Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Boring Documentaries For the Win!

I'm a total geek.  I love Harry Potter, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica (old and new), Lord of the Rings, and pretty much anything sci-fi or fantasy.  I go to steampunk conventions, and I love strategy board games like Settlers of Catan.  But I am not just a geek; I am also a nerd.  The kind of nerd that didn't have to study and still made straight A's.  When I wasn't in school, I was playing school.  I love learning.  I also love documentaries, especially nature films.  For example, this Christmas, my sister got me the DVD boxed set of Really Wild Animals.  I had one of the tapes when I was little and watched it over and over again, until my sister was sick of it and I can't wait to watch it over and over again with my daughter. 

One of my favorite times of year is Shark Week.  Or it was, until the infamous release of Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives.  This fake documentary was the premier attraction for Shark Week 2013.  Social media blew up about it, and not in a good way.  For more than 20 years, Discovery has been airing nature documentaries to teach us about sharks.  But Megalodon used a fabricated news story, and the Discovery name, to broadcast a fantastical story that a megalodon shark was still living today.  Animal Planet (also under the Discovery name) has aired Mermaids: The Body Found and the sequel Mermaids: The New Evidence as fake documentaries.  The worst part of these films, is that they are being broadcast as if they were real scientific documentaries.  There is no disclaimer at the beginning saying that this is fiction.  The scientists are all actors, which you can see in the credits.  Now I may be in the minority here, but I miss the real science!

When BBC put out Planet Earth, I got chills.  The cinematography was superb.  The only thing on my Christmas list that year was the DVD box set of Blue Planet and Planet Earth.  A network that has built itself on the premise of science, should stick with science.  I'm not saying there isn't a place for shows like Megalodon and Mermaids, because there is.  It's the SyFy channel.  I think if they had been marketed as a What if? documentary, I would have been interested.  The moral of the story is:  Bring back ACTUAL documentaries!  And they are.  The new president of Discovery, Rich Ross, says that the era of Megalodon is over (pun intended).  Some shows that were already in the works may still air, but going forward the network is going back to the basics.  I have hope in a future filled with nerdy nature documentaries about little known species.  Here's a picture of my sister and me dressed up for Shark Week 2011.

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