Last week was Shark Week over on the Discovery Channel and the folks over at NPR are not very happy about what it has devolved to in recent years. Now growing up Jaws and its many sequels are some of the films that really meant it was summer time as it just so happened that it typically was broadcast while my family vacationed at the beach. So sure I was a fan of Shark Week, and learning sharks, MythBusters and Dirty Jobs did some great work during Shark Weeks in the past. Yet these past couple of year it seems that all that the shows are about is sharks jumping out of water, chomping on things, and hypothetical sharks.
To uncover the hypothetical sharks we are given a “documentary” in which scientist participate in looking for a shark and then nothing really comes of it. This pseudo documentary it seems is how programs are going to happen in the foreseeable future thanks in part to the “documentary” about mermaids being real a couple of years ago. The fiction as fact is a huge ratings draw and The Discovery Channel did it last year with the documentary about Megalodon.
The article says that conservation groups have said that “Shark Week does much more to harm sharks than it does to help them, largely by portraying them as man-eaters — a reputation that conservationists and educators have been trying earnestly to dispel for years. Shark Week isn’t helping.” The filming of the programs not only might increase shark attacks as most of the time it is humans tossing meat and blood into the water so shark will associate food with humans and stuff like that but some sharks have been injured during the filming, this year a shark bites a camera and we see shattered tooth fragments fall from its mouth.
I really like reading through the comments as well as many people are voicing their horror at the state of Discovery, Science, History, and TLC. All of these channels were one great and provided information about thing and now they have all sunk into the mire of what is known as reality television. It seems like most of the networks have at least a show that fits in with the idea of the network The Discovery Channel has MythBusters, Science has How it’s made and Through the Wormhole, and History still has Modern Marvels. TLC is the only one that has dramatically changed what it is all about, no longer is it The Learning Channel and the focus in on large families and children’s beauty pageants.