A Disney Channel
movie first aired in 1999, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century
is set in 2049 AD, where Zenon Kar (Kirsten Storms
) is a 13-year old who literally gets grounded as she is forced to leave her Space Station
home and live on Earth.
Although it never became a series as expected, it did spawn two Made-for-TV sequels.
This film provides examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: Zenon and her friends are the only ones who can save the Space Station from crashing. Only Zenon had the virus and her 13-year old friend managed to piece together an anti-virus so she can bring it to the Space Station, where all the adults are freaking out and have no idea how to fix the virus. In the movie, this trope is closely followed by Not Now, Kiddo
- Almost Kiss: Zenon and Greg are sitting side-by-side, facing the same direction, with awkward silence. Zenon tells Greg if he wants to kiss her he should get over it and just kiss her. After a pause, they both turn towards each other at the same time - and accidentally smash their faces into each other.
- Artificial Gravity
- Not really that farfetched, as the spinning rings of the Space station are used for maintaining gravity does have some basis in actual science. It's also much weaker than Earth's gravity, which makes it difficult for Zenon to function on Earth.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Selena, the moon spirit pretty much manages to scare off everyone off the moon in third sequel because "they were polluting her planet." It was just a little space dome at best and there was room for compromise. But nope, either it goes or she'll destroy Earth, she gets her way and the story presents this as a good thing. Yeah, no.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: In the sequel that introduces aliens, Zenon deduces that the aliens are good, with no irony, because their spaceship is too beautiful for them to be evil (one of the mooks described it as looking like a "flying rainbow"). She was right of course.
- Bigger on the Inside: The station.
- British Rockstar: Protozoa.
- Catch Phrase: "Zetus Lupetis!"
- Colorful Song: "Super Nova Girl", "The Galaxy is Ours".
- Computer Virus: How the villains of the first movie commit their Insurance Fraud scheme. Solved by Hollywood Hacking and reverse engineering.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Windham in the first movie; the people in charge of building the moon base in the third movie.
- De Fictionalization: Do the Zap pads remind you of something? Given that this movie takes place in the future it could also qualify as Truth in Television foresight.
- Defrosting the Ice Queen: Margie in the second movie.
- Demoted to Extra: Nebula in the third movie who only gets a (very badly green screened) cameo since she on vacation on Earth. On the upside, she's played by Raven-Symoné once again.
- Dramatic Alien VTOL: The aliens in the second movie have a very pretty space ship.
- Energy Beings: The aliens in the second movie, more or less.
- Future Music: The movie focused heavily on the music of a band called Microbe. This being a 1999 Disney Channel movie, their biggest song sounds exactly like modern light tween pop, except with lyrics such as — sing along, contemporaries, you know the words — "ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM, make my heart go BOOM BOOM, would you be my Super Nova Girl?"
- Better yet: "Interplanetary, megastellar, hydrostatic! There's no gravity between us, our love is automatic!"
- Future Slang: A particularly memorable example. Cetus lapetus, guys! The movie is totally stellunarious!
- Including names like "Zenon" and "Nebula", although both those naming conventions and much of the Future Slang are more common on the space station than Earth; in the first movie, one of Zenon's Earth teachers accidentally calls her another noble gas; "Radon". When Zenon corrects her, Margie mocks the weirdness of Zenon's name, giving the viewers the first hint that only people on the space station have Future Slang names. This is further enforced when we find out that other kids on Earth have names like Margie, Greg, and Andrew, and none of them use Future Slang either.
- Not to mention an entire song whose lyrics include nothing but future slang (i.e. a bunch of unrelated scientific terms all jammed together).
- If you listen to it, it actually does make sense, albeit in a pop song sort of way. It's not much sillier than the vague space imagery in "Don't Stop Me Now" or "Rocket Man" or a million other songs from the seventies.
- Sci-Fi Name Buzzwords: Most of the Future Slang is essentially a bunch of vaguely "space-y" terms blended together.
- Future Spandex: Many of the characters wear spandex and other form-fitting materials.
- Gravity Sucks: In the second movie, as soon as their power goes out, their shuttle starts falling towards the Moon.
- Green Aesop: The third movie appears to attempt to invoke this, except using the moon (and an angry moon spirit who literally tells Zenon that the humans are screwing everything up, as if Sage the moon environmentalist wasn't Anvilicious enough) as a stand-in for Earth. A bit strange considering the moon does not have any life forms...except for, apparently, the aforementioned grumpy moon spirit, who wasn't in any danger from the minor intrusion on her habitat.
- Hollywood Science
- The Metric System Is Here to Stay: Zenon is from a space station, but when she arrives on Earth, she explodes a test tube because she was thinking in Celsius when all the instructions were in Fahrenheit. In a science class.
- It could happen. The United States is one of the few nations in the world to still use non-Metric measurements at all, so it's possible that they'd use Fahrenheit in a classroom. Not everybody's as international as the people on the space station.
- Celsius is used for Science in the United States.
- In the present day it is- but apparently not in 2049, according to the movie.
- When the movie was made, science classes would use both American and Metric measurementsnote , but being able to do conversions between the systesms is a necessary skill in math and science classes... one which a student from a strictly-metric education program would of course lack.
- Never Say "Die": Invoked. In the first film, when Zenon's space station home is in danger of being destroyed, she says in anguish, "everyone up there will be...finished" (y'know, instead of "dead"). Also possibly averted in that she tells Nebula that everyone on the station is in "danger mortus", which a viewer who recognizes the Latin root in "mortus" could figure out means in danger of dying.
- The Other Darrin. Shadia Simmons replaces Raven as Nebula in the second movie. Zenon's parents in the second movie and Protazoa in the third movie.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Nebula, Protozoa and the Microbes. The villians of the first and third movies aren't much better off really.
- Prop Recycling: The station staff wore EarthForce uniforms from Babylon 5.
- Reality Ensues: Zenon ends up falling the first time she does anything energetic because she forgets that Earth gravity is not quite the same as her space station's artificial gravity.
- Say My Name: Plank's "ZEEEENOOOOOOOOOOOOONNN", which happens multiple times.
- Science Is Bad: The moon base in the third movie.
- Shout-Out: The aliens in the second movie initially communicating through musical tones is much like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Margie also mentions what happened to the alien in E.T. as a potential reason for the aliens wanting to meet in space.
- Space Is an Ocean: Deconstructed a bit. Zenon assumes that because she can 'swim' in space, that she knows how to swim in a pool for gym class. Reality Ensues and Greg ends saving her.
- Space Plane: All shuttles take off without any boosters and can apparently do so multiple times a day without needing maintenance.
- Space Suits Are SCUBA Gear
- Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: Space Station shot. There are a couple in all three movies.
- Tickle Torture: The force field around Protozoa's estate creates a similar sensation.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Strangely enough since the Disney Channel was entirely in charge of the trailer, the trailers for the third movie spoiled both the existence and true appearance of Selena the moon spirit, when quite a bit of the movie is Zenon trying to figure out her "viral moon dreams" and other weird supernatural things that keep happening to her. Oh, gee, it couldn't be that moon spirit the trailers showed, could it?
- Zeerust: Just look at the outfits.