Full disclosure. All the other shows in this series have one of two things in common. Either they were a childhood favorite of mine or a recent love. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Enterprise. And there’s a chance that, even if you’re a big Trek fan, you haven’t seen much of it either.
Enterprise has a hell of a bad reputation. Trek fans kind of hate it. And so, for a long time, I didn’t bother to give it the time of day.
I should have. Enterprise has all the same qualities as the other Star Trek shows. It’s got great storytelling, fun characters who grow and change as people. It’s funny, it’s smart. It has that same fast and loose hand with science that we’ve all come to love.
So why is it so disliked? And more importantly, how can you as a writer avoid these same traps?
It only makes sense to begin at the beginning. In this case, we’re talking about the theme song.
Oh, this theme song! It’s like someone ate the theme song for Full House and threw it back up.
Not only is the song a bad eighty’s pop ballad, but it also has nothing to do with the show. It doesn’t fit the style at all.
This alone was enough to throw people off. Okay, well what does that have to do with writing a book? Let’s compare a theme song to a cover. A cover is something that everyone tells you not to judge your books by, but you do.
Don’t feel bad, I do it too. And at least two books I’ve loved recently have caught my eye because of their cover.
Your cover matters. If you’re an indie writer, make good use of that. If you work with a publisher, then use whatever pull you have to make sure you love the cover.
Now, let’s talk about the ending. And by that, I mean the last episode. And I’m not going to lie, you this is a problem that a lot of shows seem to have. No one seems to know how to end a show without pissing everyone off.
I’m not talking about endings that weren’t supposed to be endings, like Chuck or Santa Clarita Diet. I’m talking about endings that knew damn well they were going to be ending. Like Game of Thrones or Roseanne. Shows that decided the best way to end was to kick their fans square in the junk.
That’s the kind of ending Enterprise has. And a bad ending is always bad for business.
I don’t mean a sad ending. A good sad ending can rip someone’s heart to pieces and they’ll thank you for it. Good examples of this are Flowers for Algernon or Lord of The Rings. No, I mean a lazy ending, that makes the reader or watcher feel dumb for putting so much time in. Or an ending that doesn’t make any sense. Anything that falls into categories like this.
It was all a dream.
The main character’s been in a coma.
The whole story took place in a little boy’s mind while he looked at a freaking snow globe.
It was all a playback on the holodeck.
These are things that make fans hate you. They make fans want to hurt. Since that’s legally frowned upon, they will do the next best thing. Trash you and your work all over the internet. And word of mouth matters.
Word of mouth, after all, is why I didn’t watch Enterprise for so long. I’d just heard too much bad about it to think it could be good. And that’s a really hard thing to get over.
That’s it for this time guys. Next week we’ll be talking about a new favorite of mine, Lower Decks.