Has Shark Week jumped the shark?
Wil Wheaton thinks so. "Remember when #SharkWeek was about science and biology and learning?" Wheaton tweeted after watching Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives, a 2-hour Discovery Channel documentary about the Megalodon, a giant toothed monster "that once dominated our planet’s oceans."
Here's the problem, as Christie Wilcox detailed in an open letter:
This year’s Shark Week kick-off special, Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives, claimed to provide evidence that these massive beasts are still out there, using scattered anecdotes and scientific testimony to support the assertion. There’s only one problem: the entire “documentary” wasn’t real.
No whale with a giant bite taken out of it has ever washed up here in Hawaii. No fishing vessel went mysteriously missing off of South Africa in April. No one has ever found unfossilized Megalodon teeth. Collin Drake? Doesn’t exist. The evidence was faked, the stories fabricated, and the scientists portrayed on it were actors. The idea that Megalodon could still be roaming the ocean is a complete and total myth.
Apparently the folks at Discovery know just what they were doing. Megalodon was reportedly the highest-rated and most-watched Shark Week program to date.
So what's the harm in presenting a mockumentary, one might ask. Christie Wilcox argues that the truly "sad part" is that Discovery is "so well trusted by your audience that you actually convinced them: according to your poll, upwards of 70% of your viewing public fell for the ruse and now believes that Megalodon isn’t extinct."
Read Wilcox's full letter here.