'Shark Week' is back on Discovery Channel beginning Sunday
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.
Sunday, Aug. 1, 9 p.m.: "Ultimate Air Jaws"
Off the coast of South Africa, massive great white sharks blast from the water, pulling a sneak attack on their seal prey. Shark expert Chris Fallows and filmmaker Jeff Kurr arrive on the scene to investigate the aerial attacks using state-of-the-art technology, including an HD camera that shoots in super slow motion -- 2,000 frames per second. This enables the team to slow down a breaching shark from one second of real time to almost a minute, and in so much detail you can literally count every tooth in the shark’s mouth. Fallows and Kurr also employ a submarine and remotely operated helicopter to capture this incredible footage.
Created by the producers of Discovery’s "Time Warp" series, go where humans don’t dare to. Watch the power of a shark bite filmed with the latest high-speed, high-definition cameras from extraordinary angles -- virtually ending up inside the jaws of sharks.
Monday, Aug. 2, 9 p.m.: "Shark Attack Survival Guide"
In the ultimate immersive survival show, host and Green Beret Terry Schappert draws on his survival training to show you ways to stay alive if attacked by a shark. Schappert dives with real sharks to re-create five attack scenarios, drawn from actual survival stories, to show how these attacks can happen, and what you can learn to do so that neither you nor the shark gets hurt.
Monday, Aug. 2, 10 p.m.: "Day of the Shark"
Learn valuable lessons from six people who survived shark attacks, and find out why they don’t blame the sharks. Hear from a Navy SEAL who was attacked by a bull shark in the murky waters of Sydney Harbor while participating in an anti-terrorism exercise; a fisherman attacked by a pair of bull sharks while standing in the shallow waters of Breton Sound in Louisiana; a surfer in Jongensfontein, South Africa, who was attacked by a great white shark; a vacationer snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia who was attacked by a reef shark; and a surfer attacked by a tiger shark off Oahu, Hawaii.
Tuesday, Aug. 3, 9 p.m.: "Shark Bite Beach"
In 2008, fear gripped beaches along the coast of California and Mexico in the wake of multiple horrific shark attacks. "Shark Bite Beach" returns to the site of the attacks to re-create the dramatic stories of survival and search for clues that might explain why sharks mistook humans for prey that fateful summer.
Wednesday, Aug. 4, 10 p.m.: "Shark Bites -- Adventures in Shark Week"
Late-night talk show host and comedian Craig Ferguson takes viewers on a dive through some of the most jaw-dropping moments from past "Shark Week" specials. With the help of shark experts, learn amazing shark feats, shark facts and shark science while we bust some myths and highlight some of the dirtiest jobs in the ocean.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photos, from top: A white shark breaches; a shark with its jaws open wide. Credit: Discovery Channel