Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shark Week Blog 3: The End of Shark Weak

Shark Week this year has, in my honest opinion ruined Shark Week entirely for me. The more I watch, the more I've come to realize that Shark Week is not the Shark Week I grew up watching. Growing up, I didn't know much about sharks. Frankly I was willing to watch Shark Week and accept most of it as fact. I have several Shark Week DVDs in my personal collection and I still pop them into my DVD player from time to time and now knowing far more than I ever did about sharks, I came to the conclusion that a lot of it is exaggerated, but the scientific content was largely true. This year though, the new shows have done nothing but disappoint me time and time again.

The show on Megalodon was interesting for sure, but it was not a true documentary. There were no whales washing up with massive bites. There was no boat that mysteriously sank. To top it off the "researchers" turned out to be nothing more than paid actors. Meaning that Shark Week kicked off with a sci-fi movie. Not surprising, Discovery Channel on their website had a poll as to if Megalodon exists. Over 70% of the people said yes after that show aired. Discovery literally crammed false information down our throats and now there is a massive wave of people who are fearing a creature that for all we have known for a long time, doesn't even exist. I've read several articles claiming that with this show, Discovery has jumped the shark sort to speak. I tend to agree with that.

The shark after dark show is just an absolute joke. I've watched it twice and I think I've learned literally nothing about sharks. I feel like this show is nothing more than a very, very poor attempt at trying to bring the magic that other after shows such that Deadliest Catch and The Walking Dead have. Seriously though, when this is a part of that show, nothing about it can be taken seriously.

The scientific "facts" that the shows have been stating have also severely disappointed me. Just off the top of my head, two instances of me putting the palm of my hand over my face were as follows. In discussing what great white sharks eat, the video was of sea lions swimming around. The narrator called them Pacific harbor seals. I work with seals. The things on the T.V. were by no means seals. Now though, an unknown number of people think that Pacific harbor seals and sea lions are the same thing. Another instance was when they were listing different species of shark that live in a certain area. The video showed several different species of shark, but not the bull shark. Rather they showed lemon sharks as bull sharks. Again, a totally different animal. As small as these things may seem, they shouldn't be happening. Discovery Channel claims that Shark Week is all about education and conservation. The last time I checked false information is not educational at all. If I didn't know any better and I was someone living in say, the desert, I would potentially have never seen a real seal. So by watching Shark Week I would have learned that seals and sea lions are the same thing. That's just fantastic isn't it? Conservation? From what I watched the only hints of conservation were embedded so deeply in all the blood and gore of the week that they were not noticable in the least bit. Not once did I see any form of ad or statement saying that roughly 100,000,000 sharks are being killed every year. Not once did I see any form of explination on what shark finning or long line fishing are. Discovery, if you want to say Shark Week is about conservation, step up and deliver. Don't sit there and say one thing and do another. You want controversey? Try playing a documentary like Sharkwater as opposed to that horrific Megalodon show and you'll get a controversy that actually matters.

I was hoping that Shark Week would be one week that Discovery Channel actually got away from reality T.V. and went back to it's roots and actually educated people on something that matters. I wish I could say that I am surprised, but I'm truly not. Year after year, Shark Week has been getting more and more away from the point that it claims to be making. The point being that the week is all about conservation and getting the truth about sharks out in the open. If that was the case, I wouldn't have to be typing this blog. If that were the case I wouldn't have both friends and family thinking for sure that an animal that has been extinct for millions of years sudenly has come back and is hunting humans. I wouldn't be having to tell people that seals and sea lions aren't the same thing. I wouldn't have to do a lot of things if Discovery would look at it's programming and choose what it actually wants to put out. If they want Shark Week to be a sci-fi horror show along with mockumentaries, then put it out there that that is what it is. Not educational or factual, just another week of terrible shark shows that do nothing but instill fear and hatred in people for these animals.

On a scale of 1-5 I personally would give this year's Shark Week a weak 1 out of 5. The shows were largely lacking and not for nothing, but some of the information was just flat out untrue. Afterall. How can a shark be on a top 10 deadliest list without killing a single person? Makes no sense to me. This was easily the worst Shark Week I've ever seen and I have a feeling that next year will stick to my DVDs and watch actual informative Shark Week shows as opposed to the wannabe reality/sci-fi garbage that was on my T.V. for the past week.

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