Earth Star Voyager

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Earth Star Voyager
Format Science fiction, Action, Adventure
Created by Ed Spielman
Directed by James Goldstone
Starring Duncan Regehr
Brian McNamara
Julia Montgomery
Jason Michas
Tom Bresnahan
Margaret Langrick
Sean O'Byrne
Peter Donat
Theme music composer Lalo Schifrin
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2 (aired)
Production
Producer(s) Howard P. Alston
Dennis E. Doty
Running time 96 min (without commercials) (per half)
Broadcast
Original run 17 January 1988 – 24 January 1988

Earth Star Voyager is the name of a science fiction television movie shown on the Wonderful World of Disney in 1988.[1] The show aired as a two-part pilot, but was never picked up for a series and has not been released on DVD, although a fan base for the pilot has grown over the years.[citation needed]

Cast and crew[edit]

Directed by

Writing credits

Cast (in credits order) - verified from Earth Star Voyager credit list

  • Duncan Regehr .... Jacob Dryden 'Jake' Brown (Former CDR, Vanguard Explorer)
  • Brian McNamara .... Capt. Jonathan Hays (Commander, Earth*Star Voyager)
  • Julia Montgomery .... Dr. Sally Arthur, M.D. (Space Medicine)
  • Jason Michas .... Jessie 'Beanie' Bienstock (Computer Sciences)
  • Tom Bresnahan .... Huxley Welles (Navigation)
  • Margaret Langrick .... Luz Sansone (Communications)
  • Sean O'Byrne .... Lt. Vance Arthur (First Officer, Vanguard Explorer)
  • Peter Donat .... Adm. Beasley

Rest of cast listed alphabetically:

  • Dinah Gaston .... Lani Miyori (Communications)
  • Andrew Kavadas .... Brody Arnold (Physical Fitness Technician)
  • John "Bear" Curtis .... Whistlestick
  • Stephen Dimopoulos .... The Crier
  • Bruce Harwood .... Dr. Leland Eugene, M.D. (Psychiatrist)
  • Henry Kingi .... Shell
  • Nigel Harvey .... Security Leader
  • Barry Kennedy .... Lt. Matthews
  • Kevin McNulty .... CDR. Gardner
  • Lynette Mettey .... Priscilla (Main Computer)
  • Ric Reid .... Capt. Forbes
  • Frank C. Turner .... Willy
  • David Paul Hewitt White .... Guard
  • Jennifer Michas .... Jeannie
  • Stephen E. Miller .... Lt. Krieger
  • Enid Saunders .... Elderly Woman
  • Mike Stack .... Crewman #1
  • Sandy Tucker .... Mrs. Bienstock
  • Meredith Bain Woodward .... Mrs. Hays

Plot[edit]

In the year 2082, the Earth deep-space exploration vessel, Vanguard Explorer, has suffered heavy damage, due to the efforts of Captain Jacob 'Jake' Brown trying to keep his ship out of the hands of mutineers led by his second-in-command, Vance Arthur. Feigning compliance, Jake attacks Vance and knocks him senseless long enough for him to get to an escape pod and launch into space. However, the cause of the damage on board the Vanguard Explorer is unknown.

The German-language VHS introduces the plot: "It is year 2087. The Earth is dying. They must find a new planet."

It is now six years later, in the year 2088. Command cadet Jonathan Hays, twenty-one, and his best friend Jessie 'Beanie' Bienstock, a 14-year-old computer specialist, are among the young military cadets chosen to serve as the crew of Earth*Star Voyager, the planet's newest interstellar vessel. Due to worsening ecological conditions on Earth, there is a plan in place to evacuate the planet and colonize another world. (This mission is noted on the cover of the German VHS: see image at right). Probes have been sent out six years ago via the Vanguard Explorer, and one has sent data back on Berenson's Star; she has a life-zone planet which has been named 'Demeter'. The mission of Earth*Star Voyager is to go to Demeter, perform a full planetary survey and return that information because if conditions on Demeter prove accurate (the probe's data indicates that human life could survive on Demeter), then the human race will colonize the world. The plan to colonize Demeter has already begun; ships are already being built to transport the population but will take forty years to complete construction of all the necessary vessels, and the trip to Demeter, with 'plasma-thrust' engines and the Bauman Drive (named for Professor Bauman, the creator) will take 26 years. That was the rationale of choosing the crew from the Academy—for their youth and intelligence. Jonathan, as second-in-command, will assume command if Forbes is shown to be unable to continue his duties due to age. It is also mentioned that a modified form of cryogenic suspension will be used by the crew during the voyage in order to slow the ageing process. (Beanie mentions that he'll be forty years old upon their return to Earth, and Captain Forbes also mentions that although the process will slow their ageing, they will still age.)

Among the crew members are Lani Miyori (a communications specialist) and Luz Sansone, a fellow communications tech who takes an immediate liking to Beanie. Also aboard are Dr. Sally Arthur, a 24-year-old M.D., Huxley Welles, an 18-year-old navigator, and Dr. Leland Eugene, the ship's psychiatrist.

The crew arrives aboard the Earth*Star Voyager, and are met by Captain Forbes (the commanding officer), Brody (the ship's resident physical fitness instructor - crew members are required to engage in a physical fitness program), and 'Priscilla', the sentient supercomputer that is the primary logic circuit for the vessel - who has seemingly developed a crush upon Huxley. It is mentioned that this was a concern by the programmers; Priscilla is designed from the brain engrams of Priscilla Bauman (the daughter of Professor Bauman), and as such, she has all of memories, thoughts, feelings and desires of the real Priscilla Bauman. This is slightly annoying to Huxley.

Adm. Beasley, a war hero who fought back a criminal organization called the Outlaw Technology Zone, gave them a final pep-talk and saw them off from his flag ship, the Triton Corsair.

Not long after embarking on the mission, the ship has to pass through the junk belt. Immediately entering the belt, the auto-pilot is unable to travel the course plotted because the junk starts to move due to the ship's engines. After the shields and ship take some damage, Jonathan takes manual control and flies the ship through without taking further damage. While checking the repairs on an airlock, Captain Forbes finds himself trapped inside with the system set to open the airlock to space. Moments later, coming to check on the Captain, Jonathan finds him before the airlock opens. Before being blown into space, the Captain tells Jonathan to keep going and to 'complete the mission'. Jonathan orders the ship's psychiatrist to review the crew's profiles for any hint of psychopathology. Later, Lani mentions to Jonathan that she has suspicions of Dr. Leland Eugene but Jonathan says he cannot go on a hunch alone. Following this Lani is critically injured while in cryo-sleep by an apparent malfunction.

Along the way to Demeter, they pick up the long lost astronaut Capt. Jacob 'Jake' Brown, while stopping at an abandoned station to make some repairs. Brown initially paralyzes Huxley with a weapon but it is revealed that he did so to prevent Huxley from walking straight into an "anti-matter zone." Capt. Brown is accepted on board as an advisor to Jonathan and, finding out that the crew is only armed with hand weapons, volunteers to build a rail-gun with the help of Beinstock in an airlock. Jonathan then receives evidence of the death of Capt. Forbes and Lani's coma that points to Leland, the psychiatrist. When Jonathan confronts him, Priscilla calls Jonathan that suspicious activity in the rail-guns airlock. Jonathan investigates and finds Brody, the fitness instructor, is sabotaging the rail-gun, a fight ensues and the fitness instructor is jettisoned out of the airlock. A transmitter is later discovered amongst his possessions, that he was apparently using to keep in contact with a blip that intermittently appeared on the Voyager's long range scans.

The crew also explores a distress signal from a massive space station known as 'the 2020 World's Fair', which is inhabited by warriors and researchers of the Outlaw Technology Zone. The landing party is captured by the warriors after encountering one of Captain Brown's former crew members, Willy. They discover that the mutinous Vance has also landed here and became "Top Dog" of the warriors by employing a stunner much like the one Brown used on Huxley. A warrior, named Whistlestick, who was beaten and humiliated by Vance explains that anyone may challenge the "Top Dog" at any time and Huxley demonstrates his skill at pickpocketing by getting the key for their cage. Brown offers to occupy their captors by challenging Vance while the rest escape. After a difficult fight, Brown (who taught Vance how to make such weapons long ago) is able to make Vance's weapon backfire and destroys it - but spares Vance's life (unaware that Sally was watching and afraid that he would be killed by Jake). In the ensuing ruckus the crew and their two new allies escape.

The next discovery, explaining how Vance and Willie got to the World's Fair Station in the first place was finding the wreckage of the Vanguard Explorer. Capt. Brown requests the permission to board it and retrieve his logs to prove that the loss of his ship was due to mutiny, and to see if there was anything left salvageable. He, Beinstock and the Doctor find the ship to still have some power and computer function, but also find an unwelcome guest known as a 'Shell'—a cyborg. Brown is able to shock the Shell into unconsciousness, and Doctor Arthur insists they take him to the ship to help and examine him. In a cut-away scene it is revealed that Adm. Beasley has become aware of the Shell's presence on Voyager, but is unable to do anything about it.

Willie explains that the Shell is a cyborg created by the O.T.Z. and although it is only a drone it is probably packed with explosives. The Doctor with the help of Beinstock is able to disarm the explosives and treat his injuries, and is able to bring the Shell back to consciousness while also keeping him immobilized. They interrogate the Shell, and he mentions that his function is to help facilitate "Assembly." Data from the Vanguard indicates that several odd-looking ships passed by the Vanguard from the World's Fair over the last few years. Later analysis indicates the ships are modular. Later on, Dr. Arthur speaks to the Shell and discovers that he was abducted and turned into a cyborg when he was young. After making some small adjustments to him to ease his discomfort, Doctor Arthur and he form a brief emotional connection before his programming returns him to his drone-state. Later he regains his full movement and smashes his way through the ship, damaging Capt. Brown's jury-rigged railgun weapon and one of Priscilla's processors. The Shell warns them that they must stop "Assembly" then deactivates himself rather than let his programming make him kill Dr. Arthur.

In another cut-away scene, Vance finds himself in dire straits back on the World's Fair as the warriors now hunt him for his treatment of them. Admiral Beasley appears and demands an explanation from him. Their dialogue indicates that the mutiny on the Vanguard Explorer was part of some design of Beasley's and that Beasley is somehow connected, if not in control of, the O.T.Z. After Vance reveals he was defeated by the presumed-dead Capt, Brown Beasley leaves Vance to his fate, and returns to the Corsair. This scene is left out of some versions of the show.

Back on board Voyager, the crew have made repairs and discover how their spacecraft fits into a conspiracy concocted by the Outlaw Technology Zone and Admiral Beasley, the mastermind behind the entire plot (including the construction of Earth*Star Voyager, the selection of the crew, and the creation of the 'Shell'). The O.T.Z. ships, the Assembly, were stationed in a binary solar system to use the light from the stars upcoming alignment to give them sufficient power to join together and form an even more massive and heavily armed ship. A section of the completed Assembly was designed to allow Voyager to fit in near the bow.

Beasley's ship fires warning shots at Voyager to keep them on course to the Assembly, and then he reveals why he had chosen the best and the brightest the world had to offer to crew Voyager. He intended Voyager not to be an exploratory vessel but a colony ship. Joining the Voyager to the O.T.Z. Assembly would give Beasley the Bowman Drive and Priscilla. This would enable him to choose whom else would get to be part of his new Utopia, while leaving the rest of humanity to rot back on Earth.

However, the crew outwits Admiral Beasley and escapes (after a battle in which they use jury-rigged weapons, including a 'solar laser' (which can gather and redirect solar energies in a beam-like fashion), and the railgun built by Jake and Beanie). During the battle, Jake nearly sacrifices himself to hold together part of the electrical circuit that allows the railgun to be fired; he is saved by Sally. Aboard the Admiral's damaged vessel, the Triton Corsair, Admiral Beasley acknowledges Jonathan's skill as a commander, and promises that he will meet up with the crew of the Earth*Star Voyager again someday. There is an alternate scene of this in the 120-minute VHS version where Beasley is revealed to be some sort of robot or cyborg (or perhaps himself a Shell), while leaving out the promise dialogue.

Aboard the Earth*Star Voyager, Lani is found to be recovering from her injuries; Beanie and Luz (prodded by Priscilla) become a couple; it is strongly insinuated that Jake and Sally will become a couple; and Huxley is stunned to see that Priscilla (in human form) is a very beautiful woman. Beanie also reveals to Jonathan that he has decrypted the probe data and the crew sees that Demeter is a planet with striking similarities to Earth. The last line of the miniseries goes to Jake, who says, "You know, Captain, I think we oughta go check that place out..."

Additional information[edit]

Many of the lead actors (at least 6) were born in Canada.

The production was shot entirely in Vancouver Canada and partially filmed inside The Soviet Pavilion built for Expo '86.

While significant numbers of notes from fans since 2002 (and many more showing up as early as 1996), from various fan sites, show up constantly and ask why this show has not been released,...Disney has not responded giving the impression it will not release the show, in a digital format, to the public.

Some fans have called various departments and levels of the Disney corporation to find out availability. While Disney executives and lawyers deny such conversations existed, fans have stated they have been told by Disney Movie Sales Associates that the only place fans should even consider hope in obtaining the show is on bootlegged media.

Of the bootleg versions available, the lesser quality media has seemed to disappear over the years, while they do occasionally pop up from time to time. Of the higher quality versions, there still seem to be two different versions available. While both contain the entire broadcast movie, one version boasts a complete movie -minus the commercials and introductions -starring the former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner. The version without the commercials seems to be one of the better quality versions, and those who find private sellers occasionally end up with the semi-rare custom DVD artwork.

The show (240 minutes in 4 series) was screened by the Ostankino 2 channel in Russia in Winter 1993 in their 'Disney film classics' series on Fridays.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Earth*Star Voyager, Part 1 (1988)". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 

External links[edit]