Shark Week is more than just a promotion to get people amped on watching the Discovery Channel. It's a way of life. The weeklong celebration of ginormous, carnivorous fish has become a bigger deal in recent years — it's basically a national holiday at this point. So why not take your experience beyond the mere three hours of nightly programming Discovery has prepared? Here's how to schedule your Shark Week for maximum bite.
Whether you're interested in TV, videos, movies or music, we've got a plan for how to spend your time this week. Sharks play an important role in our national culture. They've been seen as villains, unlikely heroes, monsters and misunderstood victims — but whether you find them terrifying or totally cool, there's no denying that sharks are fascinating creatures worthy of our respect.
Shark Week has been airing every year since 1988, making it now the the longest-running cable TV programming event in history (take that, Puppy Bowl). Shark Week began as a way to raise awareness of conservation efforts before becoming more and more sensational over time. This year, the new Discovery Channel president, Rich Ross, promised to get rid of the fake documentaries and conspiracy shows, to bring Shark Week back to its roots. Not that sharks need much sensationalizing, anyway. These animals are scary enough, just as they are.
Here's how to get the most out of your Shark Week:
The OG shark movie, Steven Spielberg's Jaws is a classic of the monster movie genre. It's made all the scarier because you hardly ever actually see the shark. A ripple in the water is enough to make you never want to go swimming again.
Fun fact: Spielberg famously named the fake shark on set Bruce after his lawyer.
'Finding Nemo' (2003)
Celebrating Shark Week can start at any age. If you've got little ones, introduce them to the Finding Nemo sharks — they've taken a pledge of vegetarianism (though it's not easy for a shark to change his stripes, as Nemo and Dory learn). Just remember: "Fish are friends, not food."
'Deep Blue Sea' (1999)
If you prefer your Shark Week as ridiculous as possible, Deep Blue Sea is a good bet. Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J and Thomas Jane contend with hyper-intelligent, genetically enhanced sharks in this truly ridiculous thriller — a classic of the genre.
'Shark Tank' (2009 - present)
Metaphorical sharks, aka millionaire and billionaire investors, hear pitches from inventors and budding entrepreneurs hoping for a chance to form a partnership. These guys can be just as vicious as the real thing.
What better way to fully immerse yourself in the wonderful world of sharks than to listen to a hair metal band rock out? We could definitely see a three-and-a-half ton killing machine getting down to this ballad. Who's gonna tell him no?
The Soundtrack to West Side Story
If '80s rock isn't your thing, maybe musical theater is more your style. West Side Story features a whole gang called The Sharks. OK, so maybe they prefer to settle their beefs through dance, but you can't tell us all that snapping isn't a little intimidating.
Not every sea creature is out for blood. This big guy just wants to hang out.
Sharks can even appreciate artistic endeavors, like underwater ballet. This dancer created a performance featuring sharks to fight the stigma against them.
See, they're basically puppies. Puppies that could rip you in half if they wanted ...
Happy Shark Week!
Image credit: Discovery Channel