The series kicks off its 23rd season Sunday at 9 p.m. with "Ultimate Air Jaws" and a return to the coast of South Africa, where great white sharks are known to breach with almost no warning, pulling sneak attacks on the seals that congregate there.
10 years ago, Discovery Channel premiered "Air Jaws," which explored this phenomenon -- an episode that still remains the fifth most-watched of the series. This year, producer Jeff Kurr returns to the scene to investigate the aerial attacks, this time armed with state-of-the-art equipment, including an HD camera that shoots in super slow motion -- 2,000 frames per second, which is 20 to 30 times slower than "typical" slow-motion footage.
Kurr and shark expert Chris Fallows slow down the footage of a breaching shark from 1 second in real time to almost a minute. The amazing resolution provides so much detail that you can count every tooth in the shark’s mouth. Fallows and Kurr also employ a submarine and remotely operated helicopter to capture this incredible footage.
Other episodes this week are sure to inform and amaze, including getting up close for a shark bite, where viewers literally end up inside the jaws of sharks; shark attacks and how best to survive one (including interviews with six people who did); and a look at the 2008 shark attacks which took place along the coast of California and Mexico, when sharks mistook four people for prey.
Hopefully the series will shed some light on this often-feared and mysterious predator of the deep, informing viewers about threats currently facing plummeting shark populations and inspiring them to help with shark conservation efforts.
The "Shark Week" series schedule and episode descriptions are after the jump.