Friends star Courteney Cox is planning a comeback with a new horror-comedy series Shining Vale. She is set to headline the upcoming Starz series alongside Greg Kinnear and Mira Sorvino. Created by Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Shining Vale has been described as a “genre-bender” that aims to blend horror and comedy to provide a never seen before experience. During their virtual presentation at the summer TCA press tour, Starz revealed the first look at Shining Vale. You can check out the images below.
The creators aim to make a uniquely original show that will deliver laughs and scares in equal measure. “Sharon and I set out very ambitiously to create a new genre of something very, very scary and really, really funny”, said Astrof. While Horgan remarked, “We didn’t want the horror to bring any laughs. When the horror kicks, in we wanted it to be proper scary. It’s a really obnoxious thing to say we created a new genre, but actually we did, and we achieved it.” It seems like the duo is very happy with what they’ve achieved and believe they have created an entirely new genre. In fact, all the cast members have praised the makers’ vision calling it “intelligently written” and “laugh out loud”. Let’s hope the audience ends up appreciating the show as well when it premieres next year.
As for Cox, here is what she says about what drew her to this show. “I love to be scared and love to laugh, and this is just such a unique combination of these two things, a genre I’ve never seen before. It deals with family issues, infidelity, mental health issues. It was just rich and funny and great.” Cox also showed the pilot to her Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow, who, according to Cox, “were so scared they couldn’t watch”.
Starz has also released a detailed plot synopsis for Shining Vale.
Shining Vale is a horror comedy about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Pat, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed – turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Patricia “Pat” Phelps (Courteney Cox) is a former “wild child” who rose to fame by writing a raunchy, drug-and-alcohol-soaked women’s empowerment novel (a.k.a. lady porn). Fast forward 17 years later, Pat is clean and sober but totally unfulfilled. She still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband (Greg Kinnear), and her teenage kids are at that stage where they want you dead. She was a faithful wife until her one slip-up: she had a torrid affair with the hot, young handyman who came over to fix the sink while Terry was at work. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, she and Terry cash in all their savings and move the family move from the “crazy” of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs that has a storied past of its own. Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real.
Sharon Horgan, who is perhaps best known for co-creating and starring in Catastrophe with Rob Delaney, teamed up with longtime television producer Jeff Astrof to make Shining Vale. The series has been in development since 2018, and only this year did was a pilot ordered by Starz. Dearbhala Walsh (The Tudors) signed on to direct the pilot in February 2021 and subsequently, in April, Starz commissioned eight half-hour episodes for the series, with the filming finally commencing in July. Shining Vale also stars Sherilyn Fenn, Gus Birney, Dylan Gage, Merrin Dungey, and Judith Light.
Shining Vale marks Courteney Cox’s turn in a leading role after several years. She recently earned her first Emmy nomination even after being in the show business for over two decades. The success of Friends: The Reunion has given Cox some well-deserved recognition, and she is trying to make the best of it. Cox is also reprising her role of news reporter Gale Weathers in Scream, the fifth film in Wes Craven’s iconic meta-horror franchise. Scream will release on January 14, 2022. Shining Vale doesn’t have a release date as of now but will also debut sometime in 2022.