Friday, August 07, 2009

Discovery Channel's Shark Week Shark After Dark

How can one describe them other than 'majestic'?
Caribbean Reef Shark (Bahamas)

Photo: Wolfgang Leander
Click on image to enlarge

The last episode of Discovery Channel's Shark Week - finally - it has been grueling and boring, but we have finally come to an end - no more blood, no more attacks, no more wounds, no more hosts that are scared of sharks, no more Shark Porn.

My thoughts on Sharks After Dark:

  • Mark Rackley got old - remember him when he did some amazing stuff with Manny Puig - at least I thought it was amazing back then
  • Cat Gennaro - she is not a shark person - she is scared of them. I remember two separate incidents where sharks singled her out - a white and a mako...she must give off a bad vibe. And lines like: "I did not know if they would tear me apart" (by lemon) sharks does not help.
  • I am still amazed at white sharks breaching - what an incredible sight
  • I have free-dived with Tigers and Lemons at night and found them to be calmer than at day time.
  • Credits thanked Eli Martinez - no comment - I still wonder why he de-friended me on Facebook - I think he also de-friended my dad (that I can understand).
I am happy Shark Week is over...while their ratings have been high, it seems like the media has also been criticizing the network for the production of this year's PORN.

"Killing Machines?" - They are the guardians of our Oceans
Caribbean Reef Shark (Bahamas)

Photo: Wolfgang Leander
Click on image to enlarge


Cindy said...

It amazes me to see such an ignorant remark stated about “Shark after dark”. I enjoyed the show immensely, both times that I watched it! I was glad to see a shark show that didn’t actually depict the sharks as mindless man eaters. “Shark after dark” was incredibly unique to the Shark Week lineup and interesting enough that I chose to view it twice! Your blog almost seemed like a personal vendetta instead of a personal review. Whoever you are~ you are obviously looking for negative attention so here goes. The footage I saw was beautiful and amazing and Mark Rackley should be commended for a job well done not insulted (BTW-I just pulled up your picture… about OLD as the hills!) You had nothing to say about how well Andy Dehart & Jeff Kurr did with the scientific and knowledgeable input that they had. I wasn’t too impressed with Cat Gennaro but I don’t think she is scared of Sharks since she was in the water with them. I feel as though your remarks show you are feeling under rated and your feelings have been hurt by your FaceBook de-friending which you have decided to take out on this crew/show. My view is: AWESOME SHOW “SHARK AFTER DARK” !!!!! It was one of my favorites in the line-up AND THE RATINGS AGREE WITH ME!!!

Felix Leander said...

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for you comments...some answers to your remarks:

- Never said anything negative or insulted Mark, I had not seen him since the late 1990s and simply made a remark that he looked a lot older.

- I am 32, not sure that classifies me as OLD as hills - if you are referring to my father, he is old as the hills - 68 (hope he does not read this)

- I have no personal vendetta - I guess you just do not know the inside story of the shark industry and how the quality of Shark Week has deteriorated year after year.

- I am VERY VERY hurt by the unfriending that happen on Facebook - but it has nothing to do with the crew / show

- I guess we agree on Gennaro

- Of this year's shows, it was the better of the bunch - don't know about awesome...

- Would love to get your view on the other shows...

Wolfgang Leander said...

Hi Cindy:

Thank you for your comments - Felix, the author of this blog will answer you.

If you refer to me (Wolfgang, Felix's dad) as "OLD as the hills" you are quite right. I am close to 70, 68, to be precise. You say: "Whoever you are" - we don't hide but we don't know who you are. So, Cindy: Who are you?

Best wishes,


Cindy said...

First let me apologize for insulting you and your dad about your ages. That was uncalled for as were some of your personal remarks.
I am an avid scuba diver and freediver. I also love spearfishing. I have lived most of my life in Florida and love to be either in or on the water. I have come to enjoy the sites of many sharks and have learned to respect and read them in their natural environment. They are such beautiful, majestic creatures and I look forward to seeing them either in the water or on film. What I do not look forward to is the ridiculous way that they are perceived on some of these shark week shows. I had tried to tune in to Shark Week to get a glimpse of their beauty but it seems that most of the shows are all about them being nothing more than man eaters. Most of the shows were either showing them as being these vicious predators or showing them being provoked to bite something or another. My interest is in seeing them in their natural environment and all their beauty, not fearing them or fearing the water! I am so sick of seeing them portrayed as nothing more than killing machines. It is because of this that we see so many idiots just killing them for sport; such is the disgusting case of the Tiger Shark killed a few months back. What a beautiful creature that was and it makes me sick!!!
“Shark after dark” was one of the only shows I felt showed them for the impressive creatures that they are. The film had beautiful footage; I especially enjoyed Seal Island and was impressed that these cameramen would actually get in the water with these seals! The six gills were pretty amazing too, loved the small one going through the cage. Lastly the White coming out of the water at night…awesome (YES>>AWESOME)!!! The show also seemed to take a scientific approach towards them which was such a breath of fresh air! And when I say scientific, I do not mean “let’s see if we can provoke this shark to bite this boat or that fake seal”. When I saw your blog I felt as though nothing was said about the shows beautiful, picturesque photography and insight on behavior at night but instead was only pertaining to the person or persons working on it. To me, that was not a review on the show but a personal review on the people making the show which I feel did a great job. Your personal feelings about your de-friending on FB have nothing to do about your thoughts on the show.
Let me finish by saying, I have given my opinion and have nothing more to say but I do have one question: What is Shark Porn??

Felix Leander said...

Hi Cindy - I think we can be friends and even dive together :) - we seem to share a lot and have the same attitude towards sharks.

I also live in FL (Miami) - was born in the Bahamas and spent all my life diving (mostly free). My old man has been diving since he is 15 - used to be an avid spearo and has now replaced his spear for a camera and focuses mostly on sharks.

As you mentioned - Shark Week and Discovery Channel portray sharks in a negative manner and my rant is about the network - and the production companies that take part of it. I did not want to really focus on any of the positives during that week - there were little anyway...

Having said that - the Shark After Dark crew seemed to be the only responsible one and as you mentioned provided the viewers with great cinematography while focusing on behavior instead of attacks.

Facebook is really a joke - more for some insiders, it is not an issue at all.

I very much appreciate you giving you opinion - fair an balanced.

As for the Shark Porn term - you will never guess where it comes from...the executives of Discovery Channel themselves.

One year ago, we had a team talking to the network about changing their programming - focus less on attacks and blood and more on beauty and research...they seem to love their Shark Porn - that is when the team first heard the term.

Last thought - do you ever dive in Miami area or Keys? Here is my email:, would love to catch-up offline.

Cindy said...

Dear Felix,
After all that and it turns out we have the same opinion. Thank you for clearing up the “Shark Porn” statement……to think I thought it pertained to Cat G’s outfits!! I sure hope that Discovery attempts to change some of their programming next year. Again my apologies to your Dad and the age comment, he looks great for almost 70! As for diving, I love the Keys, who wouldn’t-talk about picturesque and beautiful water! If I get a chance to go again soon I may take you up on the offer. Here’s to hoping for better, more informative programs for “Shark Week 2010”!

Wolfgang Leander said...

Hello Cindy:

I was not at all hurt by the age comment - so, don't worry.

You and Felix should go freediving - I believe you will get along very well.

BTW: Felix will be giving a talk about freediving and spearfishing this coming Thursday. Not sure where, probably in Miami. Perhaps you could assist.


the old Wolf :-)

Felipe C said...

A talk about Freediving???? where????