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Star Runner leaves on its ninety year journey to the new world. On board, an elite young crew, and 550 settlers frozen in suspended animation.
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Silversun is a 2004 children/teenage sci-fi program produced for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It depicts an "elite young crew" who are travelling on a 90-year journey to a habitable planet referred to as Silversun or "the new world." It was cancelled after the cliffhanger final episode of its second season.


Tropes:

  • Absent Aliens: Initially, subverted in Episode 12 when they discover an alien after leaving the wormhole and briefly prior to that with Leonella's statement that they've found some primitive strands of DNA.
  • The Ace: Tane thinks he's this. See Small Name, Big Ego.
  • Ace Pilot: Tane, by the standards of the cadets (despite the above) - he excels in many high-stress situations and is often commended by higher-ranking members of the crew, although he still fluffs up a (thankfully simulated) docking manoeuvre due to having his mind on Leonella, and overdoes at least one other routine manoeuvre, requiring a deliberate corrective move to fix it.
  • Another Dimension: Accessed through the wormhole/s.
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    • Also the Technobabble explanation for the Just One Second Out of Sync effect which affects Cinnamon and Mara.
  • Aerith and Bob: The adults all have very standard English names (Aaron, Lillian, Steve and Karen). The kids' names vary from the slightly unusual but certainly heard of (Mara, Leonella) to variants of more common names (Zandie, presumably a form of Sandy) to the... odd (Pancha, Degenhart).
  • Artificial Limbs: Pancha's implant not only replaces the damage done to her brain in an accident - to the point that she's still a candidate for a space mission - but allows her to communicate directly with the computer, saving the mission on numerous occasions.
  • Betty and Veronica: Degenhart with Mara (Betty) and Zandie (Veronica). Though it's worth noting Deegs is friends with Zandie first and has more in common with her, whereas his relationship with Mara is a case of Opposites Attract.
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  • Book Dumb: Subverted with Zandie. See Hidden Depths below.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The result of the Mind Virus mentioned below.
  • The Captain/Big Good: Downplayed with Commander Cyriax. While he is a Reasonable Authority Figure and has his moments of making judgement calls, leading/guiding everyone innote  the right direction, and subtly teaching lessons to and aiding in the growth of the crew, he's not the focus of the show as The Leader and is given roughly the same amount of focus as the other characters, besides the story arcs which revolve around his exposure to the alien and ensuing condition. Most major problems are also solved by the characters working together, and multiple-part solutions contributed by multiple characters, with Cyriax coordinating and making final calls at best. Similarly, he's also portrayed as a flawed human, admitting to fear at one point, having a few casual moments, and occasionally responding to insubordination, other out-of-order behaviour, or other mission difficulties with a brief flare of tempernote  before cooling down and reverting to a more reasoned response and mindset.
  • Cloning Blues: Explored in depth and rather realistically with C2, later named "Will Power" by his choice, a medical clone of the Commander who starts out as a blank state with no brain activity whatsoever, but is then awoken and developed by various members of the crew. Unfortunately, his nature as a harvest clone eventually leads to an incurable degenerative disease.
  • Clones Are People, Too: The position advocated by Zandie, and eventually agreed upon to varying extents by the other members of the crew. Unfortunately, said clone's neurodegenerative disorder coupled with other crises leads to him taking one of several bittersweet at best options, although he is left with a remote chance of seeing the Earth.
  • Cool Starship: Star Runner is pretty freaking cool, inside and out.
  • Conflict Ball: Having No Antagonist leads to a lot of this. Zandie is a chronic possessor, but Deegs, Mara, Tane and Steve are also all pretty inclined to hold it.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Explored briefly through Pancha and her implant. Like many plot points and themes, the exploration of this is mainly confined to a dedicated episode, but Pancha's ambiguous emotions (and penchant for extreme rationality) are a recurring reminder.
  • Deflector Shields: Star Runner is equipped with these, which are mentioned several times and are finally seen saving it from at least one meteor impact in the Sargasso Disc.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Zandi with a bottle of champagne Cinnamon stole from her parents for her. It doesn't go very well.
  • Escape Pod: The Star Runner is equipped with a few, which are mentioned several times and put to several different uses in the series:
    • They house the flight simulators, which can be used to train for piloting the Star Runner, or the escape modules themselves... or to play combat sims for entertainment.
    • Lillian considers sending an ill Cyriax back to Earth in one. A Third Option is ultimately revealed and taken.
    • One is used as a tug in an attempt to push the Star Runner away from a jammed-on fuel barge. Will Power successfully completes this manoeuvre later, after circumstances become more urgent, then hijacks this life pod to attempt to return to Earth.
    • The plotline of an episode involves crossing the Andromeda Line, which marks the outer radius of the escape pods' range - returning to Earth in one is explicitly no longer possible past this point (although it is still possible to turn Star Runner itself around).
    • Cinnamon and Tycho accidentally launch one while fighting over the aforementioned simulator. They are thankfully promptly recovered as soon as the unauthorized launch is noted.
    • An Escape Pod is used to ferry personnel to the Infinity while attempting rescue and repair operations.
  • First-Name Basis: Everyone except Commander Cyriax. Some characters' surnames are only available on the official ABC website.
  • Foil: Infinity and Commander Darius to Star Runner and Commander Cyriax. While the Star Runner handled a mutiny/protest well overall, with the crew putting it aside and returning to action in a crisis involving a wormhole, it is implied Infinity did not, with poorly handled discontent among the crew mentioned followed by a seemingly preventable or even deliberately caused asteroid impact leading to it being unable to escape its own wormhole encounter without crippling damage, and only actually getting back thanks to Strega's insubordination (see Jerkass Has a Point on YMMV).
  • Foreshadowing: Leonella mentioning the aforementioned "few strands of primitive DNA" indicates that it's possible for alien life to exist on the other side of the wormhole, and thus foreshadows the alien being which mentally influences the Commander.
    • Another version, through Irony, which also doubles as a Rewatch Bonus: When Tane makes fun of Tycho for seeing the alien on the hull, when no-one else believes him, everything Tane says about the alien's nature is actually true (besides it eating little kids) - it is unfriendly, can speak to humans - infected ones, at least - and does want to take over the ship (if only so it can return home).
  • Future Food Is Artificial: The D-Room food.
  • Genius Bruiser/Badass Bookworm: Hard Targets were deliberately selected and trained to be this. Zandie certainly follows through, kicking Leonella's ass in a sparring match and often being seen practicing (and generally winning). She's also, unfortunately for Cyriax, one of the most mutinous and challenging members of the crew, leading an actual mutiny at one point. Fortunately, she's also decisive in a crisis and saves the mission at least twice, often with knowledge and trivia you wouldn't expect her to have (or have retained) from her pre-mission emergency contingency training, as well as having the skills to take over for Pancha as computer officer.
  • Hidden Depths: Zandie. You might expect someone of her personality (and vaguely implied background) to be Book Dumb, but her tidbits of knowledge become important at several key momentsnote , and she is even capable of taking over from Pancha as the Computer Officer when it becomes necessarynote .
  • Hologram: The holophone room, which features all the signs of this trope: opacity, emitter, and frequent clipping (presumably to remind the young audience of who is real and who is a hologram).
  • Impossibly Mundane Explanation: The eponymous alien of "Alien Presence" turns out to be Squirt, a cat that Tycho smuggled onboard.
  • In It for Life: Part of the drama and premise of the show, since the mission/journey to the New World is 90 years long, and if everything goes as planned, there's no reasonable way off or backnote . Especially when it seems two crew members will have to return to Earth with a critically ill Commander Cyriax.
  • Invisible Main Character: The "out of phase" version of this is caused by an interaction between dark matter gravity waves and the ship's grav-lifts, temporarily rendering Cinnamon and Mara (plus a plate of biscuits and two waterbottles) thus.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Zandie being reanimated and joining the crew of Star Runner.
  • Left Hanging: As the second series ended on a major cliffhanger and there wasn't a third series.
  • Meaningful Name: Pancha, which is a Spanish colloquialism for "calm", "unworried", or "unruffled", befitting Pancha's role as The Spock.
  • The Mole: Tane Wilson for Strega, late in the series.
  • Mind Virus: Cyriax is infected with one which tries to make him return the Star Runner to the wormhole.
  • No Loves Intersect: Almost. Apart from the Zandie/Degenhart/Mara Love Triangle, the cast pairs up remarkably neatly: Tane and Leonella, Sheng and Pancha, Steve and Karen. The exception is Lillian and Cyriax, but they share a reasonable amount of Ship Tease and one kiss.note 
  • No Antagonist: Most of the time. Conflicts are generated either from space phenomena they encounter, or interpersonal conflict within the crew, but there's no set antagonist and everyone generally gets Sympathetic P.O.V.. The only are exceptions are Cyriax in the arc where he's possessed by an alien virus and Julian Strega in the last few episodes.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Downplayed, as they're in uniform most of the time anyway, but what we see of the kids' casual clothes is pretty rooted in mid-2000's aesthetics. If nothing else, Sheng's hair probably dates the series pretty precisely.
  • No Seatbelts: The second time they go through the wormhole, with full knowledge of the level of turbulence that occured the first time, the characters not actually flying the ship are either standing around consoles on the bridge or sitting in random areas of the floor hugging each other. Worse, they sleep in bunks with no side rails. In the middle of a room. On a spaceship.
  • Not Himself: Cyriax, courtesy of the alien virus.
  • Our Dark Matter Is Mysterious: It's actually pretty realistically portrayed at first, as a gravitic force and very large mass which threatens Star Runner via collision and is only detectable via its gravity and radiation (which causes unusual sounds in the ASCO). Things get a bit weirder when an interaction between its gravity field and the ship's grav-lifts causes a Just One Second Out of Sync effect. Visually, it's shown as large purple crystals the Star Runner weaves between, but it's made fairly clear via the dialogue that the crew of the Star Runner cannot see it, and that this is a visual representation.
  • Oven Logic: While neither incident involves an oven, Tycho (and Cinnamon in the second case) apply this a couple of times, with adverse results every time:
    • Giving plants three times the recommended quantity of fertilizer almost killed them, requiring some quick thinking from Sheng to save the harvest.
    • While running the ultrasonic uniform cleaner on its highest possible setting DID clean the clothes faster, it also charged them with static electricity, resulting in some Slapstick and a dressing-down from their parents.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Played with. Leonella thinks this is is going on with Lillian and Cyriax in one episode. But it isn't. Allegedly.
  • Plot Hole: Late in the series, a computer virus is found to have affected the ship's navigation, and it is determined that it must have been written using someone's PIDnote , then uploaded. Which is all well and good... except that the reason they come to this conclusion is Pancha's statement that when she's on the bridge, she has no time to do anything else. Never mind that she's been seen using bridge time to discuss personal relationships, use the bridge computer to calculate personal relationships, use the bridge computer to create what was essentially a Virtual Paper Doll... there are plenty of moments when the only crew member(s) on the bridge aren't doing anything related to their jobs (besides keeping lookout) and the ship still runs fine. Going by these observations, it would have been easily possible for either Tane or Zandie to have coded the virus while working on the bridge.
    • On a vaguely related matter, in an earlier episode, Sheng cites a protocol stating that there must be two people on the bridge at all times, in case of emergency. However, this never seems to be a problem at any other time, including one moment when Commander Cyriax himself offers to dismiss the only other crew member on the bridge, then leaves himself - explicitly for the purposes of recreation - when they state they'd be happy to remain.note 
      Cyriax: In that case, a spot of fishing.
  • Reverse Polarity: Channelling the Star Runner's neutrino scanners allows Zandie to shoot down an entire pulsar to save Pancha's life.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Fluctuates - on one hand, the journey to the Silversun is 90 years long. However, they're "halfway across" the Milky Way after two years and must therefore be exceeding the speed of light, but they frequently count down distance to incoming objects, for example, in tens or hundreds of kilometres, which would pass in an instant at this speed.
  • Sixth Ranger: Zandie, who is reanimated from cryonic suspension a couple of episodes into the series, and has trouble integrating with the rest of the crew.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Downplayed with Tane. He really is an excellent pilot, by the standards of the crew, and can be decisive, but isn't the shoo-in candidate for leadership and one-man mission-saving show he thinks he is.
  • Space Cadet: All the crew except for the adults. They seem to have remarkably little contact with their families.
  • Space Is Magic: Not only do aliens and wormholes exist, the crew are remarkably willing to fly through unknown phenomena such as a "solar fog", even when Cyriax openly admits that they're going where no man has gone before.
  • Space People: Cinnamon and Tycho fit this trope to some extent - unlike the other crew who were handpicked for their skills, they're only onboard because their parents are both part of the mission. They were presumably about eight and six years old respectively at the start of the mission and tend to have fewer cravings for Earth compared to the rest of the crew.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Zandie. Knowing basic engineering is certainly reasonable and sensible, and the sort of thing to-be settlers would be taught. But while it's the sort of thing Zandie would learn, would new settlers really be taught last-resort starship manoeuvres?note  Zandie learning ballroom dancing from her gran is also something of an eyebrow-raiser, although it's certainly plausible her personality was different back then, and/or she loved and respected her gran enough to do it anyway. Last but certainly not least, knowing enough to take over for the computer officer designated by Earth command (and presumably specially trained before the mission)? It's a cool plotline, but uhh...
  • Tagalong Kid: Cinnamon & Tycho
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Pancha, when she comes to believe she's missing out on life while devoting all her energy and attention and headspace (in more ways than one) to being the Computer Officer. She eventually realizes she does in fact enjoy and fit well in the role.
  • Time Stands Still: When entering the wormhole, though oddly only the clocks and computer freeze.
  • Transhuman: Pancha.
  • Virus Victim Symptoms: Cyriax when he gets bitten by the alien.
  • Walking Transplant: C2 is a rather realistically handled variant - he is a full-body clone of Commander Cyriax, but had never been awokennote  prior to Zandie's intervention and was never intended to be.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Despite being completely unarmed and purely defensive, Star Runner manages to shoot down a pulsar this way by combining the power of its neutrino-based scanners, although it's implied that pulsars are especially weak to such an attack and it wouldn't do much to other targets.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Mara saving Zandie from heatstroke in a broken lift, despite spending the whole episode furious at her, since Deegs left her for Zandie the previous episode.
  • Zeerust: Avoided to a remarkable degree (as of 2012). For example, the computer is described as having "billions of gigabytes" of data, in a context (2004) where the general public wasn't really familiar with the idea of a "gigabyte".


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