How is ‘Sharknado’ still a thing?

Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard getting ready for a Sharknado. CREDIT: Justin Stephens, Syfy.

How is “Sharknado” still a thing?

The fourth (fourth!) movie in Syfy’s famously ridiculous franchise airs on Sunday night, and of course it’s called “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens.” After killer sharknadoes hit Los Angeles, New York and Washington in the first three movies, this one targets Las Vegas. The trailer calls it “the sequel to the sequel of the sequel to the greatest movie about sharks and tornadoes that’s ever existed.”

While that’s theoretically probably true, there’s no question that “Sharknado” stopped being funny a long time ago — maybe even after the first movie shocked everyone (including Syfy) when it went viral. Here’s a timeline of how exactly this franchise has progressed, continuing to give stars Tara Reid and Ian Ziering steady employment.

July 11, 2013: “Sharknado”

- FWBP Digital Partners -

When the first movie aired, critics didn’t take it too seriously since it was clearly trying to be ridiculous. After all, this is a movie that was created because the term “Sharknado” was used in another Syfy original film, and a network executive thought it was so hilarious that they should explore it further.

But instead of fading into the lame movie hall of fame, the Internet pounced, agreeing that “Sharknado” was “the best ‘worst’ movie ever made.” Twitter exploded during the premiere, and although only about 1.3 million people watched the initial airing, Syfy scheduled multiple repeats. Within two days, the network announced that it had greenlit a sequel, and tasked the internet to come up with a name.

July 30, 2014: “Sharknado: The Second One”

Given that the first movie was such a cult success, celebrities lined up to get the coveted cameo spots in the sequel. Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Perez Hilton, Kelly Osbourne and more all took turns to battle sharks, with varying results. More importantly for Syfy, nearly 4 million people watched, shattering records for the network and becoming its most-watched original film of all time. Months before it premiered, the network announced official plans for a third one.

- Advertisement -

July 22, 2015: “Sharknado: Oh Hell No!”

This one by far wins the prize for best title, and earned extra points for us by taking place in Washington. Packed with celebrity cameos yet again, D.C. viewers got to make fun of not only the movie’s nonexistent grasp on reality, but geography. (Apparently Ziering’s character gets from the Jefferson Memorial to the Capitol in record time.) However, it looked like people weren’t finding the premise quite so entertaining anymore: Approximately 2.8 million people watched the premiere, a definite drop from the previous year’s records numbers.

July 31, 2016: “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens”

As the third movie was premiering, Syfy confirmed again that the franchise would live to see another installment. Obviously, Gary Busey is in this one, playing Reid’s character’s father. The network also promises viewers can expect cameos from none other than Fox News commentator Stacey Dash as the mayor of Chicago; “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Duane Chapman as a chainsaw dealer; and Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts as the Shark World hotel manager. Now, the only question is if this joke, quickly getting tired, can live on for a fifth year.