Shark Week 2012 lineup looks promising for 25th anniversary

Will the Shark Week 2012 programming will give sharks something to smile about?

Entertainment Weekly has published this year’s programming lineup for Discovery’s Shark Week. Shark Week 2012 will mark the 25th anniversary of the week-long shark-themed television event.

In recent years, the network has drawn some criticism for some of its sensationalistic programming, some of which played out more like horror movies than educational programming. However, based on EW‘s description of the new lineup, it looks promising that this year’s programming will focus less on blood and gore and more on educational shark documentaries.

  • “Air Jaws Apocalypse” looks to follow in the footsteps of previous “Air Jaws” shows featuring Chris Fallows at Seal Island as he documents white shark predation events.
  • “Shark Week’s 25 Best Bites” does not have a synopsis but presumably will be a “best of” type show counting down some of the top moments in Shark Week history over the past 25 years.
  • “MythBusters’ Jawsome Shark Special” will feature the hosts from Discovery’s Mythbusters analyzing the top-25 shark myths.
  • “Sharkzilla” will  the Mythbusters team attempting to recreate the prehistoric Megalodon.
  • “How Jaws Changed the World” will take a look at the impact of the 1975 blockbuster “Jaws”  on society.
  • “Shark Fight” will chronicle shark attack survivors who have gone out to fight for shark conservation awareness.
  • “Great White Highway” will focus on research and technology being used to track white sharks in real-time.
  • “Adrift: 47 Days with Sharks” rounds out the week of programming with a story of survival from two American pilots who spent 47 in the waters of the Pacific Ocean after their plane crashed into the water.

Nowhere to be seen in the 2012 progamming are titles like “Top 5 Eaten Alive,” “Killer Sharks,” “10 Deadliest Sharks,” or any other programming that hints at re-creations of “Rogue Sharks” wreaking havoc on unsuspecting coastal communities.

Perhaps, those who have become jaded with Discovery’s Shark Week programming choices over the past few years will be drawn back to the week-long shark celebration with this year’s lineup.

7 comments

  1. drudown says:

    While perhaps politically incorrect, I for one am exceedingly disappointed with the proposed lineup. Like the roman citizens wanting blood in the gladiator arena, so too, do the vast majority of viewers want to see Shark Week recreate documented instances of human predation. Our fear of man-eating sharks is verily written upon the coil of our genes, and for this reason, most of us are transfixed at some level with sharks. Do we really need to hear the same unfounded, shopworn argument that JAWS is the reason why people fear sharks? If it were even remotely true, I would feel differently. But just as the term “wolfing” down food accurately describes how wild canids consume food for fear of losing a kill to competitors, the term “shark” accurately describes an opportunistic predator incapable of empathy or remorse.

    The irony, of course, is that much of the “awareness” that politically correct Shark Week programming proffers has no real relevance to shark sociobiology, e.g., nobody can credibly contend that, for example, but for JAWS, humans wouldn’t fear White sharks or have a predisposition to hunt them. History is replete with instances proving Homo sapiens has a predisposition to hunt and kill man-eating predators- which presumably explains why most sharks are wary of us…save when we are stranded in the open ocean.

    That “bump” from below is what drives our fearful emotion.

    The documented fatalities previously recounted by Shark Week are the undisputed data that unequivocally proves sharks are man-eaters. And not just the usual suspects. Many of USS Indianapolis sailors that survived the Japanese attack succumbed to Silky sharks and other sharks we are conditioned to believe “fear us more than we fear them.”

    Uh, no.

  2. Paul says:

    Drudown – appreciate your comments, and the psychology is fascinating of fear.

    But sharks “Man eaters”? Not really. Attacks, or accidents as they used to be known are a fact.

    But making out they are deliberate, or for sharks consumptive purposes, is nowhere to be seen in competent science.

    Besides the fact that sharks’ populations are being decimated annually by fishing and finning – it’s my view that sharks need protection, and not shown as “feeding frenzied monsters.”

    It’s simply misleading and damaging to the huge conservation effort being currently undertaken.

    Keep up your interest in sharks though – they are awesome and voracious predators. And they do kill people. I do admit to that. But not in any order of magnitude to the amount of “fear press” attract. I watch it too admittedly – like watching a car crash – mortality is fascinating.

    Cheers.

  3. Michael says:

    “But making out they are deliberate, or for sharks consumptive purposes, is nowhere to be seen in competent science.”

    Yes, most shark attacks have been provoked by humans or were a case of mistaken identity – but not all of them. In rare cases, it really does seem a shark deliberately targeted a human for consumptive purposes. These rare cases have been thoroughly investigated and documented by the ISAF.

  4. drudown says:

    @ Paul

    I don’t really see how any competent scientific inquiry could dispassionately conclude White/Oceanic Whitetip/Tiger/Bull sharks are anything other than man-eaters. Maybe you could expound upon how the data shows anything otherwise? All these pelagic sharks are opportunistic, GENERALIST feeders that have been ALWAYS known to prey on human beings- a known, tertiary prey item.

    Conspicuously, you seem to presuppose that human “psychology” has any probative value to the threshold inquiry, i.e., sharks are “man-eaters”. I see that as mere form over substance and underscores how infected marine biology has become by faulty thinking. In other words, how human beings perceive actual threats (e.g., whether Lloyd Skinner being consumed alive by a White sharks off Fish Hoek, South Africa or cigarettes causing a person to die from cancer developed from long term use) does not actually undo or ameliorate the underlying risk to human health. The risk is either there, or it is not there.

    What, do you expect an educated human being such as myself to uncritically adopt your faulty thinking without reason and analysis? I find it very telling that you start from the unfounded position that a shark biting into a human being is anything but a deliberate act of consumption. The law of parsimony works and is. When a large predatory fish takes large bites out of an edible, seafaring primate…there is no scientific reason other than consumption. The aforementioned sharks are not territorial and render zero maternal care. They don’t attack humans in a predatory fashion for any proven reason whatsoever other than consumption and, to be sure, speculative gibberish such as “mistaken identity” theory is “nowhere to be seen in competent science”.

    If you recreated the “experiment” of 120+ Haitian immigrants capsizing in the Florida Straits (as occurred on May 4, 2007), goes what: the same man-eating sharks would arrive on cue to the maritime disaster and chomp their way to the truth that you would like to relegate into obscurity through unscientific revisionist theory.

    So you can pay lip service all day to “competent science” but you are going to have to apply known science to the data in order to persuade educated folk that you are anything other than spinning yarn in order to condition people to, what, believe a lie?

    Spare me the “bee sting” mortality rates and “feeding frenzy monster”, straw man arguments.

    Let’s debate.

    I can remove flesh from your feeble limbs like a Bull shark…

    yum yum

    it tastes great

  5. drudown says:

    Ps. Just to clarify, I don’t lump benign investigatory “mouthing behavior” by White sharks or small nips by, say, Spinner sharks off Miami beach with actual instances of predation- nor can one point to “docile” shark behavior at baited cage dives as being sociobiologically relevant to understanding the predatory behavior or sharks. So please speak to the underlying behavior- not red herrings.

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