The Earth Star Voyager is a spaceship sent to another solar system to prepare it for colonization. Earth itself is horribly polluted, so the mission is vitally important. But as the ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Jacob Brown - Former Commander
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Jonathan Hays - Command Specialist
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Sally Arthur, MD - Space Medicine
Jason Michas ...
Jessie Bienstock - Computer Sciences
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Huxley Welles - Navigation (as Tom Breznahan)
Margaret Langrick ...
Luz Sansone - Communication
Sean O'Byrne ...
Vance Arthur
Peter Donat ...
Admiral Beasley
Ric Reid ...
Capt. Forbes
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Willy
Dinah Gaston ...
Lani Miyoai - Communication
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Leland Eugene, MD - Psychiatrist
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Trager
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Whistlestick
Stephen Dimopoulos ...
The Crier
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Storyline

The Earth Star Voyager is a spaceship sent to another solar system to prepare it for colonization. Earth itself is horribly polluted, so the mission is vitally important. But as the departing starship gets under way, signs begin to emerge that their mission may unwittingly be part of a larger conspiracy. Written by Ben Hallert <hallert@mediaone.net>

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17 January 1988 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Bresnahan's character is called Huxley Welles. It's a nod for two Sci-Fi writers, Aldous Huxley and H.G. Wells (adding an 'e' in Wells). Both are famous by novels about distopic futures: Huxley by "Brave New World" (published in 1932) and Wells by "The Time Machine" (published in 1895). See more »

Goofs

The ship supposedly catches up with radio waves broadcast from Earth in the past. However, their objective was only 18.7 light years away. Especially since they had only begun the trip, they should not have received any broadcasts older than a few weeks or months old. The broadcasts they received range from 1927 to 1987, which should have been 101-161 light years from Earth by the year 2088, more than five times the distance to Demeter. Also, because light cannot vary speed, they would not have caught up to all the broadcasts at once. The broadcasts would have gradually gotten older as they traveled further from Earth. (Additional note: There is no reason to suspect that the intercepted radio signals were original broadcasts; although that is the aside made in the movie. These could be rebroadcasted (reruns) programs from Earth on the same day in the same spatial direction.) See more »

Quotes

Adm. Beasley: [stares intently at Earth Star Voyager on his radar after receiving the report that Earth Star Voyager had a SHELL on board, retrieved from the derelict Vanguard Explorer]
Adm. Beasley: Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan. Why did you let that THING aboard your ship?
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Like the Science Fiction of Robert A. Heinlein
2 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was just out of kindergarten when this was originally broadcast, but someone at my house taped it, and I remember watching it over and over again before the tape was erased. I think this movie must have inspired my long-running interest in science fiction - it had a very strong impression on me when I was young. It had much of the spirit of the novels written by Robert A. Heinlein in the 1950s, which were tight, inspiring futuristic stories about young adults and their adventures in space travel. Like those novels, the future described in this film didn't seem like pulp; it was highly believable. Additionally, this movie has a quality long absent from science fiction: a respect for real scientists and engineers. Unknown to many people, the literary origins of science fiction were attempts to interest young people in science/engineering fields through the medium of fiction. As I read just yesterday, the government is funding a project to promote the sciences in Hollywood films in order to recruit young people to a quickly-dwindling field. Maybe they should re-release "Earth Star Voyager?!"

For years, this was in the back of my head, but I just assumed it a completely lost and forgotten TV film until I found bits and pieces of info. about it recently online. I finally found a bootleg of it on ebay from an original video someone had taped back in '88 and decided to relive a part of my childhood. The result: it holds up surprisingly well 17 years later.

Reading all the reviews here of people with fond memories of this now-forgotten gem, I realize that the central quality of the movie was its writing and characterizations. The writing especially: as I watched it again, I found myself remembering immediately many lines from this movie which I hadn't heard for years - they were that good. I have long maintained that solid writing and strong characters are the keys to great film-making; special effects and other things are important, too, but these two key ingredients were present here, and that is why I believe people remember this so well almost two decades later. The special effects do hold up rather well - probably because they were the work of Hollywood effects veteran Robert Edlund. Also, film composer Lalo Schifrin contributed what, in my opinion, is his best musical score.

In fact, doing some research on IMDb.com, I discovered that the director of this was a seasoned veteran of television going all the way back to "Rawhide" in the 1950s, "The Fugitive", and even a few classic episodes of "Star Trek." The writer was the creator of the TV series "Kung Fu." Obiously, some top-notch talent was involved. It's a shame that none of the actors or actresses went on to significant accomplishments beyond forgettable TV and B-movies - except for Henry Kingi, who played the Borg-like Shell. He is a popular Hollywood stuntman to this day in such films as "Constantine" and "The Matrix Reloaded," and he did display a true presence in ESV.

The creativity at work here was definitely on a par with the original "Star Trek" series - another work which had dozens of visionary ideas in addition to memorable characterizations. "Star Trek" eventually got resurrected times ten, and I think Disney is long overdue in releasing this on DVD in the U.S. (which it never did on VHS, either). It seems to me that a great deal more work went into this than the typical forgettable TV pilot (Disney CEO Michael Eisner even appeared in two television introductions on the set), and yet somehow Disney/Buena Vista just abandoned this. I personally emailed the company requesting a release, and received a reply stating that they are taking it into consideration. Hopefully, this has gotten the ball rolling.


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