Shark Week Tries To Pass Of Megalodon Mockumentary
Discovery network must have been encouraged by recent fake documentaries that created lots of publicity, because they kicked off the 26th year of their ever-popular Shark Week this week with a CGI-heavy “investigation” into the existence of the megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark. But Discovery is getting the wrong kind of attention, as fans of the once-science-based network revolt against the fantasy of the recent programming.
Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives follows a supposed team of researchers trying to prove that the massive shark still exists. They investigate boats and animals with huge bites taken out of them, and spray the ocean with bloody bait in a process they call “super chumming.”
The megalodon was very much a real creature that existed until probably 1.5 million years ago. It likely resembled a great white shark, but was up to four times as long (59 feet). But there is little to no evidence it exists any more.
The megalodon special did not specifically feature an explanation saying it was a work of fiction. It did briefly show a disclaimer at the end, saying “certain events and characters” had been “dramatized,” and that none of the “institutions or agencies” featured in the show were involved or approved.
Discovery scored some of its highest ratings ever with two specials presenting “evidence” of the existence of mermaids. Some viewers were fooled by computer animations and manufactured evidence.
And while this special sent the phrase megalodon spiking in Google searches, it seems to have garnered mostly bad press for the network, which saw its Facebook page flooded with complaints.
The special did probably teach some viewers more about the animal, but it really didn’t need to resort to such cheap tricks to make such a fascinating creature exciting. As one writer at Gawker put it, the two-hour “nature” special was “kind of like showing up for history class and being taught Downton Abbey as if it all actually happened.”
Did you see the Megalodon special? What did you think?
[image via Wikimedia]