Shark Week is the Discovery Channel’s premier television event and for 2013 they decided to have some fun. Perhaps inspired by “Sharknado,” the “Megalodon” documentary was meant to be a bit of a spoof on shark documentaries.
Shark Week has returned for a week of programming and “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” was a documentary similar in style to last year’s “Mermaids: The New Evidence” that aired on Animal Planet. Combining a bit of fact with plenty of fiction, the megalodon documentary was meant to be a narrative and drew upon the “found footage” that has become a common storytelling mechanism in horror movies.
“Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” was not meant to be taken seriously and Gawker points out a few clues that give it away. As Gawker notes, there were no local news reports about any such attack, based on the April 5, 2013 date given in the documentary. Plus there are some obvious computer graphics and the scripted nature of the interviews.
The documentary was supposed to be about a group of researchers for the giant shark, that has been extinct for approximately two million years. A megalodon was approximately 60 feet long and weighed in at 77 tons. A great white shark, for comparison, measures 15 to 20 feet and weighs about 2.5 tons.
Shark Week fans tuning in to the megalodon documentary were left confused, and a bit outraged, over Discovery’s decision to choose humor over education. Gawker likened learning about the extinct shark from “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” to learning about servants from “Downton Abbey.”
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In the comments section, many viewers took Discovery Channel to task for putting the mockumentary on television. One commenter states, “Very disappointed in discovery for opening shark week with another made up show. Just like the mermaid show. At least I didn't sit through half of the show before I realized what was going on. I might as well watch sharknado.” Plenty of users also mentioned “Jaws” proving to be more believable than “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives.”
A clip from "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives" can be viewed below.