Day 7: The End

That was a really emotional night for me, featuring a documentary that really encompasses what I think the purpose of Shark Week should be.

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In this house, we love sharks (Sharkpup by Nekoama)

Sharkwater: Extinction: I knew this would be a tough watch for me.  I cried A LOT during the first Sharkwater documentary, and I knew this one would make me cry too.  But a film like this should elicit an emotional response, and Rob Stewart’s work certainly evokes a number of emotions.  This is 100% a conservation film: the seedy aspects of the shark fin trade and fishing industries are exposed, and you are supposed to feel angered and disgusted by what the Sharkwater team uncovers. Sharks are not just being killed for shark fin soup – sharks are making their way into many consumer products. As in the previous documentary, the scenes depicting the death and over-fishing of sharks were gruesome, upsetting, and sometimes painful to watch.  And it hurt so much more when the rest of the documentary featured beautiful footage of sharks as Rob Stewart showcased the best parts of these predators. The goal was to make viewers fall in love with sharks as much as he had.  This was a painful documentary to watch for another reason, as Rob Stewart passed away while filming Sharkwater: Extinction. Voice over narration and thoughtful editing throughout the film foreshadowed his untimely end.  I have so much respect for Rob Stewart and it is tragic that we lost him too soon. But I hope that his legacy continues to inspire others as it has inspired me.

Sharks Gone Wild 2: This show was absolute fluff.  And given that half an hour into it I was still crying over Sharkwater, fluff is exactly what I needed.  The Sharks Gone Wild shows have very little substance: almost no education and very little conservation.  It’s basically just all film clips from social media.  It’s not entirely surprising that this kind of show exists since social media has become such a central part of our lives.  Which, in a way, is good for sharks. By seeing them in silly social media videos, they are no longer the deadly predators we only hear about on the news or the awesome animals we only see once a year on tv specials.  This normalizes the presence of sharks in our lives and, I think, takes some of the fear away.  This show was still just fluff, though.

Shark Week Immersion: The Immersion team tested video game and pop culture misinformation about sharks in this final Shark Week episode.  To me, this felt like a Mythbusters-style show with less substance.  I did have a hard time fully concentrating on it from all the emotion earlier in the night, but it did kind of feel like fluff compared to a lot of the other Shark Week shows this year. It certainly had more substance than Sharks Gone Wild 2 but it just didn’t feel all that watchable after having seen Sharjwater: Extinction. I feel like if this episode had aired on a different night it would have been more enjoyable, but it just fell flat in last night’s lineup. Not the strongest end to Shark Week 2019, but at least there were plenty of sharks.

Check back tomorrow for my overall thoughts on this year’s Shark Week

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