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Megalodon might hurt Shark Week

Michael DeLaney

Viewers feel slighted by fake documentary

The Discovery Channel is facing a lot of opposition from its viewers this week after airing their faux documentary Megalodon: The Shark Monster Lives. The problems that people have with the Megalodon flick that kicked off Shark Week is that it was sold as a legitimate documentary and not a work of fiction.

Megalodon of course was a real prehistoric shark that was nearly 60 feet in length and had the most powerful jaw of any creature in existence. But the title pretty much says it all: Megalodon: The Shark Monster Lives (except it doesn’t).

Shark Week fans felt slighted when they discovered that the search for Megalodon was actually a search for ratings. Twitter users voiced their hashtagged cries for justice, in particular celebrity nerd and worst TNG cast member Wil Wheaton. On his personal blog, Wheaton spoke his mind in length on the megalodon matter:

 “I care about education. I care about science. I care about inspiring people to learn about the world and universe around us. Sharks are fascinating, and megalodon was an absolutely incredible creature! Discovery had a chance to get its audience thinking about what the oceans were like when megalodon roamed and hunted in them. It had a chance to even show what could possibly happen if there were something that large and predatory in the ocean today … but Discovery Channel did not do that. In a cynical ploy for ratings, the network deliberately lied to its audience and presented fiction as fact. Discovery Channel betrayed its audience.”

Discovery Channel stands by Megalodon and their decision to air it, however. Shark Week executive producer Michael Sorensen defended the program, saying:

“With a whole week of Shark Week programming ahead of us, we wanted to explore the possibilities of Megalodon,” Sorensen told FOX411 in a statement. “It’s one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It’s Ultimate Shark Week fantasy.  The stories have been out there for years and with 95% of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?”

Who really knows indeed? There has been a lot of talk on the interwebs in regards to boycotting Shark Week because of this Megalodon debacle. Whether or not these angry logic-based folks will follow through is yet to be seen.

Do you think that Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives should be getting as much flack as it is? After all, History Channel has Aliens in America and Animal Planet had a Mermaids “documentary.”

Personally I’m beginning to question Discovery Channel’s programming altogether. I bet there’s no such place as Planet Earth at all.

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