To be fair, all the usual haunted house tropes are scattered throughout Worth shining -but they ended up with such fun that youre glad to see them coming.
Worth shining is the name of the town where the writer Patricia (Courteney Cox) and her husband Terry (Greg Kinnear) move with their two teenagers Gaynor (Gus Birney) and Jake (Dylan Gage).
Their newly purchased period home is finally unloaded by a local real estate agent (Sherilyn Fenn) who quips, “This old lady has a lot of stories to tell.”
If it’s full of character and dark corners, it’s also where Pat hopes to overcome her writer’s block. After a racy best-seller (described by locals as “lady porn”), her publisher is demanding a new first chapter within the month.
It’s also the house where Pat and Terry hope to rekindle their marriage after Pat walks away with a handyman.
But not long after moving into the house, things go awry overnight for Pat, and she sees visions that raise questions about her grip on reality. However, she may also have found a ghostwriter … geddit?
Teenage daughter Gaynor is drawn to a cute Christian boy at the local Chastity Club, whose mother issues ominous warnings about the house, while Jake’s new VR headset leads him down a garden path to clues from the past.
Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan’s series (Catastrophe) plays with the idea of depression and/or possession, suggesting that the symptoms are often very similar. It depicts a very grown-up approach to its story, with almost every one episode’s atomic bombs Dead wood (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration), and even jokes about Jake being cured online. Damn.
I also acknowledge the freebies to The brilliantnot just in the name, but in the crazy touches and title cards, “MONDAY” “WEDNESDAY” etc.
Courteney Cox crackles in this role, perfectly balanced by Kinnear: the best moments are when they are on screen together. But a special mention also goes to Mira Sorvino as a spirit of the house of the 50s, a very theatrical role.
Although many dramas are demanding and time consuming, Worth shining offers a light touch in 30-minute doses.
Worth shining debuts with a double episode Monday on Binge, Wednesday, March 9 at 8:30 pm on FOX Showcase.