Fun's over. Time to pack up the shark fins. Break out the "jump-the-shark" snark.
The fourth installment of the Sharknado franchise — Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens, which airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on the Syfy Network — was everything we've come to expect: Campy, fun, schlocky mayhem with production values that would cause the makers of Final Cut Pro to cringe.
But that was the problem: We've seen most of it before. You know how it goes: All is serene until a tornado full of sharks appears — this time in Las Vegas after a five-year lull. Panic ensues, heads of C-list celebrities are bitten off and then the Shepard family — the first family of Sharknado fighters — saves the world.
This one, however, gave off an It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World feel.
The Shepard family races all over the place, battling time and using all means of transportation while a supporting battalion of recognizable actors spew over-the-top dialogue. Even the ending, which won't be given away here, seemed like the Sharknado producers had captured the vibe of Stanley Kramer's madcap 1963 movie, Mad, Mad World.
Judging by a rough-cut preview made available by Syfy, Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens has its moments, but it is very predictable, a little less fun and a bit long in the shark tooth at 85 minutes.
Sharknado 3 begged for a sequel after heroine April Wexler (Tara Reid) was smashed by a falling shark and her fate was left to social media, which might explain the presence of many social-media stars among the cameos.
Like other Sharknadoes, this one had its high points.
It introduced us to new faces, moments and memorable cameos.
If there is a fifth installment, a case can be made for Lewisville native Cody Linley, who plays Matt Shepard, to be the next shark-fighting superhero, replacing his parents Fin (Ian Ziering) and April.
Also, there were a smattering of clever movie homages throughout, including one to the Texas Chain Saw Massacre when a Sharknado swept into a West Texas oil field ("Oil-Nado!" and "It wouldn't be Texas without a chainsaw massacre!"). The opening crawl was done in Star Wars style.
Texas native Gary Busey plays Wilford Wexler, a scientist who's basically just Gary Busey in a lab coat. David Hasselhoff plays Col. Gil Shepard and might have been the best actor in the bunch.
Gilbert Gottfried steals a few scenes while playing Storm Chaser Ron in the NBC Today show's mobile unit. Carrot Top is an annoying Uber driver. And the Chippendales Dancers get in on the act in a most expected way (it's revealed in the trailer).
Tommy Davidson gets in on the campiness as Aston Reynolds, playboy tech billionaire and CEO of a tech company that smart enough to hire Busey. Davidson's company has apparently found a use for the now-useless Google Glass eyeglasses.
Another reason it might be time for Sharknado to move on is ratings. For Sharknado 3, Nielsen recorded a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49. That was down from a 1.3 for Sharknado 2. The first Sharknado registered a 0.4, but social media bumped it into cult status and it picked up higher ratings during encore airings.
But the social-media numbers have also fallen like an airborne shark. Sharknado 3 drew 360,000 event-related tweets, down from 581,000 for Sharknado 2, according to Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. Syfy pointed out that Sharknado 3 generated about 2 million impressions worldwide, which was double Sharknado 2.
Sharknado still keeps Syfy in the game. Sharknado 3 was cable's No. 1 original program for adults 25-54 as well as total viewers.
Still, it's about time for something new. A fourth Sharknado gives the franchise a neat symmetry. A fifth one might be a full-on shark jump.