Courteney Cox Returns to TV with Shining Vale

The premiering dark dramedy uses the classic haunted house yarn to explore the horrors of a family in crisis

The premiering dark dramedy uses the classic haunted house yarn to explore the horrors of a family in crisis

For Courteney Cox and her new co-stars, it might be fortunate that another series this season has already gotten many viewers accustomed to ghost stories with a quirky, funny twist.

Though it started shooting well before CBS’s freshman sitcom Ghosts premiered, Shining Vale—which debuts with two episodes on Sunday—also blends comedy with the supernatural. Created by Jeff Astrof (Trial & Error) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), the show casts Cox as a novelist who moves with her husband (Greg Kinnear) and children (Gus Birney, Dylan Gage) to the titular Connecticut town, hoping to save her family life after her marital infidelity.

Alas, she may be foiled by the dark history of their new residence, a 200-year-old house that was the setting of a triple murder and suicide. Cox’s character is the only person who can see the ghost of the killer (Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino), and the lethal spectre may be out to possess her. Merrin Dungey (Alias) and Judith Light (Who’s the Boss?) round out the cast.

“I love to be scared and I love to laugh,” says Friends and Cougar Town alum Cox, who has done the same in the Scream movies, “and this is such a unique combination of these two things. It deals with real-life issues… family, infidelity, mental illne ss, fill-in-the-blanks. It’s just so rich and funny and great, and I was so excited to be considered.”

Though Shining Vale has an overall arc, Astrof—who worked on Friends as a story editor—notes that “each episode stands alone. I come from a 30-minute background, so you know that there has to be a beginning, middle and end—but if you look at how the story unfolds, it is a four-hour movie, basically. There’s a different pace to it, and it really ramps up. It is just very, very big and very, very thrilling. And everything pays off.”

“It would be impossible to do this in a movie,” maintains Kinnear, who also made his Broadway debut in To Kill a Mockingbird earlier this year. “I obviously love films as well, but this is entirely different. First of all, we’re shooting on the Warner Bros. lot. We shot the first episode in South Pasadena [California], where we found this amazing house; then, somehow, they managed to create this whole universe on the lot. Just the transformation of that has been amazing.”

In playing the ghost of Shining Vale‘s ghost story, Sorvino says, “I try to find the vulnerability in her as well, even though she might be doing some things that some might consider questionable. I try and find the humanity in her… even though she’s not of human flesh anymore, I guess.” 

Shining Vale premieres Sunday, March 6th at 12:40 a.m. & 1:10 a.m. on Starz2 & Crave (Stream)