Rundown: Top 5 (Fictional) Sharks

Shark Week is once again upon us.  As hard as it is to believe that Discovery can make an entire week out of footage of sharks jumping out of the water, the event has proven itself to be a ratings powerhouse for several years running.  Turns out people just can’t get enough sharks.  With that in mind, I’ve written up a list of some of the scariest, funniest, and toothiest sharks ever to grace the screen.  So without further ado, here’s the top five fictional sharks!!

5.  Jabberjaw

From: Jabberjaw

Ah, Jabberjaw.  Created as part during a past wave of shark-themed entertainment, he was the star of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series which was a surreal mashup of several other Hanna-Barbera series.  Jabberjaw is a talking shark who plays drums in a teenage band called the Neptunes who travel around solving mysteries and fighting crime in underwater cities in the year 2076.  Hey, write what you know, right?

The human sidekicks are basically a mix of Scooby-Doo and Josie and the Pussycats supporting characters, especially Clamhead, Jabberjaw’s best friend and a dead ringer for Shaggy.  Their adventures skewed more action than horror, but the core dynamics are pretty standard to just about anything Ruby-Spears was producing during their heyday.  Still, the premise was comparatively original, and Jabberjaw (presumably inadvertently) dealt with racial issues via the shark ejectors, robots who repeatedly kicked Jabberjaw out of “human-only” buildings and areas.  While his second-class citizen status was played for laughs, it’s still something to think about.

4. The Street Sharks collectively

From: Street Sharks, Dino Vengers featuring Street Sharks

Speaking of cashing in on things… Back in the 90s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were king.  The series, which was originally a parody of more gritty ninja fare, became an international sensation, and “humanoid animals fighting crime” became a standard formula.  One of the many imitators was the Street Sharks, a team of Teenage Mutant Ninja Extreme Sports Turtles Sharks.  The four Bolton boys were transformed into human-shark hybrids by the evil Dr. Paradigm, a university professor colleague of their father’s with aims for world domination (or something).  Like the Turtles, they lived in the sewers and fought the evil Seaviates despite being painted as monsters by the local media.  The show was extremely derivative and honestly not very good, but it did have its moments.  The over-the-top nature of some of the gags is hard to hate, with characters named Ripster and Big Slammu, and the brother’s method of travel (either individual extreme sports or by burrowing under streets, leaving their characteristic fins showing).  And who could forget their catchphrase, “Jawesome!”?

3. Mega Shark

From: The Asylum’s Mega Shark films

The Asylum‘s business model is an interesting one.  A studio dedicated to preserving the lost art of the “B movie,” their films are an even split between low-budget flicks with similar names to blockbusters and admittedly ridiculous creature features.  The star of two of them is the Mega Shark, an ancient Megalodon which has survived to the present and developed an appetite for oil tankers and fighter jets.  The films are campy and low-budget but undeniably fun to watch, kind of an American analogue to Kaiju movies from Toho and other companies.  If you’ve ever wanted to watch some poorly green-screened footage of a shark swallowing people, boats, and bridges, all while fighting other similarly oversized animals, these are the popcorn movies for you.

(Honorable mention goes to Sharktopus, another SyFy original about a creature which is half-shark, half-octopus, like the lovechild of the first Mega Shark film.)

2.  Bruce

From: Finding Nemo

Most of the sharks on this list are either kindly or killers.  Bruce is both.  A Great White, he’s the leader of a vegetarian shark support group which swears that “fish are friends, not food.”  Unfortunately, Bruce’s appetite and shark tendencies momentarily get the better of him, putting the main characters is a bit of danger.  Bruce is a pleasant chap, and it’s nice to see him and his kinsmen trying to rise above their base natures.  His toothy grin manages to be both frightening and reassuring, and hopefully he’ll have better luck in the future (perhaps 2076?).

1. The Shark

From: Jaws

Hail to the Chief!  The Shark from Jaws has to be the most influential shark of all time.  Without that film and the shark craze it set off, Shark Week probably wouldn’t be here today.  The film has made generations of viewers afraid to go in the water, and understandably so.  One of the best parts of the film is that The Shark doesn’t overstay its welcome.  For the first half of the film, it’s an unseen villain, building tension and anticipation until it finally appears.  Unlike the Mega Shark, its exploits, although extreme, are realistic, and the story is a believable horror/suspense tale.  From the ominous theme to the enormous prop sharks used in filming, a lot of effort went into creating the scariest shark of all time, and it totally paid off.

Any other sharks you guys like/hate/fear?  Let me know in the comments!!

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