Pilot Light: Early impressions of ABC's 'Cougar Town'

Courteneycox_cougartown_290 The fall TV season is still about three months off, and the usual blizzard of reviews of new shows will be hitting around then. But we wanted to give you a better sense of what to expect from the crop of new shows beforehand.

So, starting today and continuing every so often over the summer, we'll be bringing you a feature called Pilot Light. These posts won't be actual reviews of the shows -- a lot of them will undergo some tweaking between now and their premiere dates (anything from music changes to recasting), so it wouldn't be right to judge them as a finished product.

We will, however, dive a little deeper into the characters and stories and offer up a few thoughts on potential breakout characters or actors, storylines that intrigue us and other things to watch out for. First up is "Cougar Town," the ABC comedy starring Courteney Cox.

What it is: Cox ("Friends") plays a divorced mom with a teenage son (Dan Byrd of "Aliens in America" and "Heroes") and a goofball of an ex (Brian Van Holt, "John From Cincinnati") who decides it's time to re-enter the dating pool. Her closest friends (Busy Philipps and Christa Miller) enable her in taking the leap.

Who's making it: "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, who wrote several episodes of the hospital comedy, co-wrote the script.

What to look for: Cox had a lot of strong moments in FX's "Dirt," but this show is more in her wheelhouse -- a character-driven comedy where she gets to play off all the neuroses that come with being of a certain age and not quite knowing how to be single again. She also gets to do some of the physical comedy and the funny-angry stuff -- particularly directed at a womanizing neighbor (Josh Hopkins, "Swingtown") -- that she was so good at on "Friends."

What pops: The relationship between Cox and Byrd is the heart of the show, and the two play well off one another very well. And though he's not a regular, a kid who's a little too into Cox's image on signs around town (she's a real estate agent) makes a big impression.

What doesn't: The title is sounding less and less clever by the day -- there's a somewhat viable explanation for it in the episode, but we're all supposed to think of the older-woman-younger-guy definition of "cougar," and that's not really what the show's about.

Related:

Watch a clip from 'Cougar Town'
ABC fall premiere dates
PICS: ABC's new shows for 2009-10
More fall preview coverage from Zap2it