This year’s Shark Week was so much improved! There was a much higher focus on science, biodiversity and conservation, and a lot less sensationalism and pseudoscience. So if you had decided to not tune in this year after last year’s disappointments, I advise you to give it a try! I have listed below some of my favorite episodes that really are worth the watch.
This 3rd installment of Alien Sharks was incredible. I am still slightly obsessed with this episode. I could feel the rush of adrenaline as they were tagging the megamouth shark just sitting on my couch! SO.MUCH.SCIENCE. I loved it! I learned about biofluorescence (i have to make a separate blog post about that) which I honestly didn’t even know existed until then! The megamouth (I also have to make a separate blog post about that!) expedition was just insane. Can we get a follow-up on that once the tag gets released? I’m not sure when they tagged the shark/when this episode was filmed. I need to know the results!
Sharks of Cuba was also one of my favorites. It focused on a joint U.S.-Cuban team of scientists studying the sharks of Cuba. The area they were in really goes to show how wonderful Marine Protected Areas are. The reefs there were gorgeous, and the silky sharks and remoras shown on screen were huge! You could tell the ecosystem around the island is thriving, undisturbed. We got to see the first tagging of a shark in Cuba, as well as the tagging of a rare longfin Mako!
Ninja Sharks are also incredible. I LOVE learning about all those more ‘obscure’ sharks, like the Salmon shark and Thresher shark, and what their ‘ninja’ skills are. Loved all the graphs and scientific facts! Shark Planet was a 2 hour recut of the BBC Earth "Sharks" series, and it was AWESOME. I mean, we all know the BBC wildlife documentaries are incredible, so I wasn’t expecting anything less. We saw so many shark species, and some shark behavior that we never really saw before (epaulette sharks walking across land, what?!).
Overall, I was quite satisfied with this year’s show. There were still some very low lows (a Great White serial killer? “Oh there were two attacks 2 years apart right here so this must be the same shark”), but also some very high highs (ALIEN SHARKS!), and a lot of good things in between.
Here is my personal list:
The AMAZING: Alien Sharks, Ninja Sharks, Sharks of Cuba, Planet Shark
The Good: Monster Mako, Shark Trek, Shark Clan
The Meh Okay: Island of the Mega Shark, Bride of Jaws, Shark Island, Shark of the Shadowlands
The Bad:Super Predator, Return of the Great White Serial Killer
Shark Week definitely really needs to keep steering away from the speculation and sensationalism of Super Predators and Serial Killers and shark bite reenactments. I wish for less Great White Shark drama (although you may continue the Shark Trek series), and more endangered, rare and weird species (Salmon shark! Thresher Shark! Megamouth!! Yes please). I give you two thumbs up, Discovery Channel, for moving in the right direction and turning this program around! Keep it going, and I look forward to next year.