Discovery Channel's "Submarine" on Shark Week - what will they think of next?

So the big premiere for Shark Week on the Discovery Channel this year was a show called “Submarine: Shark of Darkness”. It’s supposedly a documentary investigating the possible existence of a giant, 35 foot long Great White shark that’s supposedly been hunting off the coast of South Africa for the last 30+ years.

So I recorded it and started watching on DVR. First thing out of the gate was the disclaimer at the beginning: “Events have been dramatized.” Wait, what?

Then they begin discussing the events of the fateful day a whale watching ship hit rocks off Geyser Island off the coast of South Africa. The boat began to sink, as the tourists and crew were forced into shark infested waters in the corridor known as “Shark alley”, where great whites are known to prey on seals. And they have dramatic cell phone footage of people in the water, screaming for help, while sharks are circling and their fins are cutting through the water.

Wait a minute, I know that video is pretty crappy, but those sharks look off.

Then they start doing “post accident interviews” with survivors on videotape. And I get this sinking feeling that the survivors and interviews are all wrong. Like the lady all happy and excited talking about the early part of getting on the boat. Um, this is after watching people horrifically eaten by sharks?

And they start interspersing this story with references to the tale of a giant 36 foot long shark living in the area for the past 40 years, and showing newpaper clippings and interviewing witnesses to giant great white attacks over the years.

The shark was nicknamed Submarine because it was seen on radar and mistaken for a submarine, being so large.

Then they start discussing how the shark is smarter than normal great whites, and how it preys on humans, and how it has developed new sneaky techniques. And it shows shark experts talking about it, and its new strategy is to hang motionless in a vertical position and then spring into action.

Hold on! This is a shark, a great white. They can’t hang motionless, they will die. WTF?

At this point, I had to do some googling.

Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine is a fake documentary

It gets worse.

Ugh, now Discovery Channel is actively promoting an urban legend to stir up ratings, regardless of the impact on attitudes about sharks. Kinda skewers their ongoing theme of promoting shark awareness and the repeated calls by actual shark experts about the reckless and senseless slaughter of sharks.

This is on the heels of last year’s Shark Week extravaganza, claiming that a Megalodon is alive and well.
So, I think I have an idea for Discovery Channel’s newest show for Shark Week: “I Was Eaten By a Shark”.

It will tell the harrowing tale of people who were attacked and eaten by vicious sharks, complete with video of sharks gnashing and spewing blood everywhere. It will be great.

“So it will be like I Shouldn’t Be Alive - survivor’s tales?”

No, stupid, we don’t want survivors, we want people eaten by sharks.

“But then who will tell these stories?”

We’ll have to use actors, but audiences don’t care, they just want to hear about people eaten by sharks. Vicious sharks.

“Um, okay, but doesn’t that kinda go against our supposed theme of shark conservancy and education?”

Shark conservancy? Who cares about that, certainly our viewers don’t. They just want stories about people eaten by sharks. See, just like the show “Great White Serial Killer” about two shark attacks off the coast of California 2 years apart, and how a great white might be stalking that shore like a serial killer.

And at the end of every episode, we can feed a person to sharks! It will be great! Actual person eaten by sharks, live on camera. And then people will post “oh, that’s so fake, look at that CGI”, and we can say “Oh no, it’s real, take that Bitches! Booya!”

“We can’t do that!”

“Sure we can, just get some stoner surfers and tell them how it’s the high of a lifetime, the adreneline rush. All that screaming, that’s the screams of excitement. Try it!”

I Was Eaten By A Shark - Next, on Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. DON’T MISS IT!

But then I got better.

Sharknado Chasers

Hillbilly Handfishin’-For Sharks!

This is the same company who made the Mermaid documentary. You’re surprised?

Just watch the original Submarine instead.

So last night was the show “Monster Hammerhead”. The show starts talking about a legend in Florida of a monster 20+ foot hammerhead shark off the coast of Florida around Tampa, known as “Old Hitler”, having been around since WWII. Then they show people talking about the legend.

Naturally, I had to go google to find out if that is real. It appears so. Then I looked up hammerheads to confirm they can get to about 20 feet long. Okay, so they aren’t lying yet.

Anyway, the program looks at scientists going to Florida and also to Bimini (island 50 miles off the coast) to examine shark sightings looking for Old Hitler, and another legend trolling Bimini called “The Harbormaster”.

Lots of sensationalizing in tone and music and production, and overemphasis that they are hunting Old Hitler, and sightings of Old Hitler, when it could be any large hammerhead.

But here’s what really bugged me. The group in Bimini want to tag a large hammerhead with a radio transponder to track its movements and see where they go. Fine. They set up a grid on the ocean floor using PVC to help size the sharks they see. Fine. They then put divers in the water and attract sharks to see what is going on. They get nurse sharks (yawn), followed by some bull sharks (yikes), and finally some great hammerheads (the largest hammerhead species). So they have divers in the water, not in cages or in chain mail, sitting around bait boxes and counting sharks. Um, yeah.

To keep the bull sharks away, they are using a “DNA sample gun”. Actually, it’s a spear gun. Anyway, the bull sharks come close, they poke them. The water is crystal clear and visibility is forever and they are only about 50 ft max under the surface, but still.

Anyway, a hammerhead comes up to investigate, and the diver pushes it away by pushing on its nose. Apparently that is the preferred technique for chasing off hammerheads.

So they want to radio tag a large hammerhead. They have a couple divers in scuba at the bottom, and then a diver at the surface apparently snorkle, no tank, with the transmitter harpoon. And she’s supposed to sneak up on the sharks while the other divers distract the sharks. And she’s got to swim down ~30 to ~50 feet and spear the hammerhead while the shark is swimming around, ready to run away. Meanwhile, the guy on the bottom is pushing the shark’s head away from himself with his hand.

So let me get this straight, the girl with the tagger is trying to get close enough but failing, meanwhile another diver is touching the sharks in question. :smack:
In the end, no definitive sighting of a 20 ft hammerhead. There’s one underwater scene where something chases off a bunch of sharks and they see the shadow but not very clear what it is. The video in this segment looks questionable to me.

Then there’s a segment where they crew off Tampa is trying to catch hammerheads with buoys so they can tag them. They get something huge on a line that drags a buoy around and they fight with it for a while before it bends the hook. Probably a really big hammerhead, but no sighting, so no confirmation.

And nothing to prove “Old Hitler” is around or “The Harbormaster” exists.

There were some Hammerheads swimming around with them that were well over 15 feet though, so I think the Old Hitler / Harbormaster sightings are legit. Could be multiple hammerheads around 20 feet long, who knows.

I did think it was pretty amazing they could deter an aggressive-acting 15 foot shark just by steering away the head with one hand. It wouldn’t have worked to give the main diver with the scuba tank the tagging spear because the sharks wouldn’t turn their back on him. He was the bait, the snorkel girl was the sneak attacker. I suppose he could steer away the head with one hand and poke as the shark turns, but that seems a bit more risky. The shark would be quite likely to turn and snap at him since it was already targeting him for investigation.

Last night: “Lair of the Mega Shark”

They are cruising the coast of New Zealand, chasing rumors of a great white that is over 20 ft long. There’s a New Zealand legend of a 30 ft White shark. Seems to me, whenever there are big sharks, there are legends and rumors of there being bigger sharks.

Anyway, they go chasing stories to see if they can hunt down these mysterious huge white sharks.

I’m not impressed with these scientists. First, they go and find a bump on the bottom of the ocean. They are looking for giant white sharks and where they might be congregating, so they decide to send down a diver. No cage, just a camera. “The only way to see what it is is to go down.”

No, that’s not the only way, you could send down a camera, maybe on an ROV. We just watched another program with an autonomic rover, so it’s not impossible. But I guess you don’t have one of those.

So the diver goes down, wandering around in kelp beds looking for the mass concentration. Guy on radio: “Keep your eyes open for sharks.” NO SHIT!

So he finds the lump, it’s… a rowboat. An old sunken rowboat. So he sets down his camera to look at the boat, when a shadow goes by. A huge white shark swims overhead. Oh shit, grab camera, look around… shark swims off in distance. “I don’t feel safe, I’m getting out of here.” “I think it’s suicidal to swim around here without a cage.” No shit.

To be fair, this is an experienced diver who has free swam with white sharks before. But that doesn’t reassure me about his judgement.

Anyway, next they hear about large whites sighted near a sunken ship, so they go over there. Then they decide to deploy a remote camera. Wait a minute, before you said the only way to look was go down, but now you have a remote camera? :rolleyes:

So they deploy the camera, wait around for several hours, see sharks. So they lower a guy in a cage, and get gets film of numerous sharks swimming around, and then attacking the cage. Whee, but no huge whites.

Next, they go to rumors of caves near the island. So they go over there, but the water is too shallow for their boat, so they can’t dive in a cage. No sweat, they’ll just free dive. Into a cave, looking for humongous white sharks. :rolleyes: They go poking around, find a whale rib bone. Well, at least we know there’s food.

Finally they go to a deep spot and wait for night, then drop their ROV. They see numerous large white sharks. So they send down two guys in a bigger cage.

Side note: there’s a warning printed on the side of the cage. “Do not stick any limbs outside of this cage.” They need a warning for that?

Anyway, it’s night, so they are shining lights from the ship and the cage, they go down to the bottom, after a moment, several 15 to 16 foot whites are swimming around, acting aggressive. They open a panel for the camera to shoot through, and sharks start trying to swim into the cage. They end up closing that panel and pushing the sharks with pointy sticks, while the sharks rattle the cage.

Suddenly, those sharks leave. That can only mean one thing - law of big fish, when the big fish leave, it’s because there’s a bigger fish. Yep, an even bigger white shark comes out of the dark and starts rattling their cage and coming at them. They poke it with their sticks, and finally get pulled out.

Never did confirm the size of that shark. It’s big, but is it over 20 feet long? Don’t know. Probably bigger, but not definite, and don’t know if it’s 20 or 22 feet long.

Oh well, we got to see scientists acting like dumbasses and taking stupid risks for good TV. At least we got something useful out of it.

Oh, I forgot the bit where they want to stick a camera on a shark’s dorsal fin. So they’re luring sharks up to their boat and trying to reach over the side to grab the fin. But they aren’t close enough. So plan B - send two guys out in a dingy so they are closer to the water. A dingy that is smaller than the sharks. “Here, put on this flotation device, so if you fall over, we’ll have time to get to you to pull you out because the current is so strong.” Um, what about the sharks?

So they have two guys in a dingy, tied with a rope, floating next to the big boat that is luring with baits. Large whites are surfacing for the bait, but not close enough to grab. One of them gets to the front of the boat and sort of starts munching on the rope to the boat.

Voiceover guy: “If the rope gets severed, the dingy will become unstable.”

NO! The rope has no bearing on the stability of the frigging boat. It’s a BOAT! The rope just keeps the dingy from floating too far so they don’t have to paddle it back or turn on the engines to track it down, it’s not going to make the dingy suddenly start wobbling. That’s what the two guys in the dingy lunging around are for. :rolleyes:
I kept thinking a paraphrase of a line from Die Hard. You know when the guy says “We’re going to need some more FBI guys.” Well, I kept seeing them take risks like swim around without cages or leaning out over the water from the dingy: “We’re gonna need some more scientist guys.”

Skeptical Inquirer posted a link to this story:
“Shark Week lied to scientists to get them to appear in ‘documentaries.’”

Wait, you saw on TV the guys underwater deploying the cameras? Think about that one for a moment.

I guess Shark Week has finally jumped the shark. :frowning:
Shark Week Allegedly Lies to Scientists to Get Them to Appear in Mockumentaries
It is Shark Week, the one week of the year when Discovery Channel is allowed to air completely fabricated stories about sharks that don’t exist. But strangely enough, scientist appear in these documentaries, and no one could explain why, until now: According to several scientists featured in Shark Week films, they were straight-up lied to.

Anger builds over Shark Week’s fake submarine documentary
The Internet continued to simmer Monday as fans of Shark Week took to social media to complain about “Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine,” a fake documentary that helped kick off Discovery Channel’s week of shark-themed programs Sunday night.

I am starting to wonder if the guys who make the made-for-SYFY movies are moonlighting for Discovery in their spare time. I am waiting for a Shark Week “documentary” starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Tiffany.

There was the guy swimming around with his camera investigating the row boat. He apparently had a partner who was filming him.

They deployed the remote camera from the boat, which had a couple cameras on it.

And here is something eerily close to my prediction.