malone, the episode aired on UPN on January 21st, 1998.

Voyager, still several decades away from Federation space, finds a space station that can seemingly allow them to communicate with home. After initial attempts fail, they theorize that they can send the holographic doctor to the Starfleet ship they detect. He arrives on the USS Prometheus, but find its been taken over by Romulans. Now, it’s up to him and another holographic doctor to retake the ship from hostile forces.

The USS Prometheus debuts in this episode. The Starfleet warship can seperate into three sections for battle in what’s known as “Multi-Vector Assault Mode.” Other Federation ships seen in this episode include the Defiant-class (like the Defiant in DS9), Akira-class (first seen in the First Contact film) and the Nebula-class (a long-running class first seen in The Next Generation.)


The USS Prometheus splits into three sections for its “Multi-Vector Assault Mode.” Courtesy: Paramount / Viacom / CBS

Comedian Andy Dick plays the EMH Mark II in the episode. At the end of the episode, Starfleet has been made aware that Voyager hasn’t been destroyed and that much of its crew is still alive. The episode also introduces the Hirogen, a race of hunter aliens that would appear in several more episodes immediately after this one–and throughout the series.


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