Per Matt
July means different things to different people. There’s Independence Day, naturally. Living in the South, a lot of hot days with high humidity are expected. It’s also my birthday month (My sister was also born on my fourth birthday — guess which present I wanted to return?). For a while, it was the time of year when a new Sharknado movie was released. And it’s always a good time to expect some great shark-related programming. This year is no different, as Nat Geo presents “the biggest SharkFest ever.” Spanning over six weeks, that’s a whole lot of edutainment to enjoy!

The first day of programming began with a mighty swing of Mjolnir, as Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth took the superhero Down Under to his home country to explore different options for humans to live peacefully with sharks. From the looks of it, he’s a pretty good surfer too, so is seems this is a mission that he truly believes in. The special discussed an ocean without sharks, which is a pretty scary scenario, as well as showcasing scientists devising a shark deterrent to use on surfboards.

Shark Gangs explored the teaming up of underwater predators, but I really enjoyed The Croc That Ate Jaws. This program explored crocodile vs. shark encounters within the Southern hemisphere, while comparing and contrasting the apex predators. It was exciting to see the first-ever alligator body cam get installed, but because it happened within The Everglades, its murky waters were less than revealing. Then bull sharks were fitted with cameras, awaiting a possible clash. All of this brought high drama.

The remainder of the week brought an endless number of new When Sharks Attack (and their Deep Dives), not to mention all of last year’s programming. I was especially interested in the Maui, Miami and North Carolina attacks, as those were unique to the rest. A variety of hypotheses explaining their attacks investigated hurricanes, harmful toxins, rip currents, deadly algae blooms, the full moon, volcano sharks and Russian military spies. Each of these might partially explain the previous attacks, but further research is needed to confirm the theories.

While those stories were entertaining, I can only stomach watching so many recreations in one binge-watching session. Unfortunately, I needed more variety for my educational entertainment. Thor definitely brought some muscle to the National Geographic Channel, but other than that, the first weeklong celebration of sharks was slim pickings for variety.

Week 2 offers new episodes of Wicked Tuna, along with Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted and Breaking Bobby Bones, but after getting introduced to the marine conservationist on Hemsworth’s special, I’m most interested in watching Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story.

As a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I especially enjoyed seeing Hemsworth in his native environment. And with entertainment options currently valued at a premium price, SharkFest ’21 has been extended to six weeks.

More options are available through four different networks, as well as the Disney+ streaming service, but I’m really expecting some great programming to air after Discovery Channel’s Shark Week concludes this week.