If you watched any of the videos in this playlist or, better yet, have watched the full movies, you already know how amazingly bad the Sharknado franchise is at being good. Flying self-aware sharks, chainsaws hidden everywhere, more cameos than a VH1 “I Love the ‘90s” special,” and even more shark puns than you can fling a fin at.
So if it’s so bad, why is it so popular? Other than the above reasons, it’s popular because it doesn’t take itself seriously. Starting back in 2013, the first Sharknado premiered on Syfy, as Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and bartender Nova (Cassie Scerbo) fought through a tsunami in Los Angeles to save Shepard’s ex-wife April (Tara Reid) and daughter from an immense shark-filled tornado. In the end, after the destruction of Los Angeles and many people saved by the hand of Shepard, the only way to stop the tornado was by sending bombs into the center.
The original Sharknado premiered as just another Syfy channel made-for-TV B-monster movie in honor of Shark Week. There had been plenty of shark-related Syfy movies already, but this one seemed serious at first. It was almost like the channel anticipated this film to be a bit hit and put a lot of money into the production, special effects, and stars. The problem was, it is a movie about a tornado made of sharks! Instead of being a serious big hit, it was the laughing stock of twitter that very night. So what did Syfy do in response? The very next year for Shark Week it premiered Sharknado 2: the Second One.
Since the world laughed at the first movie, which was serious, the producers decided there was no reason to take the rest of this series seriously. Multiple celebrities stepped in for cameos with the hope of being eaten by a shark. This time, as the title says, there are two sharknados converging in New York, with special effects even worse than before. The film no longer could be considered a Syfy Saturday night monster movie. It was both much better and so much worse than those films, which didn’t continue to create sequels.
After many sequels, character deaths/rebirths, time jumps, and many newscaster deaths by shark, Syfy premiered Sharknado 5: Global Swarming this year. As the name suggests, this time the sharknado went global, sending Fin and his cyborg wife April around the world searching for their son who has been sucked up into the storm. From England to Australia, to Japan (featuring a Godzilla sharknado), and Bulgaria, the storm has become a transporter beam. Expenses were paid for this movie, but not for special effects, rather for the best pop culture and pun writers available. Shark additions were so bad this time around that actors were filmed with no expectation of attack footage, clearly dropping sharks in convenient locations where they miss characters.
Needless to say, there will most certainly be a sixth film next year, after this year’s cliffhanger ending reminiscent of Back to the Future. Despite the channel’s recent rebranding, there is no doubt that this once-a-year event brings in more viewers than most regular movie showings between live and on-demand numbers. The question, however, is that after surviving four sharknados, when will Al Roker meet his end?