The Best Thing About 2020 So Far… SHARK WEEK!

IT’S FINALLY SHARK WEEK! The best week of the year is here! And with everything going on this year, oh boy was I ever looking forward to seeing some sharks. As a fan of Bob The Shark, I was pleased to see that he made appearances during the pre-Shark Week commercials to provide some sharky trivia. And, just like the rest of us, Bob is participating in Shark Week from the comfort of his own home. I’m curious to see if the pandemic has affected other aspects of Shark Week as well. And, as Day 1 of my favourite week showed, COVID definitely shook things up for Shark Week this year.

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Air Jaws: Ultimate Breach Off: Chris Fallows, Dr. Enric Gennari, and Alison Towner are back for the sequel of last year’s Air Jaws special. Following up on the disappearance of great whites from Mossel Bay in South Africa, the three shark researchers investigate the local shark population and compete to see who can document the most breaches. Team Fallows uses a tow cam, Team Towner uses a drone, and Team Gennari uses a special light up decoy called “Disco Seal”. And the winner? Team Fallows! Compared to other Shark Week shows, the Air Jaws installments aren’t exactly unique. However, I’ll never say no to watching those beautiful breaches.

img_0746Tyson VS Jaws: Rumble on the Reef: Paul de Gelder coaches Mike Tyson to prepare him to go three rounds with sharks. Joined by Dr. Craig O’Connell and legendary Shark Week cameraman Andy Casagrande, Tyson practices with sharks on different types of dives before getting ready for the main event: putting a reef shark into tonic immobility. The goal of these kinds of episodes is usually to raise awareness of the plight of sharks and to encourage celebrities to fight for sharks. With Tyson, it seemed like his primary goal was to overcome his own personal fear. I didn’t really get the sense that he would advocate for shark conservation after this show. I hope he can prove me wrong.

Shark Lockdown: The first COVID related episode of Shark Week. Kina Scollay teams up with Clarke Gayford and Mark Erdmann to see how the lack of humans on the water during lockdown has affected the great whites of New Zealand. In particular, the team is on the lookout for a large female named 747. I love my large female great whites, so I was excited to watch this one. Although they didn’t find 747, they did find evidence that great whites had been mating nearby. I was also amused to see that Kina made good use of his time in lockdown by creating The Snack Box, a one man shark cage for surveying these large ladies far away from the boat.

Expedition Unknown: Josh Gates Tonight: Admittedly, Season 1 of Shark After Dark was always my favourite, but the show just struggled in subsequent years. I don’t think Shark After Dark was ever really the same two years in a row. So I was pleased to see that Discovery was giving a new show a try for the 11pm time slot this year. It was clear from the moment I saw the house band of musicians in shark costumes that I would enjoy Josh Gates Tonight far more than Shark After Dark. Even though some production decisions were obviously made due to COVID restrictions, I actually really like the style and the format of the show. I’m looking forward to seeing this talk show for the next few nights. And thank goodness Bob the Shark made an appearance!

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