Shark Week: Restless Fury

Shark Week: Restless Fury
It seems there are two camps in the current shark debate. On the Sharkwater side is filmmaker Rob Stewart and those who insist that sharks are beautiful, misunderstood creatures that only harm humans because we've have encroached upon their territory and disturbed the fragile ecosystem. On the Shark Week side, there are those who insist that sharks are beautiful, misunderstood creatures that only harm humans because we have encroached upon their territory and disturbed the fragile ecosystem ― and are also crazed, bloodthirsty killers who make for really great TV. Shark Week, for those not in the know, is a long-standing Discovery Channel tradition in which a marathon of shark-related programming is presented every summer, ostensibly to educate the populace and demystify the animal's supposed violent nature, but also to provide, as the voiceover intones, "killer footage." Shark Week provides both edutainment and Faces of Death-style thrills. "Shark photographer" is certainly high on the list of manliest jobs, and the first episode, "Into the Shark Bite," follows a couple of completely insane gentlemen who fearlessly hop in the drink with these apex predators, simply to investigate just how different species of sharks make use of their massive jaws, with a number of ingeniously created camera decoys. "Into the Shark Bite" may very well be the most strictly scientific of all the episodes, but the spectacle of literally swimming with sharks is jaw dropping. "Ultimate Air Jaws" follows photographer Chris Fallows as he investigates the eye-popping phenomenon of Great White sharks breaching the water, flying into mid-air when chasing after tasty, fat seals. The episode verges on fetishistic, with plenty of super-slow-motion footage of the circle of life in action. The most entertaining and hilariously over-the-top episode is "Shark Attack Survival Guide," in which former Green Beret Terry Schappert (who looks and sounds uncannily like Henry Rollins) guides the viewer through simulated shark attacks and worst-case scenario survival. Schappert's wild flirtations with danger and extreme sports-style commentary make for compulsive viewing. Also included are a few episodes recounting real-life shark attacks, a clip show featuring Craig Ferguson and some extra sharkiness, including a few bonus episodes that poses the question: are sharks acquiring a taste for human flesh? While digesting the entire Shark Week in one go might be a little much, Discovery has done an admirable job hunting down these outrageous fish tales. (eOne)