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For the life of me, I CANNOT recall the name of this show, only the pilot episode and premise. A teenager watches his scientist Uncle attempt to use a roughly SUV sized vehicle to bore to the center of the earth through a volcano. However, the test seems to fail and he disappears. Years later, the boy, now grown, designs a massive version of the ship and, with either governmental or corporate backing, puts together a team of people [3 guys, 2 girls, plus himself, I think] who board the ship and use it to get to the earth's core, discovering a whole hidden world underneath.

There seems to be a deformed villain and odd creatures in this pilot. Also, the young man holds onto his Uncle's ring as a keep sake. It had similar special effects to Sea Quest: DSV but came out perhaps 3 or more years before.

Any idea what this was?

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It sounds like you are looking for the 1993 telefilm of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Per Wikipedia:

A team of explorers sets on a voyage to the earth's core, following an earlier attempt years before. Their ship, Avenger, enters the lava chamber of an active volcano and uses an energy ray called a "sonic blaster" to blast through the flow. They enter in a subterranean world over 100 kilometers below the Earth's surface. The place is filled with many strange creatures. As they explore deeper into the underground caverns they encounter a yeti which the crew named Dallas that serves as their guide. Meanwhile, an unknown malevolent entity is attempting to recover the missing pieces of an Atlantean artifact known as the "book of knowledge" one of which a crew member of the Avenger brought with him, that will supposedly give massive powers to whoever possesses it.

The fact that the main characters are making the second stab at exploring the Earth's interior, "following an earlier attempt years before," is one of the features that is fairly specific to this version.

The whole film is on YouTube:

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This sounds like the 1993 TV movie version of Journey to the Center of the Earth, which is different from the 2008 movie with Brendan Fraser.

Cast Title image

From the plot synopsis on Wikipedia

A team of explorers sets on a voyage to the earth's core, following an earlier attempt years before. Their ship, Avenger, enters the lava chamber of an active volcano and uses an energy ray called a "sonic blaster" to blast through the flow. They enter in a subterranean world over 100 kilometers below the Earth's surface. The place is filled with many strange creatures. As they explore deeper into the underground caverns they encounter a yeti which the crew named Dallas that serves as their guide.

This seems to be the only movie of this genre that talks about entering through a volcano, and it has strange creatures including a yeti.

I haven't checked out the quality, but I found a link to an uploaded copy on YouTube:

  • Note: there is a previous unaccepted answer for this to a very similar question: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/56572/101407 – DavidW Jun 5 at 3:36
  • Thank you! This seems to be it specifically! – Russhiro Jun 7 at 11:33
  • @RussRainford If this is correct, you can select the checkmark under the voting arrows at the top of the answer to mark it as correct; that way in future people will easily be able to see that it's the right answer. – DavidW Jun 7 at 12:16
  • Thank you. Noted, and done. I only now realize Mr. Tuvok was in this film. – Russhiro Jun 10 at 4:27

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