Each summer, Discovery Channel rolls out Shark Week, its famously fin-tastic block of programming dedicated to one of the deep sea's most fearsome predators. Come July 23, it will dive back in for its 29th edition with a week-long marathon of shark-driven shows, and this time around, the Shark Week 2017 full schedule is stacked with 18 Jaws-worthy specials.
Among its biggest highlights are a head-to-head face-off between a great white and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, a showdown between sharks and crocodiles, and a spate of eye-opening studies investigating things like travel patterns and inner-species hierarchies. Eli Roth will also return to host five installments of the Shark Week after show Shark After Dark. Plus, Sex and the City star Chris Noth — aka the "Mr. Big" to Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie — will narrate Sharks and the City: New York, the East Coast version of the the lineup's two SATC-inspired entries.
There's an oceanic swell of other shows to fish through, so as you count down the days to Shark Week's kickoff, sink your teeth into the complete list of programming below. But navigate the waters carefully; Shark week only comes once a year, so you'll want to savor it.
*Note all times are in ET.
'Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives' — Sunday, July 23 at 7 p.m.
Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives examines a string of great white shark attacks on a secluded California beach, where tragedy strikes every two years in October. Is it coincidence or killer instinct? Dr. Michael Domeier investigates with help from shark experts Ralph Collier and Cal Lutheran, satellite tags, and DNA technology.
'Phelps Vs Shark: Great Gold Vs Great White' — Sunday, July 23 at 8 p.m.
In one of the most hotly anticipated specials, Michael Phelps will take on a great white to see which can swim faster: Olympic gold medalist or ocean predator?
'Shark-Croc Showdown' — Sunday, July 23 at 9:10 p.m.
What happens when 14-foot crocodiles invade shark infested waters? Dr. Mark Meekan and conservationist Paul de Gelder team up for an expedition to a remote wilderness called the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia. Meekan is there to count sharks and species as part of Vulcan’s Global FinPrint project; Gelder’s going because he heard it's where sharks and crocs can be found fighting over sea turtles.
'The Great Hammerhead Invasion' — Sunday, July 23 10:10 p.m.
Leading shark scientist Tristan Guttridge explores why giant hammerheads arrive near Bimini in the Bahamas every November. Guttridge believes the normally solitary animals travel there during pregnancy to feed their growing young, then move on to the Florida coast to prey on migrating blacktips.
'Shark After Dark' — Sunday, July 23; Monday, July 24; Tuesday, July 25; Wednesday, July 26 & Thursday, July 27 at 11 p.m.
This nightly event looks back at some of the highlights from Shark Week and teases what's to come. Eli Roth returns as host for the third year in a row.
'Shark Vortex' — Monday, July 24 at 8 p.m.
According to the official description, “Each summer the Gulf Stream pushes north into the waters of southern New England, bringing with it 30 species of shark. Greg Skomal and Joe Romeiro study the annual spectacle, focusing on three sharks – makos, great whites, and porbeagles – that can out-swim, out-think, and out-compete all the others.”
'Return to the Isle of Jaws' — Monday, July 24 at 9 p.m.
When divers and scientists return to this great white hot spot in Western Australia, they make a startling discovery that causes them to re-think everything they knew about the species.
'Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins' — Monday, July 24 at 10 p.m.
Back to track down the strangest sharks of the sea, Dr. Craig O’Connell goes to the Bass Strait for sawsharks while Victoria Elena Vasquez and Dr. David Ebert visit Tokyo Bay for Goblin sharks. They find both, plus ghost sharks, frilled sharks, luminescent lantern sharks, and more.
'Sharks and the City: L.A.' — Tuesday, July 25 at 9 p.m.
Great white sharks have been frequenting the Los Angeles coastline, and Dr. Chris Lowe — Director of the CSULB Shark Lab — wants to know why. His investigation brings him to Guadalupe Island, off of Mexico, where he uncovers the answer.
'Sharks and the City: New York' — Tuesday, July 25 at 10 p.m.
On the opposite side of the country, marine biologist Craig O’Connell explores the future of great whites in New York. Their numbers have been on the decline in the area for decades, but now that seals are back in the harbor, are the great whites far behind? Chris “Mr. Big” Noth narrates this Sex and the City riff.
'The Lost Cage' — Wednesday, July 26 at 9 p.m.
Acting as human lures in the open ocean, a team of explorers float in a one-of-a-kind shark cage 500 miles off the Gulf of Mexico.
'Devil Sharks' — Wednesday, July 26 at 10 p.m.
Dr. Mike Heithaus dives several volcanoes to find out why they're such magnets for sharks.
'Shark Exile' — Thursday, July 27 at 9 p.m.
The official description for this special reads: “In Brazil, Dr. Hazin has successfully reduced the number of shark encounters by simply catching and moving sharks out to the open sea. What’s his secret? And can this solution work in Australia, where encounters are a problem?”
'Shark Storm' — Thursday, July 27 at 10 p.m.
No, it's not an IRL Sharknado. In Shark Storm, Dr. Tristan Guttridge studies what brings sharks together at various times of the year in different locations, and what goes on within their mini-societies.
'African Shark Safari' — Friday, July 28 at 9 p.m.
Great whites have long been thought to be extinct in Madagascan waters, so why did one swim 1500 miles up the African coast to get there? Craig O’Connell and his team make the journey to investigate.
'Lair of the Sawfish' — Friday, July 28 at 10 p.m.
Experts trace the history of the nearly extinct sawfish from its evolutionary links to sharks and rays to its key role in the marine ecosystem.
'Sharkmania' — Saturday, July 29 at 9 p.m.
A review of Shark Week 2017's greatest moments, featuring the "closest calls, biggest bites, greatest gadgets, and viewers’ top picks for the best of Shark Week history.”
'Shark School with Michael Phelps' — Sunday, July 30 at 8 p.m
Michael Phelps joins Bimini Shark Lab's Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge for a crash course on all things shark. They’ll dispel myths and common misconceptions, teach him how to safely dive with their sharp-toothed friends, and get him up close and personal with a great white.
And that caps off another summer of Shark Week, but luckily, it'll return to bite back into the ocean's mysteries next year.