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Shark Week returns

The 2013 Shark Week premiered days after two shark attacks off the coast of Maui

Ladies and gentleman, it’s that time again: Shark Week is here. The highly anticipated weeklong block of programming on the Discovery Channel kicked off last night and remains as popular as ever.

Shark Week has been an annual event since 1987 and gained massive popularity in the past few years, with millions of people sharing information and videos via social media. The cleverly marketed Shark Week is one of the biggest television events of the year and has spawned a pop culture phenomenon—having everything from memes and drinking games made in its honor.

The true stars of the shows are the sharks themselves. This year’s Shark Week follows one of the most deadly years for shark attacks in recent history and arrives mere weeks after the surprise hit that was “Sharknado.” The Discovery Channel started Shark Week off with “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” which tried to prove the existence of a prehistoric beast that was nearly 70-feet long and went extinct over a million years ago.

The week promises even more mayhem with multiple shows dedicated to “Jaws” or Jaws-esque experiences as well as the Discovery Channel’s own spin on cataclysmic events involving these deadly predators called “Sharkpocalypse.” Despite the fact that sharks have not done anything new and just continue with their general maiming and killing, people are endlessly fascinated by them and this year proves to be no different.

As a preemptive welcome to Shark Week, two shark attacks took place off the coast of Maui last week. Both a surfer and a snorkler were attacked in two separate incidents at two different beaches mere days apart. The beaches were temporarily closed down, but have since reopened.

As for everyone else, they’ll stick to watching Shark Week and hopefully not experience any real sharks firsthand.

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