Shark Week, Sharkfest, 'Sharknado': TV has bite

A great white shark, near Guadalupe Island off A great white shark, near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico, is just one of the many kinds you'll see on Discovery's 26th annual Shark Week. Photo Credit: AP

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Shark wars!

Discovery's much-awaited Shark Week -- its 26th annual showcase starts Sunday -- isn't the only fish in TV's cable waters anymore. NatGeo Wild has surfaced with its own competing week, Sharkfest, which also starts Sunday.

But if you just can't wait till then? Friday night's your chance to see Syfy's recent cheeseflick sensation "Sharknado" on the big screen. Theaters in Westbury, Farmingdale, Holtsville and Hampton Bays (see fathomevents.com) are among those hosting 12:05 a.m. screenings of the Ian Ziering-Tara Reid "classic," featuring sharks flying through the air with the greatest of ease thanks to a whale of a tornado. The TV movie will have its final airing of summer on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m., leading into the premiere of the original movie "Ghost Shark" at 9 p.m.

Still not enough bite? Grab a copy of Discovery's new large-format book "Sharkopedia: The Complete Guide to Everything Shark," crammed with more color-splashed photos of teeth, fins and feeding frenzies than you ever thought 192 pages could hold.

NBC Sports has plunged in, too -- and this cabler boasts a local angle. The new series "Shark Hunters" just debuted Wednesday, with a chronicle of Montauk's annual Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament. (Catch encores on NBCSN 7-9 a.m. Friday, 12:30-2:30 a.m. Saturday or Sunday 11 p.m.-1 a.m.) This coming Wednesday's 8-10 p.m. "Shark Hunters" premiere covers this year's Montauk Marine Basin Shark Tournament.

Didn't they used to call these weeks the dog days of summer? More like shark days now.

Putting more teeth in this year's feast is Discovery's tongue-in-cheek 2013 promo campaign: Poor injured Snuffy the Seal is triumphantly returned to the sea, only to become an instant snack for a hard-charging shark. Tag line? "It's a tough week to be a seal." (Also a tough week for sensitive child viewers. Parents, beware.)

But it's a great week for sharkophiles. Discovery offers its first-ever "aftershow," with comic Josh Wolf ("Chelsea Lately") hosting 11 p.m.'s live nightly talkfest "Shark After Dark." Guests include celebs and shark-attack survivors. Also sprinkled in: highlights of previous years' Shark Week faves, tweets and other social-media thrills.

Cable's shark smackdown starts stalking viewers early Sunday. Discovery kicks off Shark Week at 9 a.m. with a full day of encores, including "Shark Week's 25 Best Bites" (1 p.m.) and "How 'Jaws' Changed the World" (4 p.m.). That leads into 8 p.m.'s official launch -- "Air Jaws: Countdown to Shark Week 2013," celebrating teeth-baring leaps by great white sharks.

NatGeo Wild counters with seven hours of "Shark Men" (noon-7 p.m.). Then comes Sharkfest's prime-time kickoff -- "Ragged Tooth Sharks" (8 p.m.), tracking one released into the wild to mate after 20 years in captivity.

Which will you watch? Oh, c'mon, why pick just one? That's what cable encores are for.

HIGHLIGHTS

Discovery's Shark Week (discovery.com/sharkweek)

Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives (Sunday, 9 p.m.) -- Search for Great white killer shark off South Africa.

Voodoo Sharks (Monday, 10 p.m.) -- Bull sharks off Louisiana.

I Escaped Jaws (Tuesday, 9 p.m.) -- Eyewitness footage.

Top 10 Sharkdown (Aug. 7, 9 p.m.) -- Shark attacks.

Sharkpocalypse (Aug. 8, 9 p.m.) -- Sharks closer to shore.

NatGeo Wild's Sharkfest (natgeowild.com/sharkfest)

Ragged Tooth Shark (Sunday, 8 p.m.) -- Studying fearsome-looking species.

Shark Attack Experiment (Monday, 9 p.m.) -- Are sharks really man-eaters?

Shocking Sharks (Tuesday, 8 p.m.) -- Strange-shaped, oddly behaved examples.

Australia's Deadliest Shark (Aug. 9, 9 p.m.) -- Great whites kill humans.

Monster Fish: River Sharks (Aug. 9, 10 p.m.) -- Freshwater attacks.

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