Shark Week

Shark Week

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Overview

Shark Week is a block of programming dedicated to the fish and the fear they induce which airs on the Discovery Channel each year in late August. Because of the popularity of sharks online, and its unique singular focus, the programming block has gained a large fanbase, both ironic and unironic, online.

Background

Shark Week premiered on the Discovery Channel[1] on July 17th, 1988. The idea for shark week came to programmers at the Discovery Channel while gathered at a bar after work. The programming block gained its first celebrity host, Peter Benchley best known for writing shark film Jaws, in 1997. Programming features nonfiction shows and specials which offer close up footage of sharks which have evolved as the technology behind video and underwater cameras have evolved.

Notable Developments

Live Every Week Like It’s Shark Week

On an episode of 30 Rock titled “Jack the Writer” which first aired on November 1st, 2006, Tracy tells Kenneth:

“Live every week like its shark week.”




The clip was first uploaded by YouTuber Bender1138[5] on January 31st, 2013. As of August 2014, the video has gained over 29,000 views. The quote has inspired typography fan art.


Colbert Bump

On August 5th, 2009, The Colbert Report featured a segment on Shark Week during which he described it as a “powerful cultural event.” As of August 2014, the segment uploaded on the show’s website has been viewed over 24,000 times.



Social Media Presence

Shark Week’s Twitter account[2] was created in May of 2009, as of August 2014, the account has gained over 33,000 followers. Its Facebook page[3] has gained over 1.4 million likes.

Fandom

On July 17th, 2010, the Tumblr blog fuckyeahsharkweek[4] was created. As of August 2014, Deviant Art [6] has over 9,000 pieces of fan art tagged Shark Week. The subreddit r/sharkweek[7] was created on August 5th, 2010, by Redditor junkmale. As of August 2014, the subreddit has gained over 300 subscribers.


Criticisms

Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives

On August 4th, 2013, Discovery Channel aired a movie titled Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives which it claimed was a documentary. However, websites like The Mary Sue[8] pointed out the Megalodon was a type of prehistoric shark long extinct and thus not alive to be filmed. Discover Magazine[10] published a criticism of the film, saying its disclaimer “did the exact opposite” of calling the film fiction. On August 5th, Wil Wheaton published a post on his blog[11] titled “Discovery Channel Owes It’s Viewers An Apology.” In the post Wheaton explains:

" Sharks are fascinating, and megalodon was an absolutely incredible creature! Discovery had a chance to get its audience thinking about what the oceans were like when megalodon roamed and hunted in them. It had a chance to even show what could possibly happen if there were something that large and predatory in the ocean today … but Discovery Channel did not do that. In a cynical ploy for ratings, the network deliberately lied to its audience and presented fiction as fact. Discovery Channel betrayed its audience."


Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine

On August 10th, 2014, Discovery Channel aired a movie titled Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine which it claimed was a documentary. However, websites like Oregon Live[9] pointed out the South American shark attack the film covered never happened, and its witnesses were all actors. Many twitter users tweeted their unhappiness about the film, including Wil Wheaton.


Several other sites included coverage of the deception and resulting online outrage including Hollywood Life[12] and Gawker.[13]

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 2 total

Recent Images 17 total

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