Picks and Pans Review: A Year in the Life

updated 09/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Wed., Sept. 16, 9 p.m. ET)

A

Last season's miniseries was good. This season's series looks just as good. A Year in the Life—an Eight Is Enough with sophistication, a Father Knows Best without platitudes, a soap without scum—follows a typical (TV) family: WASPy, well-to-do and attractive. But their traumas really are typical—finding the right baby-sitter, getting a divorce, selling a house, going on dates. Unlike disease-of-the-week movies or angst-addicted series like Cagney & Lacey A Year in the Life does not escalate and exploit people's problems. On A Year in the Life it is enough for a mother to find condoms in her daughter's drawer and worry about teen sex; the show doesn't turn the poor girl into a victim of pregnancy, suicide or AIDS. That restraint isn't all that's admirable about A Year in the Life. Richard Kiley, Wendy Phillips, Adam Arkin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Morgan Stevens, Jayne Atkinson and the rest of the cast all deliver caviar performances. The script, the look, everything about A Year in the Life is first-class.

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