TOOTHY TV Stop fronting like you don't love Shark Week. You live for its exciting footage of the world's most potent predators, its programming that veers between sensational and scientific, and its narration that comes overstuffed with metaphors: "She is a missile, armed with teeth ... ready to fire!" The Discovery Channel knows it has you by the chum bucket, so it's devoting an entire week of programming to Shark Week's 20th anniversary. We're talking 130 hours of sharks, which, if you break it down into minutes, approximates how many teeth a Great White might go through in a lifetime. Anyway, the point is, I've been watching Shark Week since I was 12 years old (I still have the glasses from when they did Sharks 3-D a few years back), and while I still don't really understand how Discovery wants us to feel about sharks for every program pointing out that humans kill way more sharks every year than vice versa, there's a Shark Attack Rescuers I ain't gonna stop watching anytime soon.
Tops among the new programming is the two-hour Ocean of Fear: Worst Shark Attack Ever, which actually features scant shark footage but does reenact the ordeal of the crew of the USS Indianapolis (appropriately, Jaws star Richard Dreyfuss narrates). Survivors (some played by actors) share their grisly memories of what happened when the torpedoed ship on a return voyage after delivering parts of the Hiroshima A-bomb sank into the shark-infested Philippine Sea in 1945. The program includes the famed footage of the men's eventual rescue.
Also new this year: Deadly Stripes: Tiger Sharks, which backs up its claim that tiger sharks are "the garbage-disposal units of the sea" by revealing that one was found with an entire suit of armor in its belly; Shark Feeding Frenzy, with the star of Discovery's Survivorman wisely donning chain mail before jumping into a sea full of sharks with a box full of bait; and Perfect Predators, which may answer the age-old question of why hammerheads are so, uh, freaky looking. (Evolution, baby!) And if you think vacationing with your relatives is torture, hitch along with Sharks: A Family Affair, which trails the adventures of a family whose Pops has proudly created "the first-ever children's shark cage." Dude, don't you think there's a reason nobody ever built one before?
SHARK WEEK Runs July 29Aug. 4 on the Discovery Channel; see www.discovery.com for schedule.
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