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Discovery Channel Disappoints With Shark Week

Over 30 years ago Steven Spielberg hypnotized a country with his summer blockbuster Jaws. Since Jaws, you can easily say the world has had an unsatiable appetitite for anything shark related. Twenty six (26) years ago a Discovery Chanel started Shark Week in an effort to raise awareness and respect for the creatures. The rest is history as they say. Shark Week is now the longest running cable television programming event in history. Every year, during the summer, Disocvery unleashes a much anticipated series of documentaries and explorations to keep our appetities thirsty for sharks. Until now. Last evening was the premier of 2013 Shark Week with the release of a 2-hour special on Megalodon.

For those that did not catch this production, it stood for the proposition that the extint Megalodon shark may be lurking in the depths our oceans. This is equivalent to saying that a teradactical is living in an obscure national forest. Anyway, the 2 hour special started off just like most shark shows we have come to love using the documentary style delivery. After a while it was obvious that this was a thinly veiled attempt to get the viewers comfortable enough so they could pull the wool over their eyes. What happens in the second hour is the equivalent to a late night cable movie. Scripted over dramatized storytelling, over-acting, obvious camera tricks…you name it, it was done. Apparently, placing a “Blair Witch Project” version of a shark documentary in the public eye is not only acceptableto Discovery Channel but obviously it was encouraged as evidenced by Discovery’s placement of the work of “Docufiction” in the Shark Week premier slot.

This isn’t the first time Discovery “jumped the Shark” either. Regular watchers of Discovery and the affiliated channel Animal Planet have recently been treated to documentary-style fictions titled “Mermaids: The Body Found”, “Mermaids: The New Evidence”, and less recently “Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real”. The results of these programs have been consistent; confusion among viewers which creates a cloud of misinformation that is slowly debunked as reasonable people research the subject online. Who wants to watch an educational channel, only to be ridiculed later for believing the fantasies that were presented as truth?

I for one, think that Discovery has taken its create license too far this time. Shark Week, an annual event meant to educate viewers, has officially begun purposefully misinforming the audience. Discovery has taken what some people consider a somewhat sacred tradition of cable TV watching and helplessly exploited it for financial gain.  If people wanted to see a bad version of Jaws, all they have to do is wait till sharknado is on the internet. I feel cheated and used after watching Discovery drop such a terrible “movie” and call it a documentary. Those who hung around long enough to watch the end of Megolodon, they played a high speed warning at the bottom of the movie, telling the viewers it was fake. Unfortunately, the disclaimer was near-impossible to read it as it was literally done in the blink of an eye. What’s more, is that after this “Megalodon” disaster was done airing, they held a “Live” show with the people involved to take it one step further. It reminded me of the time Gerlado opened Al Capone’s locker on National TV: a complete fail.

So going into the second night of Shark Week I can only hope that the chirades are over. Lets hope that Discovery rememebers why and how it got to the dance and get back to real shark footage. Spamming Shark Week with tales of prehistoric sea-dwellers will probably increase advertising revenue, but it also may result in a decrease in beach traffic. There are no winners in this situation. The viewers are being handed easily-digestible, Grade A lies and told it taste like cotton candy. Shame on you Discovery; this blogger for one hopes that this does not happen again.