I’ve decided that, like Animal Planet (a Discovery subsidiary) the Discovery Channel should not be airing “found footage” documentaries. The Mermaid thing, and now this new one about Megalodon, are just the cheapest, stupidest programming that I’ve seen in quite some time, and quite frankly the entire premise is offensive.
Do they really think that we’re all so dumb that we need lies, instead of reality, to keep us interested in Discovery Channel’s programming?
If I could send a message to the Discovery Channel, it would be that the actual, real world, right here in front of us, is absolutely fascinating without needing to embellish it with bullshit.
A show on Megalodon would have been awesome, because Megalodon was fucking awesome. It is offensive that without some sort of dire, human soap-opera drama involved, that Discovery Channel thinks we can’t be interested in such a fantastic animal. It doesn’t need to be alive and cruising the oceans right now for it to be an amazing creature, and extinct or not, this critter would make for a really interesting documentary.
I think this is programming down to the lowest common denominator. Discovery has decided that we’re all morons, with the attention span of a goldfish, and that they can’t make money off of Shark Week anymore without giving us big, shiny lies to hold our attention (until the final 5 seconds when they flash a disclaimer insanely fast across the screen telling us that it was all fake). Would an actual documentary on an extinct superpredator have done as well as the crock of shit that they presented? I’d like to think it would have. Discovery, on the other hand, seems relatively convinced that they need to lie to us, feed us crap about government conspiracies and giant sharks still being alive, and then spill the beans about their lies in the most un-noticeable way possible. Shark week is awesome, and I tune in every year, despite the fact that a lot of it is getting pretty old and recycled at this point (I’m glad they did away with the “Air Jaws” series, by the way. Not that it wasn’t cool, but it was being presented as a shiny, attention-getting penny instead of being actually content driven).
The show was deceptive, poorly acted and was transparently fake to me, but was it to everyone that watched? I hate to speak for others, but I can imagine that many people were taken in by this, and possibly many more still believe it was actually real, since the disclaimer was flashed by so fast that no one could possibly have ever read it. I consider myself pretty cynical, and I look at everything that I’m told with a pretty jaundiced eye – I’ve been caught believing people who are totally wrong far too many times, and I’ve been lied to just as many. So as I watched this thing, and my first questions were:
1. While his boat is sinking in a dark ocean, after being attacked by some massive superpredator big enough to bite holes in it, why would the camera man have the presence of mind to hold his subjects in center frame?
2. How the hell did film footage survive sinking in saltwater?
3. Why is this marine biologist so photogenic, and why is he so uncomfortable in front of the camera that it looks like he’s acting instead of presenting?
4. As with all of these ground-breaking “discoveries” you see in these found footage documentaries that are spun as being real, why wouldn’t this have made the news? And I’m talking every news channel, every station, every hour of every day for quite some time. Remember the news coverage of “the summer of the shark” where there was a rash of shark attacks along the eastern seaboard in 2005? Remember how that is all you heard about? Remember how that was literally only two shark attacks and we heard about it for months and months? How ape-shit do you think the news media would be going if a 70 foot supershark were found to be still alive and had eaten an entire goddamned boat full of people?
There was also the incredulity that I had surrounding the whole idea of Megalodon still being around. Even if the documentary was real, and these really were marine biologists looking for Megalodon, I’d have been smirking my way through the entire show, for the following reasons:
1. Megalodon fed mainly on whales, which are air-breathing mammals that must come to the surface to breathe. They are also are the centerpiece of a very popular human activity called “whale watching” in which hundreds of thousands of people get on boats every year, chasing pods of whales to, well, watch them. You’d think that even if whales are very infrequently preyed upon nowadays by extremely rare Megalodons, that we’d have at least a report or two of whales getting bitten in half by a 70 foot long fucking shark, considering that we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of whale watchers every year.
2. We find fossilized whale bones with megalodon teeth marks in them all the time. What we don’t find are any fresh whale remains with the same, and we find whale remains all the time.
3. We find sharks teeth all the time, including great white sharks. The most recent megalodon tooth ever found was 10,000 years old, and many folks contest that the carbon dating on that tooth was in error, and that the tooth is, in fact, much older than that.
Megalodon is extinct. The idea that it may still be around without us knowing about it is ludicrous on its face. The fact that Discovery tried to foist on us this lie isn’t ludicrous, its just kind of sad. I’m very disappointed in you right now, Discovery Channel.