Star Lindsay Wagner and co-star Amy Aquino rise above this torpid, rather than torrid, Danielle Steel adaptation. Neither as glitzy as "Crossings" nor as trashy as "Star," this piece of Olympics counterprogramming will likely attract only the most ardent sports hater.

Star Lindsay Wagner and co-star Amy Aquino rise above this torpid, rather than torrid, Danielle Steel adaptation. Neither as glitzy as “Crossings” nor as trashy as “Star,” this piece of Olympics counterprogramming will likely attract only the most ardent sports hater.

Successful novelist Daphne Fields (Wagner) is hit by a car on Christmas Eve, and as she lays in a coma, her story is told in flashback. Seems she was once an aspiring writer/happy Connecticut housewife, whose life was shattered by the death of her husband (Rex Smith) and daughter in a fire.

Daphne moves to New York City, where she awaits the birth of the child conceived the night of the fire. She is befriended by Barbara (Aquino), who becomes like a second mother to Daphne’s deaf child, Andrew (Darrell Thomas Utley), and Daphne herself. Daphne finally decides to send Andrew to a school for the deaf, run by earnest nice guy Dr. Matthew Dane (Barry Bostwick).

Biggest problem is the plot. Beyond its predictability — no surprise in a Steel-originated work — it’s just not gripping. Mark Miller’s direction is fine , and Wagner and Aquino are excellent — especially Aquino, in the thankless role of spinster best friend — but all of their good efforts can’t compensate for the lackluster story.

Once in a Lifetime

NBC, Tues. Feb. 15, 9 p.m.

Production

Filmed by the Cramer Co. in association with NBC Prods. Exec producer, Douglas S. Cramer; co-producer, Daniel Dugan; director, Michael Miller; writer, Syrie Astrahan James.

Crew

Camera, Kees Van Oostrum; editor, Janet Bartels Vandagriff; production designer, James J. Agazzi; music, David Shire. 120 MIN.

Cast

Cast: Lindsay Wagner, Barry Bostwick, Duncan Regehr, Amy Aquino, Rex Smith, Fran Bennett, Debra Sullivan, Michael Mitz, Michael Laskin, Jessica Sinegal, Nicholas Petrie, Dawn Jeffrey-Nelson, Spencer Garbett.

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