May 29, 2018
Discovery caught telling great white lies, doesn’t care
Shark Week has long since become a cultural phenomenon in America, and like every cultural phenomenon it has to come up with new ways to outdo itself with each outing. Eventually it’s almost impossible not to go too far and plunge into outright ridiculousness. (Damn, if only there were some shark-related metaphor that might apply here.)
Over the past few years, Discovery Channel has systematically alienated every legitimate shark scientist in the universe, which I suspect the network finds more liberating than concerning. Now they’re free to let their imaginations run wild.
Discovery is entirely non-apologetic, taking the approach of, “Lies, for the lack of a better word, are good. Lies work.” And the ratings, sadly, back them up on it. Year 27 of Shark Week has more viewers than ever.
After the success of last year’s what-we-didn’t-we-mention-this-was-fabricated “documentary” Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives, Discovery doubled down this year with Megalodon sequel and a new allegedly true Shark of Darkness: The Wrath of Submarine (Submarine being the name of a particularly badass shark).
We are seeing some signs that viewers are finally fed up with Discovery’s fish tales. Showing allegedly real footage of people losing limbs and even their lives to a Submarine attack was the breaking point for many. But chances are these same viewers will be back next year, if just for the righteous indignation. The network is undoubtedly fine with that. Nielsen doesn’t measure if you’re looking down on a show, only if you’re looking at it. Just ask Kim Kardashian.