'Submarine': Is Discovery's Legendary Shark Getting 'Megalodon' Treatment?

Discovery's annual Shark Week is back, and it kicks off this Sunday with a look at what it claims is the most legendary shark that has ever existed: Submarine, a massive great white that terrorized the residents of False Bay, South Africa. The network's website, however, raises questions about whether Submarine may be getting the same docudrama treatment that the megalodon shark did last year.

Reportedly sighted between the 1970s and 1990s, Submarine was said to be from 22 to 30 feet in length, far larger than an average great white shark. As The Inquisitr previously noted, the largest great whites reliably measured have been no more than 20 feet in length. As part of this year's Shark Week, Discovery will examine the existence of Submarine in Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine:

"This 30-foot shark is said to be the largest great white shark of all time. Locals believe that this shark is responsible for countless fatal attacks, but its existence has never been proven. This documentary explores the evidence and asks the question: can Submarine exist?"

Named to the number one spot in Discovery's countdown of their top five legendary sharks, reports of Submarine are highly controversial. Despite widespread criticism of the network for a fictional documentary that claimed to examine the survival of the megalodon shark, a sequel to which is airing this year, Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine may be similar to the megalodon docudrama in at least one respect.

As part of Discovery's lead up to Shark Week, it has hosted a blog, Submarine Sightings, from Mel Thurmond, purported to be a "Senior Fellow at the South African Institute for Marine Research." A search of the internet, however, turns up no other mention of Thurmond or the institute. Thurmond's YouTube channel has four videos, while Submarine Sightings has only been published since January 2014. A Twitter account set up under Mel Thurmond's name, @Submarine_Shark, is protected, and tweets are only visible to confirmed followers.

Thurmond's account is protected, and contains only 4 tweets
Thurmond's Twitter account is protected, and viewable only by confirmed followers.

While Dr. Thurmond is at the least elusive on social media, one other thing should be noted: "The Great White Way," which appears on his Twitter page, is the nickname for a section of New York's Broadway, specifically the portion that encompasses the theater district, as Great White Way states.

Discovery garnered much criticism following 2013's Shark Week for Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, a mockumentary that relied on paid actors to portray scientists. More recently, the network was forced to admit that footage revealing the presence of a shark in Lake Ontario was actually a faked Shark Week promo.

Even if Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine isn't a docudrama like Megalodon: The New Evidence, the real tragedy may well be that Discovery's Shark Week ratings quest raises the question at all.

[Image via New York Post]