Discovery’s ‘Shark Week’ aims to put its ‘sketchy’ scientific past behind

The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” has turn out to be a staple that thrill-seeking audiences look ahead to each summer time, however lately, its sensational turns have left many chilly, particularly scientists.

This NPR report takes a better take a look at the “Tremendous Bowl of the ocean” — “Shark Week” attracted greater than 40 million viewers in 2014 alone. And whereas 2015’s “Shark Week” began over the weekend, with such titles as “Island of the Mega Shark” and “Return of the Nice White Serial Killer,” (and that’s simply at the moment’s programming), the scientists who work with sharks nonetheless aren’t positive that they’re getting such a superb rap from Discovery.

Marine biologist Jonathan Davis advised NPR that he was being filmed for a present known as “Voodoo Shark” a pair years in the past through which a producer made the next suggestion: “One of many guys was like, ‘Oh, perhaps it’s best to simply let it chew you, that may be so thrilling,’ ” Davis advised NPR. “And I used to be simply pondering to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? You actually suppose I wanna let the shark chew me only for rankings? Are you severe?’ ”

In fact, Discovery hit a brand new “low” in accordance to shark consultants two years in the past with Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” a “mockumentary” a couple of 100-foot, 80-ton shark they known as “the serial killer of the seas” — that has been extinct for over 1,000,000 years. NPR experiences that it was the highest-rated present in “Shark Week” historical past.

However this yr is meant to be completely different. “Shark Week” producers advised NPR that the channel is specializing in “analysis and science,” and mentioned there could be no extra pretend exhibits like “Megalodon.”

In fact, Discovery nonetheless wants to up the “wow” issue every year with “Shark Week.” This yr? They’re specializing in discovering the most important nice whites round Cuba, particularly an “allegedly a 21-foot, 7,000-pound nice white,” that’s cruising its coasts.

With shark assaults on the upswing, particularly alongside the Carolinas with 11 attacks as of Friday, in accordance to CNN (researchers are saying the elevated assaults are due to hotter water and drought circumstances, bringing feeding patterns nearer to shore), and with exhibits like some on “Shark Week,” many consultants nonetheless worry that each one the publicity is “demonizing” sharks. They’re hopeful that Discovery’s new flip towards extra science/much less flash is a step in the best course.

It’s a superb report on the battle between notion and actuality with certainly one of nature’s mightiest creatures that’s additionally at risk of changing into extinct. Simply bear in mind to maintain your shark details separate from shark fiction and also you’ll be effective.

And talking of shark fiction, right here’s the brand new trailer for Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, out July 22 on Syfy:


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