Walter White, the anti-hero of the new AMC series "Breaking Bad," is a chemist, and always defines himself as such. Twenty years earlier, he was part of a Nobel Prize-winning research team, and though he's down on his luck now and teaches science to bored high-schoolers, his voice still breaks a little as he describes the wonders of chemistry, how it features "growth, then decay, then transformation." And when he discovers he has inoperable lung cancer, he decides the only way to care for his wife and disabled son after he's gone is to put his lab skills to use cooking crystal meth.To read the full thing, click here.
"Breaking Bad" is itself a chemistry experiment, an attempt to combine several unstable compounds - one part "Weeds," one part "The Bucket List," one part "Falling Down" and 12 parts Coen Brothers - to see whether they lead to synthesis or combustion. I've seen three episodes, and while the show hasn't blown up yet, I still have no idea what it's going to look like when all the elements fully mix together.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Today's column previews the new AMC drama, "Breaking Bad":