Summer is the right time to appreciate sharks. Pop culture has always intrinsically understood that, whether it was Steven Spielberg creating the summer blockbuster with Jaws in 1975 or Discovery Channel creating the couch potato with Shark Week in 1988.
The summer of 2020, however, stands to be the best time for these dead-eyed elasmobranch fish monsters in a long time. The coronavirus pandemic has beaches sparsely populated and sharks’ reign as king of the seas more unquestioned than ever. National Geographic is going to do its part to celebrate the summer of the shark with a five-week supersized SHARKFEST of shark-related programming.
Nat Geo’s SHARKFEST kicks off on Sunday, July 19 on National Geographic. Then National Geographic and its animal-imprint Nat Geo WILD will continue to air shark content from the networks’ existing library along with new specials several nights a week until concluding on Sunday, August 9.
Last year’s SHARKFEST amounted to three weeks of programming. This time around National Geographic is adding two weeks to help fill up an increasingly barren summer TV schedule. Some originals of note include Most Wanted Sharks, Sharkcano, Sharks vs. Dolphins: Blood Battle, Shark vs. Surfer, and World’s Biggest Tiger Shark? That last offering will follow Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Andy Casagrande and marine biologist Kori Garza as they journey to a remote lagoon in French Polynesia to dive with the “tigers of Tahiti” in search of the world’s largest living tiger shark, Kamakai.
“I’ve seen a lot of big sharks in my lifetime & filming one of the world’s largest Tiger Sharks with marine biologist Kori Garza in French Polynesia was definitely one for the record books!” Casagrande said in a statement.
The full SHARKFEST schedule is as follows. National Geographic notes that some dates are subject to change.
World’s Biggest Tiger Shark?
National Geographic — Premieres Sunday, July 19, at 8/7c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Tuesday, August 11, at 9/8c
Marine biologist Kori Garza and Emmy Award-winning underwater cinematographer Andy Casagrande journey to French Polynesia to track Kamakai, one of the largest tiger sharks on record. Their search takes them to a remote lagoon where, instead of Kamakai, they find what appears to be a discovery for shark science. Capturing the behavior on film for the first time, Garza and Casagrande witness a population of juvenile tiger sharks exhibiting cooperative hunting tactics.
When Sharks Attack
National Geographic — Six-episode Season Premieres Monday, July 20, at 9/8c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore presentations throughout the five weeks
For families on beaches across the world, a split second is all it takes to turn a dream vacation into a nightmare. Sudden shark attacks frequently occur, and the motive behind the bite often puzzles locals and scientists alike. When Sharks Attack investigates these incidences to shed light on why and where shark encounters take place with the hope that if we understand the behavior, we might be able to limit the number of attacks.
Sharks vs. Dolphins: Blood Battle
National Geographic — Premieres Monday, July 20, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Sunday, August 9, at 7/6c
There’s a war being waged beneath the waves: sharks versus dolphins. These marine animals shared the ocean for millennia, but scientists have only just begun to understand the complex relationship between sharks and dolphins. Sharks vs. Dolphins: Blood Battle follows a team of experts as they travel to the epicenter of this savage struggle — Shark Bay, Australia — to unlock the secrets of shark and dolphin combat. New research allows for a fresh understanding of sharks, and cutting-edge technology provides a window into this seldom-seen conflict below the water’s surface.
National Geographic — Premieres Tuesday, July 21, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Wednesday, August 12, at 7/6c
World-renowned shark scientist Dr. Michael Heithaus is on a mission to reveal the mysterious connection between sharks and volcanoes. Throughout the world, sharks seem to be attracted to the hotspots, a puzzle that seems straight out of sci-fi and is baffling scientists. Dr. Heithaus crisscrosses the globe and risks life and limb to uncover the shocking, real-life link between two fearsome forces of nature.
Secrets of the Bull Shark
National Geographic — Premieres Wednesday, July 22, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Wednesday, August 12, at 9/8c
Many experts consider bull sharks to be the most dangerous species of shark, yet we actually know very little about these top predators. Secrets of the Bull Shark unravels the mystery of these giants: how they migrate and how they hunt. Marine biologist Dr. Ryan Daly and a team of scientists utilize cutting-edge technology to reveal the movements and behavior of the bull sharks with the hope of better understanding why they venture farther into our backyards. With unprecedented detail, the scientists track their development from tiny hunters into intelligent, ferocious predators.
Most Wanted Sharks
National Geographic — Premieres Thursday, July 23, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Tuesday, August 11, at 7/6c
Of the millions of sharks in our oceans, a select few are so fascinating, they’ve become worldwide celebrities with legions of fans and followers. In Most Wanted Sharks, marine biologist and shark-suit inventor Jeremiah Sullivan dives into the stories of the most sensational shark stars of all time. Come face-to-face with a shark so large, it’s been known to eat fellow great whites for dinner. And get up close to one that can jump 100 feet out of the water.
50 Shades of Sharks
National Geographic — Premieres Friday, July 24, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Sunday, August 9, at 10/9c
Sharks have long been considered calculating and vicious apex predators of the ocean, but new research allows for a glimpse of some of their most intimate and seldom-seen behaviors. 50 Shades of Sharks reveals facets of sharks that are rarely chronicled; they’re fragile, delicate, ingenious, collaborative and even clumsy. This full immersion into their private lives shows them hunting, resting, cleaning and reproducing; these revelations might forever change the way we look at sharks.
Raging Bull Shark
National Geographic — Premieres Sunday, July 26, at 8/7c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Thursday, August 13, at 7/6c
Bull sharks are entering the ring and going head to head with the more fearsome, storied great white and tiger sharks to prove they’re the new champion of the chomp. As climates warm the world’s waters, the notoriously aggressive bull shark’s territory is spreading, leading to an uptick in attacks. Following a team of experts, Raging Bull Shark chronicles why the deceptively unremarkable species just might become the world’s most dangerous shark.
Sharks of the Bermuda Triangle
National Geographic — Premieres Monday, July 27, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Thursday, August 13, at 6/5c
The Bermuda Triangle has more than 500,000 square miles of rumored mysteries, including missing airplanes, sunken ships, malfunctioning compasses and even legends of Atlantis. In reality, its greatest wonder may be something far more incredible: sharks. For years, marine biologist Dr. Austin Gallagher has been investigating sharks in the area; he’s been on a mission to find the holy grail of shark research: the secret breeding grounds of tiger sharks. Tracking an elusive tiger shark named Mabel, he attempts to uncover Mother Nature’s most mysterious hotspot.
Shark vs. Whale
National Geographic — Premieres Tuesday, July 28, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Tuesday, August 18, at 9/8c
A routine drone survey turns deadly when Ryan Johnson, a marine biologist based in South Africa, films a humpback whale being attacked and strategically drowned by a great white shark. The never-before-seen behavior causes a complete perspective shift on a creature Johnson has spent his life studying. To make sense of the event, he follows humpback whales on their migration, mapping places that may make them vulnerable, and takes a new look at great white sharks to discover how and why they become whale killers.
What the Shark?
National Geographic — Premieres Wednesday, July 29, at 10/9c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Thursday, August 20, at 8/9
Exploring the shallow waters of sandy beaches and venturing into 8,000-foot abysses, What the Shark? takes a look at a side of sharks rarely seen and dives deep into the environments where extreme adaptation is critical to survival. In this dark void, where inky darkness could hinder a predator from finding its prey and pressure levels might blow flesh to pieces, the atmosphere is a threat to a shark’s survival. To endure these hostile waters, this ghostly cast of living monsters must have its act together to defy the convention of life below the surface.
Shark vs. Surfer
National Geographic — Premieres Sunday, August 2, at 8/7c
Nat Geo WILD — Encore Presentation Thursday, August 13, at 9/8c
As the number of shark attacks worldwide rises, surfers are taking the brunt of the bite. Shark vs. Surfer visits shark-infested surf spots around the world to relive some of the most harrowing shark and surfer stories through unbelievable, caught-on-camera encounters and interviews with the victims. With insight from marine biologists Ryan Johnson and Dr. Steven Kajuira, the special aims to answer once and for all: Are we really in danger?