November 20, 1989 12:00 PM

CBS (Sun., Nov. 19, 9 P.M. ET)


Let’s play a game. I’ll give you some names and you tell me what kind of project we’re talking. Here we go: Michael York, Bruce Boxleitner, Courteney Cox Arquette, Maxwell Caulfield, Barry Bostwick. Whoops, that last one gave it away. Yes, it’s a Judith Krantz adaptation, her fourth on the network, Bostwick’s third. Actually the whole cast bespeaks a pulp romance.

Till We Meet Again is the saga of the de Lancel women, followed in this lavish, gilded miniseries over two generations, two continents and two world wars. But the grand sweep of history serves only to pick up every tired cliché in its path.

Momma de Lancel (Lucy Gutteridge) runs away from a bourgeois French family to become a music hall singer. (You know it’s France because the characters drift in and out of these strangled Gallic accents.) During an astoundingly bad simulation of World War I, she weds a champagne heir and diplomat (Michael York). Eventually (the mini concludes Tuesday at 8 P.M.) he is posted to that hotbed of international diplomacy, Los Angeles.

They have two daughters. The elder (Mia Sara) becomes a movie actress and falls for a director and concentration camp victim (soap star Charles Shaughnessy). The feisty younger girl (Courteney Cox Arquette) enlists as an auxiliary pilot for the RAF in World War II. Flyboys Bostwick and Boxleitner are the loves of her life.

All five hours of this formula drama hinge on spontaneous marriage proposals and tearful reunions. There’s also turgid dialogue, such as “I don’t do business with Nazi collaborators. I don’t do business with the man who raped my sister.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The plot skips along smartly, against lovely backdrops. But little of moment happens in the foreground of this predictable, straw man of a mini.

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