It’s a fine line. Or something like that.

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This article was published 21/7/2015 (2541 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.


It’s a fine line. Or something like that.

Apparently, in the realm of campy TV programming, there’s a subtle difference between "so bad it’s actually sort of good" and "so bad that it’s just really bad."

And wherever that line is, the Sharknado franchise seems to have crossed over it on the way from last summer’s Sharknado 2: The Second One and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, which gnashes its way into prime time Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Space.

Where the first two instalments in this ultra-low-budget, intentionally over-the-top series generated cheeky giggles and not-quite-amazed gasps with their cartoonish gore, nonsensical storylines and B-list celebrity cameos, Sharknado 3 merely creates tedium as it repeats the same gags within a framework that somehow manages to make — yes, it is possible — even less sense than its amusingly mindless predecessors.

Where the original Sharknado took place in Los Angeles and the sequel moved the sharks-from-the-sky meteorological mayhem to New York, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! begins its assault in Washington, D.C. and then spreads the fin-flashing fury across the entire U.S. eastern seaboard of the United States.

As the story begins, chainsaw-happy hero Finley (Fin) Shepard (Ian Ziering) is in Washington to accept a heroism award from the president (played with surprising flair by Mark Cuban), while pregnant wife April Wexler (Tara Reid) is with her mom (Bo Derek) at an amusement park in Florida.

Just as the formalities are ending in D.C., Fin looks outside and notices a cloud formation that makes him very uncomfortable.

"These sharks, they have a scent," he tells a perplexed POTUS. "And it’s not a pretty one."

Cassie Scerbo and Ian Ziering in a scene from Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!


Cassie Scerbo and Ian Ziering in a scene from Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

And before you can say, "Yes, this does smell a bit fishy," hammerheads and great whites are raining down from the sky, smashing into national monuments and biting bunches of very important people (played by extremely unimportant pop-culture attention-seekers) not very neatly in half.

Fin does what he does best, which is blasting, bludgeoning, slicing and sawing the airborne aquatic killers as fast as they can fall. And when the finned flurry subsides, it becomes clear that Washington’s sharknado is merely a warning of a much larger storm that’s forming off the East Coast.

Fin begins a frantic effort to get to Florida to be with April and their unborn child; along the way, he enlists the aid of old shark-battling pal Nova Clarke (Cassie Scerbo), who has, since the original Sharknado, become something of a warrior princess bent on killing every shark she can find.

What happens next, in narrative terms, couldn’t possibly matter less; shark attacks continue to occur with a frequency and ferocity matched only by the rapid-fire barrage of minor celebrity drop-ins and NBC Universal-related product placements.

The ending, of course, is triumphant and preposterous.

The lingering feeling, for those who manage to stick with Sharknado 3 until the bitter and ever-so-bloody end, will likely be that the franchise has finally played itself out.

But before you get yourself to thinking that Sharknado has jumped the... well, you know, keep this in mind: Sharknado 4 is already in the works. And that means that this time next summer, TV viewers will get a chance to find out if there’s an even-more-ridiculous category that lies on the other side of "so bad that it’s just really bad."

Twitter: @BradOswald

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Brad Oswald

Brad Oswald
Perspectives editor

After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.