Well, it was a long week with some pretty great shows, and one of the worst offerings Shark Week has ever offered (namely Jackass Shark Week – see my review here). Over the weekend, I watched a few shows I really enjoyed, one that seemed to miss the target, and few that were immensely skippable. And that’s, I think, the problem with Shark Week. When it turned on the celebrity spigot, it didn’t know how to turn it off. It holds onto shows that don’t really serve the mission of Shark Week anymore, and truth be told never did. It wants to offer a wide variety of programming to meet every demographic but doesn’t promote the scientists that could deliver that programming to those demographics. It leans hard into specific areas of the world, most likely because it’s easier to send crews to one area rather than ten. So maybe – if Discovery cares about Sharks – scale it back. Maybe we don’t need 45 hours of programming. 21’s good. 3 hours a night, for a week. Focus on sharks we don’t know.
Take us to places we haven’t been. Tell us more about the risks they face and how sharks and human faces those same risks. If we can save the sharks, from the critically endangered Pondicherry sharks and Great Hammerheads, to the ubiquitous Nurse and Horn sharks, we save the ocean and thus we save ourselves. All of the content is available on Discovery+, so even though Shark Week is officially over, you’ve got another 3 weeks to watch everything.
PS – apologies for the late review on these. My aloof, ungrateful cat General – WHO I WOULD LITERALLY DIE FOR – decided to pretend he had a life-threatening medical condition, and I had to spend too much time at the emergency vet’s office – who did a great job and confirmed he’s a big faker who just needed a bunch of attention. Anyone want a big liar cat who doesn’t do anything and never wants to get cuddled?
$182. He’s all yours. JUST KIDDING.
Was Night 7 and 8’s content worth watching? It’s all available on Discovery+ Let’s see:
Return to Shark Vortex (3.5/5)
This one was good! Basically, what happens in the Nothern Atlantic when cold water comes down from the Arctic mixes with the warm water coming up from the Gulf Stream, and what happens when the cold starts overwhelming the warm? Not too much of a suprise, The sharks head south – BUT NOT ALL OF THEM!!! We get a shark that looks like a compressed version of a great white (it’s in the same family), the porbeagle – and we follow the scientists into the frigid winds of autumn to make a possible discovery of just how much cold these sharks can take. Before that happens we see some great interactions with makos and blues, and it’s a science show without too much bullshit. It’s not a 4 or 5, but maybe it could be – I just think there could have een more don with the premise. Still, pretty cool.
Shark Week: Best in Show (Clip Show – Not Watched/No Review)
I Was Prey: Shark Week 2021 (.5/5)
NO. And stop doing these, Discovery.
Rogue Tiger Shark: The Hunt for Lagertha (4/5)
OK, I might be a bit biased on this one, because it features my friends at Fins Attached and their state-of-the-art research vessel, the Sharkwater! (click the link for more info!) Unfortunately, this starts off with focusing on a specific shark which killed a diver (which is actually very rare, even rarer than your usual shark bite incident – as sharks tend to not injure divers unless they are spear fishing – not unheard of, but very unusual). They focus on one of my bucket list dive places, the Cocos Islands – where A LOT of shark and sea turtle research is taking place right now), and it’s conservation focuses. The only thing that prevents this from being a 5 is the focus on the incident – I know that’s part of the story, but I think it was a poor framing device – especially as we see in the special the tragedy of the Cocos Islands, the sister of the Galapagos – even declared a marine protected area, they – the Islands, are fished. Leading to the loss of big predators… What will the Cocos be in 20 years? Discovery could tell us they
The Great Hammerhead Shark Stakeout (5/5 or 3.5)
Loved it. From the premise (following Hammerheads as they come up from the deep, to the mid-water, to the shallows). Loved the tech – the underwater hide, and the discussions of decompression sickness that make this both necessary and a possible hazard. The dives themselves with their ever-present barracuda. If you love hammerheads, it’s a 5. If you’re blase on hammerheads, this might just be a 3.5, because outside of the new tech, which is so cool, you’re not going to necessarily learn anything you haven’t already learned – but I think especially if you’re a diver or want to be a diver, you won’t want to miss this one.
So – in conclusion, Shark Week needs less hours of air time to be more. It needs more variation of presenters, less trying to be everything to everyone. To borrow a phrase from Owen of Jurassic World: They’re sharks. Wow enough.