Fox’s “Fringe” premiered last season to a ridiculous amount of buzz, thanks to the combination of J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, a trio whose various credits (many of them shared) – “Alias,” “Lost,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “Transformers,” and the then-still-forthcoming “Star Trek” – were more than sufficient to get the sci-fi fanboys into a tizzy. Things may have started off a bit rocky, mostly due to a slight uncertainty about exactly what the hell was going on, but by the close of the season finale, when we found ourselves barely getting over that guest appearance by Leonard Nimoy before we found ourselves looking at a still-standing World Trade Center, we were already ready for Season 2 to begin.

“As we went along, I think we got a better handle on the balance of our characters and the plots and making sure that our plots were character-centric,” admitted executive producer Jeff Pinkner. “I think that we learned how to write for these actors, these characters over time, and I think we learned this in ‘Alias’ and ‘Lost.’ The shows that are really about the characters, the characters and the actors playing them start to meld a little bit more, and I think we’ve gotten better at that.”

Orci noted that one of the series’ biggest issue from the very beginning was figuring out the percentage of standalone episodes versus a larger serialization. “We’ve all read the research that says a regular viewer watches three episodes in a year, etcetera, etcetera, so you try to modulate,” he explained. “In the first season, we actually had to sort of plan around resetting the series once or twice and doing it around three- or four-week-long breaks. And that kind of exercise makes us, in Season Two, a little more flexible, a little bit more able to read the green. And I think, you know, the fact that we are closer than we were from New York is also helpful. We can all be up there a little bit more; we can communicate better with each other. I think we’re just a tighter ship this year.”

If you weren’t entirely sure whether or not that shot of the World Trade Center took place in the past or in an alternate universe, Pinker is glad to clarify. “We have decided that, though science acknowledges a multi-verse and an infinite number of universes, we are only going to tell a story about two: here and what we are referring to internally as ‘over there,'” he said. “But they are two versions of reality. It’s not time travel.” (Season 2 will predominantly take place here, he said, “but what’s happening over there is impacting what’s happening over here.”)

Pinkner admits that it’s a challenge to come up with the most succinct way to convey the show’s science to the average viewer.

“One of our co-producers, Brian Burk…we literally say that we try to write the show for his dog and for my dad (to comprehend),” he said, scoring a laugh. “Both his dog and my dad are really bright, but…how do you convey a parallel universe, which science has actually acknowledged or hypothesized for decades, and the idea that there’s literally a Doppelganger for each of us living in another universe where very similar, although different events are taking place?

“At the end of the season, when we made the choice that we were going to see our character, Olivia, cross over to the other side and meet William Bell, who we now know is over there, we tried to figure out what would be the most iconic symbol to represent this is very much like here but different. And we talked about using the World Trade Center as the visual representation of that, such an iconic thing that tragically is no longer here, and we immediately thought, ‘Okay, that’s perfect.’ That’s the end of ‘Planet of the Apes,’ when you’d see the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand, and then you know, ‘Oh, we landed back on Earth.’ And we struggled with whether it would be appropriate or disrespectful, but we thought that, ultimately, it’s an honest way to represent that there’s another version of Earth in New York where different choices were made and, therefore, different consequences.”

If you’re wondering, Leonard Nimoy will absolutely be back on the show as William Bell, and the option is available for him to appear “as much as he wants, truly,” according to Pinkner. “We’ve made an open invitation.” One has been filmed, and fellow executive producer J.H. Wyman says that there will be several more for sure.

Although it was cool to have Nimoy on the set, that’s talking in terms of general awesomeness rather than temperature. “It was 106 degrees outside,” said Pinkner, “and unlike Los Angeles or New York, the sound stages in Vancouver don’t have air-conditioning. It was 120-some degrees inside, and like a pro, he sat there all day. He never went back to his trailer, and did pages and pages and pages of dialogue and scenes with Anna.”

“Well, he’s from the planet Vulcan,” observed Joshua Jackson. “He’s after that kind of heat.”

“Sincerely, his wife told me that he practices biofeedback,” said Pinkner. “He just sort of, like, regulates his body temperature, which is very Spock-like.”