Shark Week 2017
You’re advised to get out of the water — and near a TV set: Sunday kicks off Shark Week, Discovery’s eight-day attack of programming that celebrates all things sharks. From Michael Phelps racing a Great White to a Sharks and the City special narrated by Sex and the City alum Chris Noth, here’s your ultimate guide to the 29th installment of Shark Week.
Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives July 23, 7 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: A central California beach is the site of a Great White shark attack every two years in October. With the use of satellite tags and DNA technology, Dr. Michael Domeier tries to solve the mystery.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “This is, without a doubt, the most intriguing shark attack story since Jaws,” says shark expert Jeff Kurr. “But unlike Jaws, this story is 100 percent true. It’s about a series of mysterious great white attacks that we solve using the latest shark science!”
Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White July 23, 8 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: 28-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps faces off against a great white shark in a 100-meter race. (Not side-by-side.)
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: Umm… do you really need more reason than Michael Phelps is racing a great white? “Being in the water and seeing how fast they can go in a straight line over an extended period of time was intriguing to me,” says Phelps. “I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, why not? Let’s see who would win a race.’”
Shark-Croc Showdown July 23, 9:10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Dr. Mark Meekan and conservationist Paul de Gelder team up to study some intriguing behavior in the Cobourg Peninsula off Australia, where sharks and crocodiles are battling each other over the right to eat sea turtles.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “Shark-Croc Showdown gives a glimpse of a struggle that was going on long before man evolved on the planet,” says Meekan. “At the water’s edge of beaches in a remote corner of Australia, these giant reptiles battle with sharks for the prize of nesting turtles.”
The Great Hammerhead Invasion July 23, 10:10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Is it better in the Bahamas? For Giant Hammerheads — especially pregnant ones — it might be. Shark scientist Tristan Guttridge theorizes that these sharks, who are known to be loners, come to the waters off Bimini every November because they are pregnant and need to feed. From there, they head off to Florida — not to visit relatives, but to feast on migrating blacktips.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “Hammerhead sharks are one of the earth’s most bizarre and charismatic predators,” says Guttridge. “We know next to nothing about them, and this show unravels some of their exciting and unique secrets.”
Shark After Dark July 23, 11:10 p.m.; July 24-27, 11 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Horror director Eli Roth hosts a highlight reel that offers the best moments of that day’s programs and previews the following day’s offerings with guests like Charlize Theron, Tony Hale, Moby, and Regina Hall.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “As an avid Shark Week fan going back almost 30 years, I always had questions for the people who actually got in the water and filmed these incredible programs,” says Roth. “It was probably the director in me, but even as a teenager I thought, ‘How in the hell did they get this shot?’ Hosting Shark After Dark has not only given me the chance to ask the questions we’re all thinking, but I’ve always been able to get in the water and experience these magnificent animals up close and learn just how intelligent and shy they are. We want the show to be informative and fun and to take a deeper dive behind the scenes of what it’s like to make these programs and to raise awareness about the horrendous slaughter of over 100 million (you read that correctly, 100 million) sharks annually that most people are unaware of. Despite those numbers, we make the show entertaining and fun. “
Shark Vortex July 24, 8 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Dr. Gregory Skomal and underwater cameraman Joe Romeiro examine the annual summer migration of makos, great whites, and porbeagles along the Gulf Stream into southern New England.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “[We] will unravel the many secrets of a massive yearly shark event in New England,” says Romeiro, “and, in the process, find something incredible never before seen on Shark Week.”
Return to the Isle of Jaws July 24, 9 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Shark experts including Paul de Gelder (who is also a shark-attack survivor) head back to a great-white gathering place near Western Australia to make a “startling discovery” about the species.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “Well, for starters, how many times have you witnessed a shark-attack survivor swim with great whites without the safety of a cage?” says de Gelder. “Also, in this show, we witnessed something that has never been seen before. Could some sharks be twins and stay together?”
Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins July 24, 10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: The latest installment in the franchise seeks out more of the world’s oddest-looking sharks. Dr. Craig O’Connell ventures to the Bass Strait in search of sawsharks, while shark scientist Victoria Elena Vasquez and Dr. David Ebert journey into Tokyo Bay to check out the goblin shark. Plus: ghost sharks, frilled sharks, and lantern sharks!
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “From Tokyo sharks that glow to Australian and Florida sharks with chainsaw-like faces, discover your new spirit animal as researchers explore the frontier of shark science,” says Vasquez.
Sharks and the City: LA July 25, 9 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Great whites appear to be increasing in number along the Los Angeles coastline and hunting out of season. Why? Don’t ask us — ask Dr. Chris Lowe, a.k.a. director of the CSULB Shark Lab, who ventures to an island in Mexico for some answers.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “While the Farallons and Guadalupe Island have historically been white shark central, now some prime real estate off Southern California is being snatched up by some young up-and-comers,” says Lowe.
Sharks and the City: New York July 25, 10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Chris Noth (from Sex and the City, get it?) narrates this special in which marine biologist Craig O’Connell investigates why the number of great whites around New York may start to rise again now that seals are returning to New York Harbor.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “What we discover will forever change the way you see New York City,” says O’Connell. “After diving and testing a variety of techniques to attract great white sharks in South Africa with [underwater cameraman] Andy Casagrande, [we] bring these techniques back to New York, where they quickly learn that their home waters are teeming with sharks. But these aren’t just any sharks. What we soon find swimming under their boat and eventually catch was groundbreaking and resulted in the establishment of a new and international shark conservation project.”
The Lost Cage July 26, 9 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: A group of explorers — make that a group of very brave explorers — head down to the Gulf of Mexico and float around in a shark cage, hoping to draw in the deadliest shark lurking in those waters.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “You’ll watch our team survive on a floating fish magnet for seven days in the blue abyss, drifting over 100 miles out to sea where the fiercest shark species on the planet reside,” says underwater cameraman Devon Massyn. “We risk our lives diving with these predators for new information that could help save millions of sharks worldwide.”
Devil Sharks July 26, 10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Dr. Mike Heithaus studies the sea around volcanoes to learn more about why sharks gather around these literal hotspots.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “Sharks. Volcanos. In the same show. How can you beat that?” reasons Heithaus.
Shark Exile July 27, 9 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Dr. Fabio Hazin has reduced the number of shark encounters by humans in the waters off Brazil by transporting sharks out to the open sea. This special takes you inside the process, as he and Dr. Jonathan Werry explore the viability of the program in Australia.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “The potential to safely move and relocate large and dangerous sharks is an exciting notion for potential conservation of sharks and the minimizing of potential shark-human interactions,” says Werry.
Shark Storm July 27, 10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Why do sharks gather in swarms in very specific areas of the world? Don’t worry: Tristan Guttridge is on the case.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “We filmed on Cocos Island, home of huge numbers of schooling hammerheads,” says shark scientist Ornella Weideli, who worked with Guttridge on the program. “We not only scuba-dived with sharks, but we also took the submarine to observe their behavior. Being in this vehicle was one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life!”
African Shark Safari July 28, 9 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Great whites had vanished from the waters around Madagascar, but one just journeyed from 1,500 miles down the coast of Africa. Are more on their way? Craig O’Connell is determined to find out.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “We dive into a whole new realm that may be one of the last undiscovered hot spots for Great White Sharks,” says O’Connell. “Starting in the Great White Shark Capital of the World, we track sharks to the remote island of Madagascar where we make a startling discovery — something that may forever change the conservation status of these apex predators. “
Lair of the Sawfish July 28, 10 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: One of the weirdest creatures lurking in the sea is the sawfish, and the experts in this special aim to help the endangered species boost its numbers.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: “It involves super-gnarly tech diving on a treacherous shipwreck on the hunt for a critically endangered animal that’ll be seen for the first time,” says marine biologist Luke Tipple.
Sharkmania July 29, 9 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: This special highlights “the closest calls, biggest bites, and greatest gadgets” from Shark Week 2017.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: You never found the time to watch any of the actual specials, but you still want to fool your friends into thinking you watched Shark Week this year.
Shark School With Michael Phelps July 30, 8 p.m. ET/PT
Bite-size summary: Fresh from winning/losing a 100-meter race with a great white, Olympic legend Michael Phelps gets educated about sharks by Dr. Samuel Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab. The two experts not only dispel myths about the predators of the sea, they give Mr. Swim a lesson on how to dive with sharks.
If you can watch only one Shark Week special, watch this one because: You get to see Phelps ditch a cage and court danger. “I started in the cage,” says Phelps. ”And watching these sharks just swim around me, and they weren’t really doing much, I was like, ‘All right, I think I’m ready to get out of the cage. Let’s get out and see what these guys and girls are like head-to-head and close up.’”