Shark Week 2013: Two Fins Down

Picture courtesy of Caterpillar Publishing

Every summer I eagerly anticipate the first week of August. The first week of August signifies a lot of things: the beginning of my marine biology classes, the end of summer, and most importantly, Shark Week. I have religiously watched every season of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. I get so excited and eager for Shark Week to air that I can hardly contain myself.

This year I was so overwhelmingly disappointed with Shark Week that I decided I HAD to blog about it. Discovery Channel really dropped the ball this year not only in its content but also in its naming choices. Let’s start with names before I delve into the content. The names of the programs of Shark Week 2013 were as follows:

 Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives
Return of Jaws
Voodoo Sharks
I Escaped Jaws
Spawn of Jaws
Top 10 Sharkdown
Great White Serial Killer
Alien Sharks
Great White Gauntlet

Let’s take the “Megalodon” show first. If you watched the episode, then you would realize how ridiculous the title is as well as the content. The episode considered itself a documentary but it was more of a “mockumentary,” if you ask me. There was no conclusive evidence for the preposterous hypothesis that megalodons still exist. The common use of the term “theory” in the episode really got under my skin because they were not talking about theories— they were talking about hypotheses (or suggested explanations).

All of the titles, with the exception of “Alien Sharks,” give sharks a negative reputation when Shark Week is supposed to be about educating people about the nature, behavior and beauty of sharks. I’m sure the titles were supposed to be clever and catchy, but come on, Discovery, get your act together. Referencing the movie Jaws just instills fear in most people. The ONLY smart title that referenced Jaws was “Return of Jaws” because that program was about the return of great white sharks to Chatham, Massachusetts. This makes sense since the movie Jaws was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

“Return of Jaws,” “Spawn of Jaws” and “Alien Sharks” were the only decent programs that Shark Week aired this year. Focusing on changing the titles and adding more educational-based programs could really impact conservation efforts. This year definitely did not raise awareness of the docile and inquisitive nature of sharks. If people weren’t scared of sharks before seeing the playlist for Shark Week this year, they definitely would be afterwards.

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