Neil deGrasse Tyson Cosmos finale tonight: time and TV, Season 2?

Neil deGrasse Tyson takes the universe for one more spin tonight in the finale episode of Cosmos, his re-imagining of the original Cosmos television show hosted by Carl Sagan. The thirteenth and final episode tonight is titled “Unafraid of the Dark” which focuses in on the mystery behind the scientific concept of dark energy. The focus will be on the late Fritz Zwicky, the astrophysicist famously connected to the supernova. And now comes the question: will there be a season two?

The original Carl Sagan version of Cosmos ran for a single self contained season of thirteen episodes in 1980, and although Sagan lived for another sixteen years, he never attempted a second go-round. However the modern television era tends to seek to extend any popular show or franchise for as long as possible, and so FOX may end up offering Neil deGrasse Tyson the opportunity to do a Cosmos Season 2.

One thing that makes Cosmos unique is that it presents scientific fact unapologetically, without regard for the hurt feelings of anti-science religious zealots or climate change deniers. That’s led to a good deal of controversy, but it’s also helped elevate Tyson in the eyes of the pro-science crowd, and made him a de facto spokesperson for making science cool again among the masses. Whether he’ll be given the chance to do a second season will likely come down to ratings.

Season 1 had a strong ratings debut but slid during the next four episodes, before stabilizing and slightly rebounding over the next seven. It’ll also depend on whether Tyson wants to keep doing the show, or whether he’s content to keep his Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey limited to the same thirteen episodes of Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Odyssey. Tyson could provide further insight into future plans at the end of tonight’s season finale episode.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos will air tonight on the FOX TV channel with a start time of 9:00pm eastern time.