Billy Barratt as Little Gil, Tara Reid as April Shepard, Ryan Newman as Claudia Shepard, Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard.

Billy Barratt as Little Gil, Tara Reid as April Shepard, Ryan Newman as Claudia Shepard, Ian Ziering as Fin Shepard.

Syfy/Simon Mein/Syfy

This post contains spoiler alerts (as if a Sharknado needs that disclaimer):

Just when you thought another Sharknado movie would emit a foul and fishy odor, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming put on a surprisingly good show.

The latest sequel in Syfy's Sharknado franchise premiered Sunday night and showed some bite for a series that had been trending downward. It was clever. It was fun. And for a movie built on campiness, it had significant twists. 

From the beginning to the very end, Sharknado 5 was relentless with pop culture references and C-list celebrity cameos. It was like swimming in a shark cage. You had to be constantly alert. No time to think of shark snark to live tweet. From the tone of people who managed to tweet, they seemed to be having fun with this one.

A couple of things only font nerds would notice: The opening title was a homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The font on the closing credits was a take on Back to the Future. If you were really paying attention, even Left Shark made an appearance in the credits. 

The plot -- you know that crazy thing that gets in the way in this series -- pitted hero Fin Shepard and his shark-fighting family against another wave of sharknados. In this sequel, sharknados bounce from one international landmark to another. 

The C-listers were trotted out so quickly that you couldn't Google them fast enough. There was Olivia Newton-John in hot-magenta lipstick. Then, Clay Aiken. Whoa, Geraldo Riveria was flying a blimp. There was Charo, silently playing the Queen of England (we were all waiting for her to warble out a "coochie, coochie"). Hey, there was veteran Sharknado fighter, NBC's Al Roker, who broke the news that Texas had been "obliterated" by a sharknado (Didn't Roker get smashed by a flying shark in a previous sequel?). Poison alum Bret Michaels showed up and immediately got run over by a double-decker bus on the steets of London. He recovered to play the guitar while stuck to the grill (I was hoping for a Mad Max flaming guitar scene). 

Finally, MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown takes us to Fabio, who's playing The Pope. He hands Fin the holy chainsaw.

He'll need it to avenge the death of his oldest son, Matt, who was played by Cody Linley of Lewisville. Linley survived Dancing With the Stars and girlfriend Miley Cyrus, but was flattened by a flying shark.

And then there's Tara Reid's character, April. She's bionic and has Iron Man-esque powers. By the end of the movie, she meets a fate that causes you to reach for the Austin Powers Book of Headless Puns. 

In the end, Gil, who was caught within a sharknado that showed up all over the world, ended up saving his father much like "Doc" Brown saved Marty McFly in Back to the Future

I wasn't in favor of this sequel because I wasn't sure The Asylum, the company behind Sharknado, could top itself. It did.

So that begs the question: Will there be a Sharknado 6? The Back to the Future reference could be a clue about the possibilities. Or not. Sharknado 5 competed with HBO's Game of Thrones and Twin Peaks on Sunday night, meaning that the ratings will clue us to whether the makers of Sharknado have another sequel in them.

But this one was fun -- with none of that fishy smell.

What's Happening on GuideLive