The actress pointed out the connection in an August 2021 Instagram video, as she drove tourists past Stage 5 on the Warner Brothers studio lot in Burbank, Calif. “This is where Friends started in 1994 and is now occupied by a show called Shining Vale, starring me,” she said in the clip.
For Courtney, who’s also a star of the Scream film series, Shining Vale was an irresistible blend of horror and comedy. “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,” she told Deadline last August. “It deals with family issues, infidelity, mental health issues. It was just rich and funny and great.”
Here’s more intel about the show, which debuts on Starz tonight, Sunday, March 6, at 10:21 p.m. ET.
‘Shining Vale’ follows a writer who finds her muse in her family’s haunted new home.
In Shining Vale, Courteney plays Patricia “Pat” Phelps, a novelist and former wild child who has cleaned up her act but can’t find her muse for her second novel. She also can’t seem to find the spark with her husband, Terry, played by The Stand star Greg Kinnear. And after Pat cheats on Terry with the neighborhood handyman, Pat and Terry decide to move their family out of the city and into a large old house in the suburbs.
But their new home has a “storied past of its own,” since it’s where “terrible atrocities have taken place,” as Starz says in a synopsis for the series. “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. … Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real.”
The cast also includes Gus Birney (Dickinson) and Dylan Gage (Pen15), who play Pat and Terry’s teenage kids, Gaynor and Jake. Alias alum Merrin Dungey plays Kam, Pat’s editor and oldest friend. And American Crime Story actress Mira Sorvino plays Rosemary, who is “Pat’s alter ego, a split personality, her id, her muse, or a demon trying to possess her.”
Critics call the show “sharply satirical” tale with “all the best horror elements.”
Shining Vale, created by Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) and Jeff Astrof (Trial & Error), has a 77% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “The show does find a sharply satirical undercurrent, critiquing modern female domesticity in a way that grows increasingly pointed, locating a sort of sweet spot between The Shining and The Stepford Wives,” observes The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Fienberg.
“Shining Vale boasts all of the best horror elements: a haunted house, a descent into madness, gaslighting, sex, drugs, Christianity, and Courteney Cox,” writes AV Club’s Cristina Escobar.
And The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz calls the show “a remarkably solid tale, notwithstanding its considerable population of deranged characters and nonhuman conspirators.”