"Sharknado": Back for a Second Bite

In a cinematic summer of apes and purgers, Syfy's sequel to last year's surprise comic cult favorite offers a welcome opportunity to laugh at the apocalypse.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The cheekily named "Sharknado 2: The Second One" flies onto televisions Wednesday before landing in theaters for one night only Aug. 21, which provides plenty of time to mine Twitter for one-liners to hurl at the big screen.

    The followup to last year's surprise comic cult TV movie hit with the says-it-all-title (sharks + tornadoes = campy fun) offers the prospect for more "Rocky Horror Picture Show"-like audience participation, with wisecracks bouncing from living room couches to the Web to theaters.

    But "Sharknado 2" arrives bearing another gift on its pointy teeth: In a cinematic summer of rising apes and lowdown purgers, Syfy's sequel to silliness marks a welcome opportunity to laugh at the apocalypse.

    Like its titular stars, the original "Sharknado" came out of nowhere last July, mixing over-the-top carnage with an underlying sense of the absurd. The ratings grew with each of the first three showings, buoyed by Twitter, which reported the movie’s debut last July 11 and generated up to 5,000 tweets a minute.

    Who couldn’t help but react to this California-set, airborne circus, which featured hurtling fish, a memorable chain saw-propelled climax and Tara Reid’s comeback. Mashable compiled some of the funniest tweets, including this gem from former “Office” star B.J. Novak: “I'm afraid that now when we have a real sharknado everyone's going to treat it like a joke.”

    Some 36 years after "Jaws 2" suggested it wasn’t safe to go back into the water, it’s not all that welcoming in theaters this summer for those looking for a good joke. “22 Jump Street” proved a popular hoot, and the sci-fi adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy,” due out Friday, is massing favorable buzz, thanks, in large part, to its humor-filled trailer. But the likes of “Godzilla,” “The Purge: Anarchy" and the brilliant “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” aren’t exactly laugh riots.

    “Sharnado 2” offers the hope of comic relief as the action moves to New York, the site of more than its share of Hollywood-wrought destruction, from “King Kong” to the original “Planet of the Apes.” Recent years haven’t been kind to the city, either, as evidenced by “The Day After Tomorrow and “I Am Legend,” among other films.

    It’s a good bet, though, that in “Sharknado 2” New York will live up to its reputation as a metropolis where the people bite back. Check out a preview, in which we learn that even flying sharks ride the subway:

     

    Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.