Sharks aren’t the great terrors that we’ve seen in movies like Jaws and The Shallows. They’re not going to come up to a beach and chomp away at civilians relaxing. Fear of the smooth-skinned fish has seeped into our hearts and heads and even sparked some to hunt down these majestic creatures.
Yes, they are apex predators that can leap out of the water and shred a seal, in the case of the Great Whites off the South African coast. That doesn’t mean they deserve the hate that incites killings. After all, in about a hundred shark bites in a year, only around five deaths occur. If we really wanted to demonise a creature then surely it would be the mosquitoes that spread diseases that kill hundreds more every day.
This was the reason that Tom Golden started the Shark Week programme event in 1988 dedicated to educating the general public about sharks and not as boat chewing monsters. Now 32 years later it’s grown a mind of its own, broadcasted in over 72 countries around the world with celebrity appearances. Thankfully over the years, the fear of sharks has reduced and nowadays many are more understanding of their nature. Today the biggest killer of sharks is the commercial industry for shark fin and meat.
Here’s what you can catch to get your yearly fix of the sharp-toothed fish on Discovery Channel.
Will Smith: Off the Deep End
31 August 2020
Overcome your own fear of the deep sea creatures along with actor extraordinaire Will Smith while he attempts to quell his. Just like what he does in most of his action-packed films, he’s diving off into the deep end to tackle his fear of massive tiger sharks.
The big boys, one of the largest extant sharks, are known for their distinctive pattern that fades as they grow older and birth their young live. They are also nicknamed ‘garbage eaters’ due to the fact that they have been recorded eating man-made inedible items in vast varieties.
Follow him on a dive into the shark-infested waters to be at peace with the grey animals.
Tyson vs Sharks
1 September 2020
Sure, Mike Tyson is known for tigers, not sharks, but this year he’s run out of human opponents and instead is looking to the animal kingdom for a challenge. Here he takes on a shark underwater to clip a fin cam to it, not to actually fight it. There is no fighting here folks, sorry to disappoint, Tyson gently tickles the nose of the shark as the crew get a cam on the shark to see from their point of view. Mind the music, it’s a lot more dramatic than it actually is, interesting to watch nonetheless.
2 September 2020
Snoop Dogg takes a break from being Martha Stewart’s BFF to talk us through an investigation of what experts believe might be the ‘sharkiest’ summer in the United States history. There have been an increasing number of Great White Shark encounters in the US in the last two years than there have been in the last decade.
With number dwindling in places like South Africa and Australia, huge populations are taking up residence along the coasts of California, Florida, Massachusetts, the Carolinas, Jersey, and even New York. Find out why this might be happening.
3 September 2020
View this post on Instagram
This is exactly what it sounds like, Shaquille O’Neal beloved all-star basketball legend is going to give us the rundown on these apex predators. It seems everyone has a fear of sharks, O’Neal was attempting to do so when early filming of the programme saw a shark get in the cage with him renewing the fear.
Back again to Shark Week, he’s tackling a gentler shark, the gentlest it might seem, the Whale Shark. Watch him realise that they are docile creatures who just float around eating plankton and krill that happen to get sucked in.
Adam Devine’s Secret Tiger Shark Lair
4 September 2020
Getting down to the science and coming back to the tiger shark, Adam Devine, known for his role in Pitch Perfect, joined a team of marine biologists last year and deployed a CATS camera tag on a massive tiger shark that yielded a surprising scientific discovery; a secret tiger shark lair. This is the footage of that shark party.
Tiger Shark King
5 September 2020
No this isn’t the deep-sea version of Joe Exotic, instead, take a journey into the deep seas of the Caribbean to find out what large creature assaulted a 14-foot tiger shark. Dr Austin Gallagher tries to figure out whether this is a larger stranger creature or another tiger shark turned cannibal.
Air Jaws 2020
6 September 2020
Finally, end the week with this year’s recap and highlights of all the jumps that Air Jaws has seen over the years. Watching these sharks push themselves to great heights outside of the water is both thrilling and awe-inspiring. Don’t think about fear, think about the mechanics that it would take to propel these massive creatures into the air above water like that.
There are some extra thoughts on Shark Week for the average viewer to be mindful of when consuming shark-related programmes. Shark Week has received criticism from many for its glorification of the more terrifying aspects of sharks rather than focus on the conservation of the creatures.
While there have been controversies in the past, especially with their fake facts about the secret Megaladon that haunts waters, there has been good to come out of the event as well and has raised awareness in the everyday man. It’s inspired kids to become marine biologists and bills to be passed on finning. But that’s only when viewers make sure to keep an open mind and focus on the right parts of the programming.
It would also be wise to say that as much as most of these programmes involve swimming with the sharks, it might be better to not flock to the cages just to do the same thing even though it might look cool. You don’t need to get up close and personal to respect and appreciate these animals, they’re living beings not toys.