What is Shark Week? It’s origins.
Shark Week is a big deal these days, and even if you’re not a fan of the show, you probably have some idea of what it’s all about, but what is shark week really and when did it all begin?
Shark Week is an annual, week-long programming block on the Discovery Channel which normally takes place in July or August. The show originally aired on July 17, 1988 and it’s the longest running cable television event in history and has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past few years.
The show was originally meant to raise awareness and respect for sharks through the use of factual information and interesting film footage, but it has now become more entertainment oriented with a focus on fictional documentaries.
Shark Week is broadcasted in over 72 countries and is heavily promoted by the Discovery Channel and fans of the show on social media networks like Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter.
Controversy of Shark Week
Discovery has come under fire over the last few years for producing “docufiction”. Fictional documentaries packaged as facts which misguide the public into thinking sharks are dangerous predators out to kill humanity, while in reality, there have only been on average 4.3 human deaths by unprovoked shark attacks between 2001 and 2006.
These fictitious programs include Megladon: The Monster Shark Lives, a mocumentary originally aired by Discovery which documented the possible survival of a prehistoric shark that attacked a pleasure boat and killed its crew off the coast of South Africa. The episode had very short disclaimers in the beginning and end which indicated that the story is false. This led to a large number of people to believe that the Megaladon species of sharks is still alive, and it angered both scientists and ordinary viewers because a docufiction program packaged as fact was aired on a channel that was once known for educating the public.
Why is Shark Week so Popular?
Shark week has become a long awaited annual event with people hosting viewing parties and playing various drinking games centered on the shows. See our shark week drinking game – the rules. The show was further popularized by the Megladon: The Monster Shark Lives which ranks as the biggest episode to date with 4.8 million viewers. Many people are looking forward to this year’s Shark Week to see if Discovery will air more docufictions or if they’ll revert to their original, educational shows that raise awareness about the impending extinction of sharks.
Where Can You Watch Shark Week?
Episodes from recent years are available for purchase or viewing on Netflix, Google Play Movies, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, and iTunes. You can also order shark week DVDs.
To catch the shows as they air, make sure your cable provider offers the Discovery Channel.
We hope this has given you some insight as to what is shark week, and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.