Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Shark Trek

Shark Trek

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: All Ages
Rating: TV G

With chilling underwater footage and captivating subject matter, The Discovery Channel's Shark Week debuted in 1988 and has since emerged as an eagerly anticipated annual television event. Shark Trek is an hour-long documentary-style program highlighted in the Shark Week programming line-up in the summer of 2015.

This program opens with a marine biologist's use of a robotic submarine to track Great Whites off the shores of Cape Cod. The story proceeds to follow Dr. Greg Skomal as he and his team attempt to tag the sharks and determine their swim patterns and habits once they leave the Massachusetts coast and swim south.

While program material says Shark Trek is appropriate for a general audience, do be aware that it's produced for maximum dramatic effect and Great White footage includes graphic shots of hunting and feeding. It also plays up the increase of shark sightings at popular beaches and increased threats to tourists. A tide-swell of criticism dampened Shark Week a few years back when critics claimed its over-the-top tone created undue fear and phobias of sharks and intimated a much higher likelihood of shark attacks than actual statistics suggest. The Discovery Channel promised to temper its treatment but Shark Trek definitely does still take a thrills-and-chills approach to the topic. The narration is performed in a deep and dramatic male voice filled with tense pauses and theatrical inflection, and music and editing further deepen the show's intense tone. To the show's credit, it is an interesting documentation of Dr. Skomal's scientific expedition, lending more to the storyline than simply sensationalized statistics and shocking shark attack footage.

In addition to action-packed footage of the tag-and-track trek, expect breathless tales of close encounters and squeals of shock from tourists who caught glimpses of fins breaking the surface of the water. None of this is bad, in fact, it's exactly what lovers of Shark Week programming have come to expect.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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