This is the real brilliance behind the amped-up social media element of the sequel. Those watching and tweeting had plenty of fodder to write about in 140 characters or less. Between endless cameos, absurd after absurd set pieces and plenty of geek in jokes for those paying attention, there was non-stop moments to talk about while you were watching. In fact, Sharknado hashtags were 6 of the top 10 trending hashtags last night on Twitter.
Why does this matter? In the age of DVRs, Netflix and streaming episodes on network websites, it's rare that people watch live television these days. And when they watch it on the DVRs, they skip the very commercials that pay for the programming. So when networks create content that encourages you to watch live to be part of the Twitter conversation, they giving their advertisers what they paid for. It's also free advertising to get those that missed the premiere to catch a repeat airing. And this kind of success by a network means that you are going to see it and every other channel pump out more and more of the kind of content that creates these kinds of results.
That being said, though I watched it live, I did not play the Twitter game that I was encouraged to do at the beginning of every commercial break. Mostly I was marveling at the pure awfulness of the plot and effects while simultaneously being impressed with how well it was delivering moments that I would definitely be talking about the next day ("Hey, did you catch the William Shatner/Twilight Zone reference at the beginning!?")
Sharknado 2 delivered exactly as promised: a no-brainer B-movie good time with plenty of surprise cameos and must-see moments. Fueled by social media, it will likely be huge success for the network in subsequent airings. Pretty smart programming in this day and age of a multitude of digital options to TV content.
If you missed last night's premiere, you still have a few options. You can stream it on SyFy.com, but have to prove you already you subscribe to cable. The first Sharknado is also available for streaming on Syfy.com, but is viewable by anyone. If you prefer to try to recapture last night's social media glory, both films are running on SyFy Saturday starting at 5pm ET and is followed by Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda at 9pm ET which itself is being followed by Piranhaconda at 11pm ET.