Summary of “How We Got From Doc Brown to Walter White”

Westworld, Orphan Black, Masters of Sex, CSI, Bones, House, The Big Bang Theory, and several others have all written scientists as diverse and complex humans who have almost nothing in common with the scientists I saw in the 1980s movies I watched as a kid.
As a result, scientists on screen have evolved from stereotypes and villains to credible and positive characters, due in part to scientists themselves, anxious to be part of the action and the public’s education.
Scientists were smart and rational, the report noted, but of all the occupational roles on TV, scientists were the least sociable.
“We know we need scientists to fix up the mess we’re making of the planet. If there’s any hope at all, it has to come from scientists who monitor the risk and are able to find ways to overcome that risk. Whereas before, scientists were seen as part of the risk.”
Eight years after Doc Emmett Brown sent his mad invention traveling through time in Back to the Future, scientists in Jurassic Park enthralled visitors with creatures from the past.
Although Doc Brown’s chaotic goofiness was still acceptable for scientist characters in 1985, the paleontologists in Jurassic Park were held to a much higher standard.
In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, having long taken note of the good and not-so-good portrayals of science and scientists in TV and film, set up the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a hotline that connects producers and screenwriters to scientists.
White’s blue meth business is also a reminder that while the overall framing of scientists on TV might have shifted toward the heroic, we can’t help but notice that Walter White is still a villain.

The orginal article.