The movie opens in outer space on a field of stars, so naturally the on-screen card reads "Outer Space 2082." Disney wanted to make certain you knew where this was taking place. Disney also seriously stretched this thing out by running the credits first with the names of the characters and their positions, then listing the actors afterward instead of combining all that information, causing composer Lalo Schifrin to pad out his snazzy synthesizer theme music.
This is one of those shows assembled from the Sci Fi Buffet: one part dismal Blade Runner-esque future where our heroes walk polluted rainy streets (shot in what looks like an indoor mall with a lot of mist and open umbrellas); one part Soylent Green's dwindling resources, crowded streets and rationed food supplies; but mostly several heaping helpings of Star Trek. Or rather, "Teen Star Trek", with young cadet types who range in age from 16 to 24 holding down the usual Enterprise bridge crew positions of captain, science officer, navigator, communications officer, and engineer. They are the crew of the titular spaceship Earth Star Voyager on one of those standard "Earth is falling apart, so we're looking for another planet to colonize" stories.
Writer Ed Spielman's script is very by the numbers with no surprises along the way. Instead of focusing on interesting character development it seems like Spielman spent more time coming up with the window dressing such as funny names for future food (veggie bio burger, nutra-shakes, thremo chips with amino sauce).
Despite being directed by veteran James Goldstone, who directed for the original Star Trek, and featuring the always engaging Duncan Regehr as a rogue space captain, this thing is a slog to get through: poorly acted by the pre-Disney Channel child stars, dull stock characters (some with goofy names like "Beanie" and "Huxley Welles"), and sub-par visual effects (that two foot long model spaceship shot in the dark at the beginning looks like a two foot long model spaceship shot in the dark). The main bridge set and several corridors look decent enough, so we know where they spent most of the budget.
Earth Star Voyager aired about four months after the syndicated premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and while the latter series certainly had its ups and downs in its first three years of production, the difference between the two shows is night and day. The Next Generation had better acting (none of these kids holds a space-candle to TNG's Wil Wheaton), more thoughtful stories, and a larger budget. Earth Star Voyager looks like a rebooted version of 1977's Saturday morning kid's show Space Academy compared to it.
Oh, and this cult gem has about the LONGEST plot write up I have ever seen on Wikipedia.