Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2019 kicked off with a bite Sunday night, plunging viewers into the depths of the seas with the premiere of Expedition Unknown: Megalodon, and the fan reactions are already swimming in. The network’s annual slate of shark-centered programming is set to continue all week before concluding on Sunday, Aug. 4.
After the premiere of Expedition Unknown: Megalodon, the night continued with Shark Trip: Eat. Prey. Chum before concluding with Shark After Dark. Discovery is set to venture back into dangerous waters Monday night beginning at 8 p.m. ET with Sharks of the Badlands, which will be followed by Legend of Deep Blue, The Sharks of Headstone Hell, and Shark After Dark.
This year, Discovery added the first scripted, made-for-TV movie to the Shark Week line-up. Set to air on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, the Josh Duhamel-starring film Capsized: Blood in the Water tells the true tale of the 1982 incident in which a yacht crew was followed by tiger sharks after the boat sank in a storm and were set adrift in the Atlantic.
Unfortunately, despite all of the excitement surrounding the annual programming, some are criticizing Discovery’s decision to lean heavily on programming showcasing shark attacks on humans rather than on programming highlighting science and conservation efforts.
“It’s really disappointing that you have so much potential with a really interesting subject and that potential is lost because they focus on sensational aspects," Dr. Stephen Kaijura, a shark expert at Florida Atlantic University, told NBC News. “Here you have a really diverse group of animals — they are a fascinating group because of their diversity and evolutional history. But so much of that is ignored with shows called 'Blood in the Water' or 'Danger Beach.' You’re missing out on an incredible opportunity here."0comments
Shark Week does do plenty of good, however. Over the past 10 years, the annual programming slate has helped raise millions of dollars for conservation, including $1 million alone for the environmental charity, Oceana. This year, Discovery again partnered with the charity to lead a beach clean-ups in Los Angeles, New York City, and Knoxville ahead of the Sunday premiere.