Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why Shark Week is Awesome

As you may know, here in the US, the Discovery Channel is running its annual Shark Week.

It's when channels such as it and Animal Planet devote much of its programming to Sharks. Sure, there is shark-centered programming year round, but this is the one week out of the year where they show EVERYTHING they have about sharks, with lots and lots of hype and advertising. There has been rarely a year where it didn't disappoint. They also re-theme all their major shows around Shark Week, like Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, and that one episode of Cash Cab where the cab the contestants were riding in plunged into shark infested waters.

Sadly, as I'm not on top of mainstream TV advertising and I don't pay attention to TV guides anymore, I had no idea it even WAS Shark Week this week until I saw people's Facebook status saying "Watching Shark Week!" That's when I go "OMG, SHARK WEEK!!1!" And I proceed to watch in awe, even if there are only 4 new shows total and the rest are reruns. The fact that they got Malcom MacDowell to narrate a few of these shows doesn't hurt at all.

Thanks to the movie Jaws, most of the programming is devoted to Great Whites. Sure, they cover many other sharks, but they focus on the Great Whites mostly because other shark species haven't randomly swum into New Jersey rivers to attack people for some reason. They sometimes focus on Tiger sharks, who are mostly dicks, as well as the Whale Shark simply because it's the biggest damn fish in the water. Smaller shark species, like Bull, Nurse, Hammerhead, Sandbar and Galapagos have been featured in programming mostly to compare it to Whites. "Oh, these sharks are plentiful around here, but these things get emasculated by the freaking huge Great Whites that show up around here!"

Most of the Great White programming this year deals with these topics: their eating habits, their migration, seeing if they'd attack a cardboard seal decoy, and their tendency to JUMP OUT OF THE FREAKING WATER. It gets repetitive, but awesomeness always seems to trump that. But speaking of Jaws, it's that freaking movie that pretty much made me stop going to the beach. Specifically, it was Quint's bloody death that did me in, and that one scene was what cemented an irrational fear of "sharks are always watching, even in the pool." The tendency for shark programming showing their scale compared to humans didn't help my cause. Of course, now I think it's awesome, but I still can't watch Jaws when I know Quint's about to bite it.

If you're wondering what my favorite shark is, it's the Hammerhead.

I just love the shape of its head, really. Plus, they swarm, which every show that mentions them always manages to show this in action.

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