Shark Week: 20th Anniversary Collection

Shark Week: 20th Anniversary Collection
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, again, Discovery Channel compiles the best of its 20 years to instil fear in swimmers. A cable TV tradition that arrives every summer, Shark Week has become a reliable source to both inform and scare viewers in a variety of ways. You’d think that after two decades the series would dry up but there are fewer things in life as mysterious and intriguing as the shark. Whether you view them as apex predators, killing machines or beautiful creatures of the deep, there is always something to take away from an episode. This 11-hour box set offers various subjects that divulge the many secrets of the shark, while also providing gruesome accounts by victims. With a heavy focus on the great white, they include two episodes on "Air Jaws,” a fascinating phenomenon where great whites in South Africa demonstrate the strange behaviour of launching their bodies straight into the air to attack their seal prey. Another program focuses on survivors of great white attacks, which includes a double attack on some surfers in South Africa by a relentless shark that kept on coming. Recife, Brazil is singled out for its unusual number of attacks over the years, primarily by bull sharks near a port development. So threatening are the attacks that there are youth projects designed to educate youngsters and life guards are equipped with electric shark shields. While the present is mostly the focus, they go back into the past to study the Megalodon, a prehistoric shark known as the largest fish ever, which terrorised the Carolinas and was around for 15 to 20 million years. At the other end is "Future Shark,” where researchers explore how technology can now determine how the shark’s world and mind work by tracking them, and reveals their mighty immune system, which is naturally resistant to cancer, as well as other diseases. Best of all is the episode on Frank "Monster Man” Mundus, a now 70something retired shark hunter known for capturing the largest great white ever recorded (unofficially), as well as being the inspiration for Robert Shaw’s character of Quint in Jaws (Mundus recalls taking author Peter Benchley out on the sea years before he wrote Jaws). Still arrogant, Mundus is humbled when he’s taken out to South Africa to view great whites as something more than just a kill. Though they’re often guilty of some poor re-enactments, Shark Week’s programming doesn’t hesitate to terrify. But for every horror story (complete with sinister music and "intense” narration), the producers are smart enough to be responsible and educate the viewer with a message of understanding and avoiding obvious dangers (i.e., don’t look like a damn seal!). This comprehensive collection will do the trick for any shark fanatic and hopefully encourage some people to go back into the water. (Image/Paradox)