Shark Weekend Comes to Spring Break’s Rescue

Discovery Channel announced it is airing a surprise marathon this weekend, April 4th and 5th.

The well-known summer event is making a special appearance early.

The well-known summer event is making a special appearance early.

With the recent stay at home order put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, many of us may feel like our spring break is ruined. Travel plans have been cancelled; we are not allowed to go to  beaches, public boating docks and ramps have been closed, and we are not even able to hang out with friends. However, in the midst of this disappointment, the entertainment industry is finding inventive ways to pique our interest under the otherwise bleak circumstances.

Discovery Channel recently revealed that Shark Week is coming early in an unprecedented marathon this weekend, April 4th and 5th, called “Shark Week in a Weekend,” which is essentially a compilation of its most popular segments over the years. As a Shark Week fan myself, I found this news exciting and, because I am familiar with almost all the episodes, I have listed the best and the worst of them as follows:

The Five Best Episodes to Watch

“SharkCam Stakeout”- This segment comes as a breath of fresh air because, instead of focusing on great whites, it explores bull sharks for a change. A robot is programmed to follow a shark around for hours, which provides an inside look at its behavior, as well as what it encounters.

“Cuba’s Secret Shark Lair”- This show combines urban legend with scientific exploration. Researchers seek to find “The Queen,” a giant hammerhead (a shark that grow over twenty feet long), while another team hunts a great white rumored to be as large as “El Monstruo,” which was captured back in 1945.

A shot from “Cuba’s Secret Shark Lair”

“Tiger Shark Invasion”- A team of researchers goes to the Galapagos to observe how tiger sharks are altering the ecosystem there. The scenery and variety of marine life are beautiful, and perhaps the best aspect of the episode is that actual research results are revealed rather than leaving the audience hanging, as the majority of segments do.

“Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins”- This segment is, by far, one of the most memorable ones. It delves into the world of shark species I couldn’t even imagine exist, from the saw sharks in the Bass Strait to the lantern sharks in Tokyo Bay.

“Laws of Jaws: Dangerous Waters”- This episode is (somewhat) suspenseful, with the only thing separating humans on their paddle boards from a curious shark being an electronic trigger. Ignore the fact that the camera crew and medics are just out of the frame in case something actually dangerous happens.

The Five Worst Episodes to Watch

“Capsized: Blood in the Water”- Although I haven’t watch this movie, based on the reviews, I definitely would not recommend it. Supposedly, the storyline, which is about a yacht capsizing and leaving its passengers to drift in shark-infested waters, is completely dominated by poor acting and terrible special effects.

“Phelps vs. Shark”- I’m very disappointed that this episode and the Ronda Rousey episode (see below) are back to back. I don’t really enjoy the specials with the professional athletes and poor editing, but that’s just me. This episode is basically clickbait.

Phelps racing a (computer-generated) shark

“Ronda Rousey Uncaged”- Rousey, a professional wrestler, free dives with mako sharks in New Zealand; I haven’t seen this episode personally but don’t plan on it based on the description.

“Bear vs. Shark”- Don’t be deceived by the name–it refers to Bear Grylls, not the animal, which would have been far more exciting. The episode just centers around Grylls giving advice for situations that are unrealistic to begin with.

“Guy Fieri’s Feeding Frenzy”- This show’s main course is learning about Bahamian cuisine and shark food, with the actual science aspect on the side. As a fan of Guy Fieri, I am disappointed I had to rank this so low.

Looking at the program schedule, I would advise avoiding watching Saturday afternoon and evening because this is when Discovery packs in the celebrity specials, which (spoiler alert) are almost never worth watching. However, the rest of the weekend, especially Sunday, will host some of the best episodes from past Shark Weeks, so hopefully this helps make your quarantine bearable.