Is it greed, madness or genius which gives birth to sequels? (It's the first of those three, if you paused for a moment, thinking.)
Trailer: Sharknado 2 - The Second One
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Trailer: Sharknado 2 - The Second One
A freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a Sharknado on the population and its most cherished, iconic sites - and only Fin and April can save the Big Apple.
And depending on your perspective, the cyclonic second coming of the Sharknado franchise - the aptly, if ridiculously, titled Sharknado 2: The Second One - is either tele-cinema's finest hour or the end of civilisation as we know it.
Syfy's Sharknado 2 trailer, about a shark storm hitting Manhattan, just went up and features chain saws buzzing, the Statue of Liberty's severed head whizzing, Tara Reid constantly complaining and Robert Klein barking: "This is the Big Apple! Something bites us; we bite back!"
So the polite answer is to say the truth lies somewhere in between, but if we're honest, it is more likely that the world will end, taking with it a human civilisation which doesn't have the best track record when it comes to these things.
For every brilliant sequel - we're thinking of 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and 1982's Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan here - there are countless more corpses peppering the entertainment superhighway. (And holding up the shelves in the darkest recesses of your local video store.)
Remember 1982's Grease 2? What about Porky's II: The Next Day? Teen Wolf Two? Weekend At Bernie's II? Or a whole lot of films produced in the 1970s with a title that might as well have been Return To Beyond The Valley of the Planet of the Apes.
Hollywood has a huge appetite of coming back for a second bite, usually with appalling results. Though some sequels do indeed become the foundation stones for long-lasting film and television franchises, the truth is many do not.
And Sharknado, while it may have made a lot of noise on social media, and somehow turned itself into the cinematic event of 2013 without ever (a) getting a first release in a cinema, or (b) being an actual event, will no doubt take its place in the history books as a piece of absurdist junk and not much more.
Even the trailer for Sharknado 2 can't quite manage to take itself too seriously, opening with one of those "in every generation there is a cinematic event"-type narrations, which quickly devolves into one-liners and utter, utter madness. It comes with celebrity cameos, terrible dialogue and one wry line: "They say lightning never strikes twice."
And let's be honest: all jokes aside, the cable channel SyFy, which will air the telemovie in the US and on its Australian counterpart, is asking for exactly that: a second strike of lightning after the first one hit, transforming what might have been a bit of D-list TV detritus into a bona fide phenomenon - albeit one which only really lives in the slightly cheaper version of the real world: social media.
Should we be grateful for small mercies? That this isn't The Next Karate Kid (a sequel so lame even Ralph Macchio didn't come back for it) or The Godfather: Part III, the chapter of that particular franchise in which Francis Ford Coppola basically flushed the iconic brand down the Pope's gold-plated loo?
If Sharknado has anything to hang onto, it is perhaps simply this: it isn't the worst sequel ever made. Remember The Sting II? If you don't, then you should be on the ground kissing the floor as you read this. Or those much-loved, recycled-to-death masterpieces: I Still, Still, Still Know What You Did Last Summer, or Oceans Forty Six? Or even Blues Brothers 2000? Well, it's none of those.
The worst sequel - ever - must surely be The Birds II: Land's End, the 1994 TV movie sequel to the 1963 classic. The less you know about it the better, though it teaches us this one, final, lesson in the art of film-making: trying to one-up Grease, The Karate Kid and The Godfather? Good luck. Trying to one-up Hitchcock? Now that's a crime.
- with New York Times