Courtney Cox sitting down in Shining Vale

Jeff Astrof on the Success of ‘Shining Vale’ and Season 2

Remember the days of television when a season would air and you’d have season two a few months later? Well, that’s not really how it works anymore and a show that knows that feeling well is Shining Vale. Created by Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan, the series takes us into the life of Pat (Courtney Cox) and her family as her family is coping with her cheating on her husband, Terry (Greg Kinnear). The show aired in March of 2022 and the announcement for season 2 came in May of 2022 but that now feels like a lifetime ago.

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Talking with Jeff Astrof at New York Comic Con about the series, I asked if there was a fear in coming back after a year and a half to the show and how it felt bringing us season 2 after all this time. He jokingly said he was terrified and that he “grew up” doing network shows. “I grew up in my twenties and thirties, as a small child of 32. I’ve only done network TV where you’re like, ‘I hope people remember you over the summer’ and then you play reruns all summer so they can’t forget you and this is just a different landscape now. And we finished filming season two in December,” he said. Meaning that the series itself was not only wrapping its first season in the spring of 2022 but the show itself had finished filming nearly a year ago as well.

One of the things about the show too that is interesting is that it falls into the horror comedy genre so beautifully. Astrof himself comes from a comedy background and talked about how he had to work a bit on the horror aspects with writers. So I asked about bringing those new elements into elements into his comedy writing. “When Sharon first had this idea years before and she said, could we do like The Shining as a comedy? And I thought I’d just seen Hereditary and I was like, ‘I wanna do Hereditary, but shot like Hereditary. I said, yes, we write it like a comedy, like a character based comedy, but we shoot like Hereditary and that’ll be creepy and that’s what I wanted to do. I really just thought, after when you see Hereditary or any horror movie, after you scream, you laugh and you’re just being surprised. It’s just a different reaction. So I thought I knew how to do it and my first draft was just like a blood gore fest ’cause I did not know any of the rules of horror.”

Astrof went on to talk about how he learned a lot about horror from the writers he worked with and the team they built for the show. “I hired the direct, the editor was a horror editor. My writers, Jill Blotevogel, who was my number two, who was has a background like I have in comedy but in horror, she always would say stuff like, ‘well, a ghost wouldn’t say that.’ I’d be like, ‘well, this ghost does now.'” He went on to talk about Blotevogel taught him one of the most important rules of horror. “And the other thing that she said, which I thought was really fascinating, in comedy, oftentimes we wind up playing for the lowest denominator and horror, she said, you have to fool your most sophisticated fan.”

Shining Vale season 2 is on STARZ now.

(featured image: STARZ)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.