How do we know it is summer?

Is it the putting away of the duvet or is it the first chirps and chatters of the cicadas?

Oh no, it is time to do what Steven Spielberg did so brilliantly back in the summer of '75 and that is give everyone a good reason to wonder just what lurks there beneath the waves ... even if the waters they roll across are only a touch over a metre deep.

It is the season of the shark, and while Jaws has been repeated about 10,000 times since it first terrified cinema-bathers and we all know what happens in the end, there are still plenty of circling fins to herald the arrival of this summer.


Put it this way ... there are shark shows, dozens of them, playing from Sunday on Discovery Channel and some of the titles are as imaginative as they are curious.

Shows like Bride of Jaws, Jaws of the Deep, Isle of Jaws, Spawn of Jaws, Sharks of Cuba and Island of the Mega Shark ... to name but a few.

That's a lot of shark, and as collective Shark Week host Andrew Ettingshausen will explain there is a lot of shark out there these days.

At one stage the impressive but rather threatening great whites were listed as endangered and so conservation measures were put together and the creatures spared from ... well, spears I suppose as culling campaigns were halted.

So they began to breed and the numbers began to grow, to the point where the Aussie coastline in places is like Great White City.

Not a place to anchor 150m offshore and dive for shellfish or whatever else down there that could grace the dinner table that night.

It's the other way round now.

The sharks are seeking something for the dinner table, and on that note I have no hatred of them, even when I hear about someone being mauled by one.

Because it is their home, these great seas.

Not ours.

We are entitled to visit it but we do not live in there ... they do, and like we do in our homes they (the occupants) make the rules and that is that.

Until Jaws swam into my life I had never really been affected by a feature film, although seeing Easy Rider did push me in the direction of listening more to a band called The Byrds ... their Wasn't Born to Follow was superb, certainly in the case of Dennis Hopper.

But seeing Jaws did rattle me the first time I went into the sea afterwards.

It was senseless and silly because there wasn't likely to be a great white within about 3000km, and the makos were way out and the tigers were easily spotted if they did choose to venture in.

But I felt uneasy ... to the point where stepping on what I suspect was a flounder (because it darted away) led me to seek the nearby firm and dry sands very quickly.

There were reports overseas of people simply not going to the beaches, and resulting reports of beachfront businesses criticising Spielberg for unsettling their busy season.


Hey, it was only a film.

But the main character had a venom and fearsomeness no two-legged villain could ever hope to emulate.

And he never said a word.

However, in the non-fictional sense there is a lot more to the shark than what a movie director can deliver.

They are quite complex creatures and there are many, many varieties, and in the case of the great whites, don't think they get things all their way in the oceans.

Oh no ... because apparently orcas will have a lash at them when it comes time to look for a snack.

And as for the orcas ... large squid are partial to them.

So it is time to hum that iconic theme tune to Jaws and accept that yes, summer is here, because it is time to put sharks back on the screen to frighten people out of the warming waters.

As the previous series have been, it will be an intriguing and entertaining view of a wild world below the water, although the only gripe I have is that like the other Sky pay channels the documentaries and various shows are often more susceptible to damned breaks than even the free-to-air channels.

Mauled by repetitive ads and relentless promo clips (the latter the worst of them all because they seem to be played every eight or nine minutes).

● Shark Week, Discovery from Sunday ... and from Monday and the weeknights that follow, it is ALL shark shows. Grab some fish and chips and overdose on the great white fritters.


Fantastic Beasts and JK Rowling's Wizardry World, TV1 at 6pm Saturday: It's probably fair to say that no one saw Harry Potter coming there for while except Joanne (JK) Rowling.

She pushed to get this kids' story (with a dark side at times) published and when it finally hit the shelves it broke all sorts of sales records.

And we figured nothing would ever get near the Lord of the Rings trilogy but Harry soared above it ... book after book and then film after film.

A genuine global phenomenon.

So here we have Warwick Davis taking a close inside look at just what sparked this whole remarkable and magical journey ... and hey, when the films come on it's hard to look away.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, TV2 at 7pm: And here's one of them.

Special effects are absolutely dynamic.

Terry Teo, TV2 at 7pm Sunday: A slightly out of left-field Kiwi drama, with touches of humour mixed through it.
Terry is a young guy who has turned his life around and rather than pursue crime decides to battle it, and teams up with a seasoned copper.

It has rough edges but works pretty well, and in this episode the shooting of a film star with what should have been a fake props gun gets young Terry investigating what really happened.