Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century is a 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie, starring Kirsten Storms as the eponymous heroine, and directed by Kenneth Johnson. The film was based on the book Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century written by Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen. The film was originally conceived as a pilot for a potential television series. The film was the first under the Disney Channel Original Movie banner to produce a sequel, Zenon: The Zequel (2001). A third and final installment was also produced, Zenon: Z3 (2004).
The year is 2049 and Zenon Kar is a 13-year-old girl who lives with her family on an Earth-orbiting space station. After getting into trouble with the space station's commander, Edward Plank, Zenon's parents punish her by sending her to Earth to live with her Aunt Judy. On Earth, Zenon experiences trouble fitting in with other kids, who consider her name, space-station stories and slang to be weird. Likewise, Zenon considers the children at her school woefully out of touch with pop culture. Homesick, Zenon often communicates with her best friend on the space station, Nebula Wade, via a video phone tablet. Eventually, Zenon makes friends on Earth with two boys, Andrew and Greg (with whom she develops a relationship). Along the way the kids learn to be more accepting of one another and to look past first impressions.
During her time on Earth, Zenon uncovers a plot masterminded by station bigwig Parker Wyndham to use a computer virus to crash the space station. When Zenon tries to warn her parents of the danger, Commander Plank, who sees all children as troublemakers, convinces Zenon's parents not to listen to her. Plank believes that her story is only a ploy to get back onto the space station to attend an upcoming concert by her idol Proto Zoa and his pop-rock group Microbe.
Andrew and Greg join in to help Zenon find a way to save the people on the space station. Andrew creates a computer anti-virus, but Zenon must get Andrew's disk to the space station. Zenon goes to the launch yard, hoping to sneak onto a rocket to the space station. Proto Zoa, who is about to depart from the concert, recognizes Zenon from a "Dance with Proto Zoa" contest and has her and Aunt Judy join him on the launch to the station. Upon arrival, Commander Plank is shocked to see Zenon, but lets her stay when he becomes smitten with Aunt Judy. Plank still won't believe Zenon's story, especially when Wyndham accuses her of trying to sabotage the station. Zenon manages to load Andrew's anti-virus program on the station's computers in time. Wyndham is arrested with his assistant Lutz while everyone else enjoys the Microbe concert.
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was a failed pilot for a proposed television series. It was directed by Kenneth Johnson. The film was produced by de Passe Entertainment for cable television's Disney Channel, and executive produced by Suzanne de Passe and Suzanne Coston.
Filming began in August 1998, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rocket launch yard scenes were filmed at the Plaza of Nations.
Zenon was originally slated to air on the Disney Channel in December 1998, but ultimately premiered on January 23, 1999. Walt Disney Home Video released it on VHS in September 2000.
The film is available on iTunes and Google Play.
The special edition Version on VHS has a Bonus Feature of Disney’s Travelers.
The film was followed by Zenon: The Zequel (2001) and Zenon: Z3 (2004).