In 2013, a B-movie franchise was born when Sharknado premiered on the SyFy channel. The Ian Ziering lead schlockfest spawned an astounding amount of sequels, each one bigger, bolder and more insane than the one before. By 2018, the surprising whirlwind of success ended with the release of the sixth film.
The SyFy channel plans to honor their franchise and slice through mundane boredom by giving audiences an entire day of the Shepard family chopping up sharks with a stupefying array of chainsaws. On Sunday, April 6th, starting at 8 A.M., the SyFy Channel will air all six Sharknado movies. To help prepare for the momentous event, here are all the films ranked from worst to best.
When a film series is doing it’s best to emulate and subvert bad movies of yesteryear, it can be difficult to decide which one is the worst. This third chapter in the Sharknado saga takes the bottom spot because it is too random even for this franchise.
Sharknado 3 is a transitional entry, and it follows the same structure of the first two movies, but it also leans into the absurdity of the premise. This means the majority of its humor doesn’t land and the action sequences are too bonkers to follow. Throw in a sudden revelation that the protagonist, Fin Shepard (Ziering) is great at everything because his dad (David Hasselhoff) is great at everything and a last-minute trip to space, and the movie is a jumbled mess that isn’t as zany as it aspires to be.
Sharknado 4 is the first entry that begins living up to the nonsense these movies are capable of. There’s an overzealous industrialist who thinks he can control the weather, a robot Tara Reid, a Firenado, an Oilnado, a Cownado, a Nuclearnado and Gary Busey.
It’s sloppy, reliant on old gags and believes references count as jokes, but everything is more cohesive than its predecessor. Instead of sudden revelations that have no roots in the story, The 4th Awakens manages to properly build to a climax that is outrageously bonkers but sticks the landing in a way that isn’t forced or desperate.
A Time Bandits, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure-esque romp through history, The Last Sharknado gives viewers dinosaurs, a hilarious Drag Queen Morgana le Fay, the revolutionary war, the old west, the ‘90s and the future. It even circles all the way back to where this hysteria began. There is no other way the series could have ended.
The filmmakers throw in every obvious reference, cliche and trope left in this genre with absolute abandon, and it mostly works. The only time it drags is when the story takes a detour into the history of Nova Clarke (Cassie Scerbo) and tries to pull at heartstrings. The filmmakers can’t be faulted for wanting to add a little depth, but it kills the fun for a moment. Luckily, the detour does set up the nightmarish future that awaits Fin.
This is where the series goes all in on the genre silliness, and it’s the better for it. Global Swarming destroys London, introduces a secret society of women Sharknado hunters, takes fans through the sky on a steampunk blimp, builds an Indiana Jones inspired mythology around the origin of the Sharknados and delivers the perfect mind boggling, ludicrous ending. It would have been nice to see the Tara Reid robot really go berserk with all her new abilities, but audiences can’t have everything, even in a Sharknado movie.
In comparison to the sequels, as is often the case with a long-running franchise, the original is almost quaint. No one goes to space. No robots. No weird celebrity cameos. Sharknado is a borderline earnest attempt at making a legitimate B-movie, an exploitation thrill ride with an off the wall premise.
The action really moves as Fin’s goal of saving his ex-wife, daughter and son is constantly met with surmounting opposition. The love triangle and family drama is just there for conflict and contributes almost nothing, but it gets points for trying. It isn’t nearly as funny or clever as it should be, but it is entertaining nonetheless.
Sharknado 2: The Second One takes the number one spot for being an effective sequel. It’s a large scale Roland Emmerich pastiche that feels like the filmmakers decided to have fun with their premise. Like the original, the plot trucks along at a fast pace that keeps viewers invested.
Another weak love triangle and more bland family drama threatens to spoil the fun, but fans get the legendary Judd Hirsch doing his thing from a taxi and all is well. The seeds of what the franchise would become are planted here, including the celebrity cameos and over the top ending. Sharknado 2: The Second One is a genuinely entertaining movie that improves on the original and is the best of the bunch.
With SyFy Channel's massive Sharknado marathon on the horizon, we run down the 6-movie franchise from worst to best.