I am watching a new show on Fox tonight. It is called Fringe and it’s from JJ Abrams, the guy who developed Lost which is one of my favorite shows of all time. It’s a cross between X-Files, Lost and Heroes, all of which I have really enjoyed. But here’s the thing. One of the major plot developments in the pilot involves a Harvard faculty member who was institutionalized 17 years ago in a psychiatric hospital. He is released from the hospital and goes back to the Kresge building at Harvard. His lab had been in the basement of that building which has been used as storage for the last 17 years. Lo and behold, his lab is pretty much intact, with microscopes and lab equipment just as he left it all those years ago.
This series is science fiction but this particular plot point was the most difficult one for me to swallow. If Harvard is like most institutions of higher education (including my own), space is at a premium. There is no way that such a large space would be left alone for 17 years while the primary user of that space languishes in a mental institution! It’s funny to me that it’s this mundane detail rather than the many sci fi potentialities that makes me question the reality of this show.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.