Once again this August I sat down to set my DVR to record Shark Week. This has been a tradition for me for most of my life. I have been watching Shark Week every year for the past 17 years. Back in those days I was just 11 years old and had to call my dad and remind him to set the VCR to record every night. Oh and I did call every night! I remember sitting down to watch hour long shows about exactly how the science of a shark’s electroreception worked. I remember a show that focused on different internal organs that are unique to sharks as they performed an necropsy on a shark that had died in a shark net. I remembered watching gorgeous programs about blue sharks, white sharks, tiger sharks, sandtiger sharks, even the nurse shark. All of them were visually stunning and educational to boot. It inspired in me a burning desire to know more. For years I ravenously watched every shark program I could find and I scoured my local bookstore for the latest shark related science book. Every year I anxiously anticipated what new and amazing thing Discovery Channel would delight me with that year. I found myself over the years answering questions posed by the show before the experts could or even arguing with the experts on television on why I believed their conclusion to be flawed.
But the past 4 or 5 years, Shark Week just hasn’t been the same. Oh there’s still the obligatory conservation commercials about protecting sharks but everything else is sensationalism, sensationalism, and more sensationalism. It dismays me. the last 2 years I have resorted to recording everything on Nat Geo Wild’s Shark Fest instead because while the programs may all be reruns at least it’s something that isn’t just cotton candy for my brain. I can find no excuse for what I see on my DVR this year Discovery Channel, and it’s insulting to my intelligence.
– Megalodon: Similary to DC’s “mockumentary” about mermaids last year on Animal Planet this was embarrassing. They attempted, poorly, to pass this off as an actual truthful program and it was laughable. First, their “scientist” Collin Drake doesn’t exist. I scoured the interwebs for him and there is no One Tree Hill look alike scientist with that name anywhere. The closest I got was a software engineer on Facebook. Similarly the female scientist that tags the supposed “megalodon” also doesn’t exist anywhere on the internet except in relation to this program. They talk about a fishing vessel of Americans that went down in South Africa under mysterious circumstances and no bodies or survivors were recovered. Strangely, no such news report exists. Gee, I would think that might be newsworthy, wouldn’t you? Then they show photos of a whale carcass with its tail bitten of in a clear shark bite, those photos don’t exist online either. The only real scientist I could connect to this program was Mike Bhana. Add to this the lightning fast disclaimer at the end “no entities or organizations named in this program endorse its contents. Some portions of this program have been dramatized.” Aka, it was all bullshit.
– Shark After Dark Live: Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! You have some drunk, shirtless redneck loser with moonshine on there talking about his show and sharks. You have a host who is completely toasted and a moron to boot. Then a cutely dressed girly announcing all the latest and greatest social media activity who is so drunk I worried that she might fall right off her stool. Plus you have the only real expert from the Megalodon program, Mike Bhana, who says without 30 seconds of the show open…megalodon is not real, period end of sentence. I can’t stop laughing now, I think I actually felt my brain shrink a little during that hour.
Air Jaws Part 429: So we seriously need another edition of this garbage? It was interesting the first time but it’s just old news now. Nothing interesting here, move on.
To move further along the sensationalism road, this week we have Return of Jaws, Voodoo Shark, I Escaped Jaws, Spawn of Jaws, Great White Serial Killer, and Sharkpocalypse. My God, am I watching SyFy and their next big idea after Sharknado?!
If Discovery Channel was even the least bit interested in education and conservation of sharks why not do a documentary on shark finning, that is killing hundreds of millions of sharks per year? Why not a program about how shark nets are negatively impacting dozens of marine species for the illusion of safety? Why not send out an expedition to try and find Great White’s birthing grounds? Why not do a program about the real liklihoods of attack and how to avoid one?
I am just about at the end of my patience with Discovery Channel. I think their head is so far wedged up their collective ass that they’ll never recover. RIP Shark Week, I guess it’s reruns of Shark Fest for me next year.