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October 21, 2011 at 04:25 PM EDT


Terra Nova is about to get wilder. After experimenting with a couple stand-alone episodes, Fox’s dino-drama is taking a more serialized path for the rest of the season — solving key mysteries, introducing new dinos, and even killing off a character. (Don’t worry, we won’t say who.)

Terra Nova executive producers René Echevarria and Brannon Braga reveal some of the threats the colonists will face in the upcoming hours, as well as answer some burning fan questions. Will we see 2149 again? Will the season finale end on a cliffhanger? What’s up with all the teen romance? And hey, will the colonists ever actually kill a dinosaur? We have a mega Q&A that answers all this and more. The interview comes on the heels of Monday’s fourth episode rising in the ratings — a promising sign if the ambitious sci-fi show is going to land a second season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on the ratings uptick. I hear the show is going to get more serialized from here on?

RENÉ ECHEVARRIA: It does. We’re going to roll out the whole Sixer mythology this season. You’re going to see who sent them here and why, and it all comes to a head in the season finale.

BRANNON BRAGA: Whether it’s the strange markings on the rocks, or even the new thing we introduced Monday night with the container, all these things will culminate and be explored by the end of the 13. And it’s been fun doing that. As the episodes go on, the momentum will build with the ongoing storylines.

It was almost like you had these serialized elements in the pilot, then Fox said “make it more stand-alone.”

BB: Are you sleeping with a network executive? Do you have spies?

That’s sort of what happened on Fringe.

RE: It’s true in the first couple episodes, you do want to cast a wide net. And we are picking up those threads now. The story with Josh picks up a lot of heat about what he’s willing to do to get his girl here, and he gets way in over his head. It was an unexpected discovery as the season went along that this was a way to play scenes with the Sixers, but not with the adults. And it gives Josh and odd romantic triangle with Skye — how does she compete with an idealized person?

BB: The question was asked in [Monday’s] episode — which we thought was a good template for what the show really is going to be like moving forward, with a mixture of stand-alone elements and ongoing storyline — there was a question asked: “What is Terra Nova really all about?” That’s a question we’ll begin to answer. Things are not what they appear to be. Clearly Taylor has secrets. Jim is keeping things about his Sixer visit from Taylor. And there’s something big going on that Jim finds himself in the middle of.

Will we see more of 2149?

RE: We don’t see a lot of 2149. We come to see the conspiracy with the Sixers is being orchestrated in 2149, and as we get toward the season finale we will go to 2149 and see that more explicitly. But most of our storytelling takes place in Terra Nova.

BB: When we do go there, it’s very cool.

It’s a pretty cheerful show, usually. Was that a point of discussion — that to be a ‘family show’ it also needed a light tone?

RE: It’s the DNA of the show. It’s about a family with teenage kids and a really young daughter.

BB: There’s an optimism about the show that we like. Which isn’t to say things aren’t going to get pretty scary. Dramatic things are going to happen with big challenges to the family.

RE: Taylor and Jim are going to find themselves on a collision course about a secret Taylor is keeping.

BB: At it’s heart, this is not a cynical show. You called it “cheerful.” As René said, it’s in the DNA. It’s something we’ve always liked about the show — that even in its darkest hours it’s about a family that’s sticking together.

RE: You also want people to have that feeling — “I want to go to Terra Nova, I want to live in Terra Nova.” People die, bad shit happens, but you want to have that feeling. That’s one of the chords we’re trying to strike.

It does have a great farmer’s market.

RE: I read that recap you did of “Instinct”–

NEXT: Shark-a-saurs? Finale cliffhanger? Second season?

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