Discovery’s 2014 Shark Week is Jumping the Sharknado

Treva Bowdoin | Aug 7, 2014

Shark Week is about to turn the Discovery Channel’s TV schedule into a finned feeding frenzy. We’re wondering if the network looked to the Syfy channel when choosing titles for its upcoming specials.

Syfy’s “Sharknado 2: The Second One” recently took a bite out of the Big Apple by giving us sharks on a plane, sharks on a train, and sharks at a Met game. The Discovery Channel hasn’t tried to convince viewers that a sharknado could actually destroy New York, but its “Zombie Sharks” are about to invade your TV in what just might be a “Sharkageddon.”

Discovery outdid “Sharknado 2″ in showcasing its bigger star, “Parks and Recreation” actor Rob Lowe. He can be seen slinging chum, mesmerizing a mermaid, and riding two sharks in a Shark Week promo that looks a bit like a scene from a Syfy movie.

The Discovery Channel used to focus on convincing viewers that sharks aren’t scary creatures that deserve to be killed, but 2014′s Shark Week titles paint pictures of bloodthirsty beasts similar to Syfy’s “Sharktopus,” “Dinoshark,” and “Ghost Shark.” Let’s take a look at the Shark Week titles that are giving Syfy a run for its money:

“Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss” — Tuesday, August 12, 9 p.m.

Unfortunately, Wil Wheaton isn’t returning to the final frontier so he can get killed on a planet inhabited by humanoid shark creatures. According to Discovery, this special will feature a real species of bioluminescent “alien sharks” that hide in the deepest depths of the Indian Ocean.

“Lair of the Mega Shark” — Tuesday, August 12, 10 p.m.

No, the Discovery Channel isn’t having the “Mythbusters” crew build a mecha shark to do battle with a man-eating mega shark. Here shark experts Jeff Kerr and Andy Casagrande head out in search of a 20 foot great white shark said to lurk in the waters of New Zealand. Discovery labeled their hunt a “life-or-death mission” to make it sound more exciting.

“Zombie Sharks” — Wednesday, August 13, 9 p.m.

Discovery is bringing back its “Talking Dead” inspired nightly talk show, “Shark After Dark,” and it’s also trying to capitalize on the success of “The Walking Dead” with this scary-sounding special. Unfortunately, “Zombie Sharks” won’t feature Michael Rooker fighting off an undead Jaws with a buzz-saw hand like the one Tara Reid rocks in “Sharknado 2.” However, the special sounds just as crazy. Professional diver Eli Martinez will attempt to be the first person to immobilize a great white shark by inducing “tonic immobility.”

This neat trick has been shown on Shark Week before. As the Los Angeles Times reports, “Sharkman” Michael Rutzen is a pro at inducing this catatonic state. Discovery describes it as “zombie-like,” but the sharks don’t try to eat you; instead they become perfectly still and completely harmless. Rutzen induces tonic immobility in smaller sharks by petting their snouts, but the snouts he pets aren’t attached to mouths like the ones Martinez’s hand will be just inches away from.

“Spawn of Jaws: The Birth” — Wednesday, August 13, 10 p.m.

This isn’t about Bruce’s army of shark babies seeking revenge for the killing of their father. Instead it follows Dr. Michael Domeier as he attempts to be the first person to record the birth of a baby great white shark.

“Sharkageddon” — Thursday, August 14, 10 p.m.

This sounds like the title of a Syfy movie starring Eric Roberts as an astronaut who heads to space to launch a nuclear missile at the massive tidal wave of sharks that’s about to hit the United States. However, it’s really about Hawaii’s recent spike in shark attacks.

“Sharksanity” — Saturday, August 16, 10 p.m.

This isn’t a movie starring Lindsay Lohan (a.k.a. “Lindsanity”) as a crazy shark hunter who has to kill an insane amount of sharks; it’s just a look back at the most memorable moments of Shark Week 2014.

Which Shark Week special are you looking forward to the most?

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