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.
Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” continues tonight with the premieres of two new shows beginning at 9pm. Based on the promotional clips and show descriptions, the focus of tonight’s programs will center around shark attacks.
“Rogue Sharks” premieres at 9pm and will explore the theory that some sharks may go “rogue” and target humans as a food source. The show will combine historic shark attacks with scientific detective work to examine the “rogue shark” theory.
“Summer of the Shark” premieres at 10pm and will look back at “an unprecedented wave of shark attacks” that occurred off the eastern coast of Australia in 2008. Australia fisheries managers and shark researchers work to attempt to uncover the cause behind the attacks.
Some of the promotional clips for both of these shows feature warnings about containing attack reenactments with content of a “graphic nature,” which has drawn some criticism in the past. On a somewhat related note, The Vancouver Sun has a fairly well-balanced editorial on whether or not “Shark Week” is exploitative or educational.
DiscoveryNetworks YouTube Channel has released another round of promotional videos from Shark Week 2011. The clip is taken from “Killer Sharks: The Attacks of Black December” and portrays a rather gruesome shark attack reenactment. For anybody familiar with the film “Jaws,” there are more than a few noticeable similarities between this clip and the Alex Kintner scene.
Another clip from “Rogue Sharks” (also a part of this year’s “Shark Week”) features even more blood and gore. The clip from “Rogue Sharks” is narrated by the victim of a white shark attack who recounts his encounter. The victim was bitten twice and after the second bit the shark remained latched on to his leg.
Discovery’s “Shark Week” has faced criticism in the past for this kind of programming, and it seems that these types of shows are in the minority for this year’s “Shark Week.” So, do you think the style of programming seen in the clip above belongs on “Shark Week” or not? You can share your opinion the comments section.
I really like the second half of the video clip above from NatGeo Wild. It’s actually rich with information about how sharks locate meals. It also educates the audience about ampullae of Lorenzini, and the hammerhead shark’s unique head shape.
Unfortunately, the first half of the video contains ominous warnings about humans and hammerheads being on a “collision course,” because they happen to occupy the same body of water. This is followed by some relatively graphic “attack” footage that seems to be forced into the segment, as it really has nothing to do with the narrator’s discussion of the hammerhead shark. In fact, not long after the second instance of faux shark attack footage, the narrator asserts that the scalloped hammerhead sharks in question “don’t appear to look upon humans as a potential meal.”
The video does go on to redeem itself after the unnecessary “attack” footage, but it makes me wonder why the clip has scenes of panicking victims and bloody water, in the first place. I also question why the information describing the video refers to the hammerhead as a “vicious shark” who “never lets a human get between it and a tasty meal,” when the main theme of the video speaks to the contrary.
I’ve enjoyed National Geographic’s offerings ever since I can remember, and it was a National Geographic feature on white sharks that first piqued my interest in sharks when I was barely old enough to read. It makes me wonder if a young child were watching this clip whether they would be more likely to remember the worthwhile information in the second half of the clip or the scenes of an implied shark attack.
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores will be featuring Shark Week from July 26 through August 1. According to their website, Shark Week will “offer a close-up look at these mysterious and often misunderstood predators,” and will offer family-oriented activities including:
touching a bamboo shark
competing for prizes in Shark Jeopardy
classroom activities for children involving shark-related crafts and games
a chance to have your picture taken in the replicated jaws of a huge, prehistoric megalodon
viewing shark-feeding programs
talking to Aquarium divers as they swim with sharks in the Live Dive programs