Yup, It’s Still Shark Week

So, I know the celebrity shows on Shark Week can sometimes feel a little gimmicky, but they are really important for getting more people interested in sharks and ocean conservation efforts. I know I’ve said it before, but I will keep saying it. Last night, I saw evidence that it really does work. Mark typically doesn’t watch Shark Week with me; although he supports my love of sharks, he doesn’t quite have the patience to sit through four hours of shark shows for a whole week (and that’s totally fine). But he sat with me a bit for Adam Devine’s special. And, when he saw the commercials for Thursday’s shows, he got excited that Snoop Dogg is going to be involved. He might just watch a bit of Shark Week with me tonight because of that. So I sincerely hope that Shark Week continues to include celebrities in their lineup if it gets more people watching the shows and learning about the science and conservation efforts.

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Monsters Under the Bridge: Dr. Tristan Guttridge, Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and Laura McDonnell team up to get genetic samples of hammerheads in the Florida Keys. The research mission is inspired by the presence of Big Mo, a great hammerhead shark who is so record-breakingly huge that scientists believe that this may indicate the presence of a new sub-species of hammerhead. I find hammerheads so gorgeous and visually appealing that this show could have been about anything and I still would have loved it. Plus, I’m a big fan of Dr. Hammerschlag, so obviously I was bound to enjoy this one. The findings weren’t exactly conclusive enough to support the team’s theory, but it still provided some interesting information. After looking at the DNA samples, it turns out that some of the hammerhead sharks happen to be siblings!

Adam Devine’s Secret Shark Lair: In this sequel to last year’s Eat, Prey, Chum, Adam Devine leads an oddball crew of scientists, experts, and his close friends (who are definitely not experts) on a research mission to the Bahamas. The goal is to prove the existence of a tiger shark super site. To do this, the team needs to find evidence of feeding, mating, and pupping in the area. Identifying these kinds of shark hot spots are important for shark conservation efforts so that these sharks can be properly protected. Although this episode is more of a comedy, there’s actually a lot of interesting science as well. There was a good, healthy mix of science and silly. All around, this was a really good show.

img_0723Great White Double Trouble: Paul de Gelder is back again, and this time he’s working with Riley Elliot to solve a great white mystery. In Australia, the great white attacks on the West Coast lead to more fatalities than the attacks on the East Coast. The sharks on the East and the West are genetically different and do not mingle, so the goal of the mission is to find out what makes these two groups of sharks so different. Why does one group lead to more fatalities than the other? For some reason, this episode didn’t quite capture my attention (which is strange, given how much I love seeing Paul de Gelder on Shark Week). Maybe it’s because SO MANY Shark Week shows are about great whites and there really wasn’t any new or unusual science being done.  And it turns out that the difference has to do with the ages of the sharks; it really has nothing to do with their genetic makeup. Compared to the rest of the episode, the last 10 or so minutes were pretty strong and it made me happy seeing so many great whites swimming together and breaching.

Expedition Unknown: Josh Gates Tonight: The show started off strong with an interview with Ruby Rose. She confirmed two things that I’ve been saying: 1) Shark Week is the best thing to happen to 2020, and 2) Dolphins can be assholes. And then there was Jim Belushi… What the hell? I get that Discovery wanted to promote his new show, but that interview had no place being a part of Shark Week. He’s never even watched Shark Week, doesn’t like sharks, his interview had nothing to do with sharks, and there was no effort made to try to at least educate him about sharks. At least the rest of the episode was salvaged by a visit to the Georgia Aquarium followed by an interview with Tristan Guttridge. Oh, and a surprise interview with Sharknado stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid was the cherry on top. (Discovery probably should have cut Belushi’s interview and had more time for the Sharknado interview instead, but I suppose I’m biased).

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