A Tale of Two Sharks: ‘Sharknado’ vs. Shark Week

It was the best of sharks, it was the worst of sharks. Either way, shark fans everywhere rejoiced. According to Discovery’s advertising for Shark Week, it’s a bad week to be a seal. But man, is it a f***ing awesome week to be a shark. With “Sharknado” showing in theaters one night only on August 2 and Shark Week beginning on August 4, sharks are really getting the spotlight this week.

Discovery caused some waves with their controversial advertisements for this year’s Shark Week that showed Snuffy the seal being gobbled up by a Great White on a fake newscast.

On the other hand, Syfy hit the jackpot with it’s made for TV movie, “Sharknado.” During its premiere, as I’m sure you’ve already heard, “Sharknado” took Twitter and the rest of the internet by storm. (Haha, that joke never gets old!)

According to The Atlantic Wire, at the peak of “Sharknado” madness around 11 p.m. on July 11, the film generated around 60,000 Twitter mentions and became a trending topic both on Twitter and Google. Despite all the buzz, at first it was unclear whether airing “Sharknado” so close to Shark Week would be a good call. Buzzfeed interviewed Syfy’s head of original programming, Thomas Vitale, shortly after the “Sharknado” social media craze. At the time, when asked about running “Sharknado” up against Discovery’s Shark Week programming, Vitale said, “It is up in our minds, we are considering it, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”

Now it looks like Syfy is taking the leap. But can Syfy’s new hit hold a candle to the 26-year shark entertainment veteran, Shark Week? Prior to last week, I would have said “no chance in hell.” However, last week Syfy announced that it will be showing “Sharknado” in Regal Cinema theaters across the nation for one night only – August 2nd at midnight. Now I think they might be onto something.

This “one night only” exclusivity might be just what Syfy needs to generate more buzz around their original programming. And it’s certainly no coincidence that this one-night screening of Sharknado is taking place just two days prior to the first day of Shark Week, which starts on August 4.

Can Shark Week’s waves stand up against the monstrosity that is “Sharknado”?

According to Moviefone, Syfy is really stepping up their shark game. On July 27th they held their first “all-day Sharkathon” featuring re-runs of “Sharknado” plus other ridiculous shark movies like “Sharktopus,” “Swamp Shark,” and “2-Headed Shark Attack.” They also have other shark-related titles like “Ghost Shark” coming up, and there is officially going to be a “Sharknado” sequel. So we could be looking at a major shark throwdown against Shark Week next year.

But Shark Week certainly isn’t going to go down without a fight. In its 26th year, Shark Week is the trusted shark entertainment veteran. Fans wait all year long for Shark Week year after year, and this year’s programming promises to be just as jawsome as ever.

Last year the folks at Shark Week proved their social media prowess, so this year the focus is back on programming. New to Shark Week this year is the “Shark After Dark” late night show to be aired every night during Shark Week. According to the Shark Week website, “Comedian Josh Wolf will lead viewers through an hour-long celebration of all things shark-related that will include celebrity guests, shark experts and shark attack survivors, among others.”

In addition to the new late night program, Shark Week also holds plenty of fan favorites like “Air Jaws” and many shows about shark attacks. Of course there’s plenty of education to be had in programs like “Voodoo Sharks” and “Return of Jaws.” The week is guaranteed to bring the teeth just like Shark Week always has.

Only time will tell, but I think Syfy is making a smart choice by piggy-backing off of Discovery’s Shark Week for their own original programming. If shark fans are already stoked with the upcoming Shark Week, why not feed their craving for sharks with some entertainment of your own? And I think Shark Week will probably only benefit from the shark frenzy brought on by “Sharknado.” It seems like a win-win to me.

It looks like Discovery Channel no longer has the monopoly on shark entertainment, which is something I think a lot of shark fans are totally okay with. The more sharks the better!

What do you think? Do you think Syfy can take on Shark Week? Will you be seeing “Sharknado” in theaters or watching Shark Week? Who do you think will come out on top?

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Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+.

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