Home Improvement Complete Series Dvd

Home Improvement Seasons 1-8 DVD. Leading Role: Tim Allen,Patricia Richardson,Earl Hindman,Zachery Ty Bryan,Jonathan Taylor Thomas,Taran Noah Smith,Richard Karn. Created by: Carmen Finestra,David McFadzean,Matt Williams. TV Series Release Date: 1991. 16 hours ago Nowadays, there are so many products of home improvement season 1 dvd in the market and you are wondering to choose a best one.You have searched for home improvement season 1 dvd in many merchants, compared about products prices & reviews before deciding to buy them.

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'Home Improvement' The Complete First Season DVD Review

Improvement
Home Improvement: Season One (1991-92)
Show & DVD Details
Director: John Pasquin
Regular Cast: Tim Allen (Tim Taylor), Patricia Richardson (Jill Taylor), Earl Hindman (Wilson), Taran Noah Smith (Mark Taylor), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy Taylor), Zachery Ty Bryan (Brad Taylor)
Recurring Characters: Richard Karn (Al Borland), Pamela Denise Anderson (Lisa), Betsy Randle (Karen), Jessica Wesson (Jennifer Sudarsky), Mickey Jones (Pete), Gary McGurk (Dwayne), Casey Sander (Rock), Jennifer Nash (Greta Post), Noble Willingham (Mr. Binford)
Notable Guest Stars: Eric Christmas (Sir Larry Houdini), John Marshall Jones (Rick), Sam McMurray (Rondall), Stephen Root (Exterminator), Adam Wylie (Jimmy Wagner), Art LaFleur (Jim), Ron Taylor (Kyle), Christopher McDonald (Stu Cutler), Patrick Thomas O'Brien ('Ink' Ingram), Bob Vila (Himself), Aaron Freeman (Curtis), George Foreman (Himself), Jack Elam (Hick Peterson), Ernest Borgnine (Eddie Phillips), Amy Ryan (Robin), Janeen Rae Heller (Herself)
Running Time: 566 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-PG
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: November 23, 2004; Suggested Retail Price: $23.99 (Was $49.99)
Season 1 Airdates: September 17, 1991 - May 5, 1992
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Six-sided fold-out Digipak with two-piece cardboard slipcover

Buy Season 1 from Amazon.com / Buy The Complete Series Collection

Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Since the launch of television and the birth of half-hour situation comedies shortly after, different generations of sitcom families have defined and reflected the decades of life in America. From 'Leave it to Beaver' in the '50s to 'The Cosby Show' in the 1980s, television families have changed to keep up with the unstationary American Dream of viewers.

By the fall of 1991, when 'Home Improvement' first aired, the days of three networks were long gone. There were now four strongly defined networks, hundreds of viewing options through widely-owned cable services, and even greater choice emerging in satellite television. Nonetheless, 'Home Improvement' would not only become the Walt Disney Company's first hugely profitable network television show, it would soon define the sitcom family of the 1990s as well.

Like sitcom families of the past, the Taylors of 'Home Improvement' are highly identifiable and easy to relate to. This middle class, middle America family of five were taking the '90s in stride as they resolved issues of parenting, marriage, and work, with plenty of laughs and good times.

Tim Taylor, the protagonist of the show played by star/executive consultant/inspiration Tim Allen, offers a new definition of Man. Knowledgeable but inept at work and often befuddled by his wife and kids, Tim is nonetheless easy to label as a successful father and husband. In fact, surveys from the decade would show his character as the most positive role model among television fathers.

There are two unique characteristics that define 'The Toolman' (as Tim's known on the cable home improvement show he hosts). First and maybe foremost is his celebration of masculinity, with which is tied a passion for tools, cars, and sports. For a relatively hip father, Tim is in touch with a primal side that harks back to caveman days. To best sum up his outlook on life, there wasn't a sentence or even a word as much as there was Tim's trademark grunt. From early on, this was a staple of the show, a sound which could imply confusion (usually at wife Jill), revelation, trouble, or simply joy. Appreciating Tim's grunt and his 'more power' mantra were essential to understanding what he believes in and to enjoying 'Home Improvement' as a show.

The second important element of Tim is the frequency with which he fouls up. The running joke on 'Home Improvement' (as well as the fictional 'Tool Time' program he hosts) was that while Tim may love tools and know everything about them, every time he tried to 'soup up' something, disaster would ensue. Accident-prone is a mild way of putting it. Tim's attempts at repairs usually left things in even greater disarray and in spite of this, he's still the host of a home improvement show and a darn likable guy, too. Whether Tim was really clueless to things or it was just running sarcasm (Season 1's shows tend to lean towards the latter) was never particularly clarified nor did it ever seem to matter. As a kind of live action equivalent to Homer Simpson, Tim was easy to embrace as a new comedic hero.

Taylor is the postmodern dad, a role which has not strayed too far from the traditional television father. He financially supports his family and everyone seems to likes him fairly well. Beyond the sarcasm that Tim frequently utilizes, there is love.

On 'Tool Time', Tim's trusty assistant Al Borland (Richard Karn, fantastic as the straight man to Tim's antics) often keeps things in order. Always clad in flannel shirts, Al values sensibility over Tim's jokes, which actually leads to an always-amusing atmosphere on the show where personalities clash. A bachelor, and frequently the butt of Tim's wit, Al takes it in stride and gets the job done. And everyone who watches the show seems to be crazy about Al Borland. Rounding out the work gang is 'Tool Time Girl' Lisa (pre-'Baywatch' Pamela Anderson), whose minor role entails introducing the show and bringing various items from backstage.

More central to the show than Tim's job as 'Tool Time' host was his marriage to Jill (Patricia Richardson). As seasons passed, the character of Jill would be given more depth and more important storylines. In this debut season, Jill is pretty much a wife and mother, and that's it. Still, she figures largely throughout each show as the lone female in the Taylor house and the loving counterweight to Tim. Jill's perspective often greatly differs from Tim's; her appreciation for opera is as foreign to Tim as his devotion to professional sports is to her. Yet, while they don't always see eye-to-eye, their relationship of compromises seems not perfect, but very happy. Of course, in a half-hour sitcom, comedy is instrumental and Patricia Richardson's keen ability to hold her own alongside a stand-up comedian in humorous situations proved very crucial to the show's success.

Making up the majority of the Taylor family are the three sons. The Taylor boys would come to play a more substantial role in future seasons. Here, most of the time they're seen, oldest son Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan) and middle child Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) are coming up with new ways to tease and torment Mark, the baby of the family (Taran Noah Smith). Brimming with energy (and their Dad's flair for sarcasm), the boys (especially Brad and Randy) are kept in line by Jill. Their mother's parental wisdom often conflicts with Tim's penchant for adventure, but he usually goes along with what she says, anyway. Much of the comedy (and many of the show's best episodes) flowed from situations involving the Taylor kids.

When Tim is confounded by Jill (and that is often), he turns to the Taylors' odd neighbor Wilson (Earl Hindman) for advice. Wilson, with no shortage of relevant resources (from the academic to the mystical), provides wise words or apt analogies to help Tim through confusing times. While the guidance almost always gets muddled in Tim's interpretation, Wilson's assistance usually comes through and makes things right. Seen only in part over the Taylor's backyard fence, Wilson is always engaging in some kind of unusual activity. He certainly made a lasting impression on the show as an imparter of moral values and an assortment of wisdom.

Perhaps this reading of the show is overanalytical or overserious. After all, it's a sitcom. Those are supposed to be low on the scale of social importance and artistic value, right? That may be so, but there's nothing quite like a good sitcom. What could be more familiar and easier to enjoy than various comedic adventures featuring characters you know and like?

Rather than ponder that, let me get back to the subject at hand. 'Home Improvement' is a very good sitcom. Revisiting the show several years later (and the idea of these episodes being 13 years old boggles my perception of time), one can see its formulas more clearly. Nonetheless, it is just as enjoyable now as it was then to get involved in the life of Tim Taylor and his family and co-workers. It's a very funny show, and one which is appropriately in touch with middle class American life with its depiction of family and an enduring marriage.

The first season of 'Home Improvement' is pretty strong as far as debut years of TV series go. The show would improve for several years as it found a more comfortable groove, but the successful heart and tone are already in place here. As are features that would become trademarks of the show, such as the animated scene transitions and the end credits outtakes.

'Home Improvement' also proved to be a much-imitated and oft-successful model for sitcoms of the '90s: adapting a half-hour series directly from the material of a stand-up comic. 'Seinfeld' began earlier, but it was 'Home Improvement' that was the breakthrough (in fact, the show's domination of Wednesday nights forced 'Seinfeld' to move to Thursday where it would become more successful). 'Grace Under Fire', 'Mad About You', 'Everybody Loves Raymond' would follow.

About 16 million viewers tuned in to the show Tuesday nights on ABC, where it was appropriately situated between two other family sitcoms: the cuter 'Full House' and the more cynical 'Roseanne.' It was easily the top-rated new show of the 1991-92 season, and the 4th most-watched entertainment program overall.

At long last, Disney releases this ratings giant and worldwide success to DVD. In 2003, the studio had plans for a 10-episode 'Best Of' set to be released the same week that Tim Allen's popular sequel The Santa Clause 2 came to disc. Fortunately for us, the show is presented here, as most shows are on DVD these days, in a complete, unedited season set, containing the 24 episodes from the debut 1991-92 season. This DVD set restores the entire 70-second opening credits, which are always drastically compressed for syndicated airings. Each episode contains between 5 and 10 chapter stops for quick scene access.

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

Disc 1

1. Pilot (23:53) (Originally aired September 17, 1991)
With Jill out at her job interview, Tim can't resist the urge to soup up the dishwasher with a new compressor from Sears. The pilot's central conflict aptly sets up the heart of the show; Tim seeks to reclaim the 'male spirit', while Jill just doesn't want the house in disrepair.

2. Mow Better Blues (23:40) (Originally aired September 26, 1991)
Tim works on revving up the lawnmower, with youngest son Mark again acting as assistant. When Mark breaks a wrench, rather than tell Tim, he hides it and then hides himself. Meanwhile, Jill and the boys get rid of some stuff for a rummage sale.

3. Off Sides (23:40) (Originally aired October 1, 1991)
Tim's Sunday of football viewing is interrupted by a dinner date with Jill. In need of a last minute babysitter, Jill hires Sir Larry Houdini, a birthday party magician. At the restaurant, Tim improvises with a transistor radio to keep tabs on the Lions game. Back at home, a trick goes wrong and the boys are worried to find Sir Larry trapped in his trunk.

4. Satellite on a Hot Tim's Roof (23:36) (Originally aired October 8, 1991)
It's Saturday, and Tim's excited to get the satellite dish delivered, but installing the thing poses difficulties. Jill gets a visit from her teacher Rondall, who Tim suspects has more in mind than helping her prepare for her job interview. Jill insists he's wrong, but Tim keeps interrupting anyway. The interactions between the insecure Tim and the pompous Rondall are extremely funny.

5. Wild Kingdom (23:42) (Originally aired October 15, 1991)
Mark's cub scout troop is over at the Taylor house, and so is some kind of creature. Wilson thinks it could be a snake, and Randy finds shed skin to confirm. When the exterminator can't find anything, Tim must face his great fear of snakes in front of the kids.

6. Adventures in Fine Dining (23:40) (Originally aired October 22, 1991)
After the boys' behavior gets the family kicked out of Wacky Jack's Pizza Pagoda, Tim bets Jill tell he can teach them some table manners. If he can't give the family one peaceful dinner, it's season tickets to the opera. Wilson suggests that Tim reinstill in the boys a respect for food that the hunting man once had. Tim's efforts to teach the boys are quite entertaining.

7. Nothing More Than Feelings (23:36) (Originally aired October 29, 1991)
Caught up in a male bonding moment with some audience guests on 'Tool Time', Tim lets out some embarrassing details about Jill. Jill is really upset at him, and he tries to make things right by bringing those same guests to talk about feelings.

8. Flying Sauces (23:40) (Originally aired November 5, 1991)
Brad and Randy have been picking on Mark a lot, and Jill's talk with them doesn't seem to do much. They turn right around and convince Mark that everyone in the family is an alien except for him. So Tim decides to get back at them at their own game. Meanwhile, the boys of K & B Construction make the first of their many appearances on 'Tool Time', demonstrating their skills at making lunch on the job. This is one of the show's most memorable episodes, and I don't think Iron Butterfly's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' has been put to better use than here.

Disc 2

9. Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble (23:37) (Originally aired November 19, 1991)
Tim's finally going to give Jill the bathroom that she's wanted and he's making a 'Tool Time' project out of it to get a great deal. Unfortunately, the on-location remodeling is a disaster; days are passing with little progress, the whirlpool Tim's promised can't get inside, and a water main breaks. A flabbergasted Jill takes the kids to a hotel, but some over-the-fence advice from Wilson and time away from Tim help set things straight. Meanwhile, Brad tries a new spiked hair look to impress Jennifer Sudarsky.

10. Reach Out and Teach Someone (23:37) (Originally aired November 26, 1991)
Tim tries to give Jill a plumbing lesson, but they just end up arguing. On 'Tool Time', the audience for 'Cooking with Irma' is brought in to see a special episode to teach women (including Jill) to do common household repairs.

11. Look Who's Not Talking (23:39) (Originally aired December 10, 1991)
In order to let Jill work on the library fundraising speech she's been putting off, Tim volunteers to clean the house with the boys. While Jill's worrying about having to speak in front of a crowd, Tim's souping up the vacuum cleaner with a new 'power suck' mode. To help Jill overcome her fears, Tim and Mark dress up as library women and listen.

12. Yule Better Watch Out (23:37) (Originally aired December 17, 1991)
It's our first Christmas with the Taylors. Jill makes sure that Randy looks great as the innkeeper in the Christmas play, while Tim is excited to compete in the annual lighting contest against Doc Johnson. Brad and Randy tell Mark that Santa Claus is dead, which leads the youngest Taylor boy to ask his parents whether Santa really exists. The Christmas episodes were always among the finest 'Home Improvement' shows, and this one's no different. Definitely a highlight among the first season.

13. Up Your Alley (23:36) (Originally aired January 7, 1992)
For family night, the Taylors head to the bowling alley. Jill's against keeping score with Tim..until she starts throwing nothing but strikes. When the boys of K & B Construction show up, it only adds to Tim's embarrassment. Meanwhile, the boys deal with a bully in the arcade section. A highly entertaining effort, in one of the first episodes mostly away from home.

14. For Whom the Belch Tolls (23:37) (Originally aired January 14, 1992)
Tim's old friend and former college roommate Stu Cutler (Christopher McDonald) is back in town and he's as crude and crass as ever. Against Jill's wishes, Stu manages to invite himself over the Taylor house and invades Family Night. Though Stu's obnoxiousness and inability to grow up rubs him the wrong way, Tim has trouble cutting his old friend loose.

15. Forever Jung (23:36) (Originally aired February 4, 1992)
Jill's friend Karen is over the Taylor house and the two of them are having a grand time making fun of Tim and men in general. On 'Tool Time', Tim gets his head stuck on a glue-covered table, making him the butt of more jokes at home. Brad has his first date with Jennifer, for which Jill teaches him to dance.

16. Jill's Birthday (23:37) (Originally aired February 4, 1992)
The boys remind Tim that this Friday is Jill's birthday. Jill, hoping for a better present than past years, tells Tim she wants something from his heart. Tim tries to do this, but when that goes wrong, he looks to a lingerie department and Wilson for additional guidance.

Continue to Page 2 >>

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Home Improvement on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3 • Season 4 • Season 5 • Season 6 • Season 7 • Season 8
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Reviewed November 20, 2004.

Home Improvement Complete Series Dvd

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Home Improvement on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3 • Season 4 • Season 5 • Season 6 • Season 7 • Season 8

'Home Improvement' The Complete Seventh Season DVD Review

Home Improvement Complete Series Dvd
Home Improvement: Season Seven (1997-98)
Show & DVD Details
Regular Directors: Peter Bonerz, Geoffrey Nelson, Andrew Tsao, Peter Filsinger
Regular Writers: Eric Horsted, Bruce Ferber, Lloyd Garver, Elliot Shoenman, Marley Sims, Jennifer Celotta, Adam England, Jon Vandergriff, Charlie Hauck, Laurie Gelman
Regular Cast: Tim Allen (Tim Taylor), Patricia Richardson (Jill Taylor), Earl Hindman (Wilson Wilson), Richard Karn (Al Borland), Debbe Dunning (Heidi), Zachery Ty Bryan (Brad Taylor), Taran Smith (Mark Taylor), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy Taylor)
Recurring Characters: China Kantner (Willow Wilson), William O'Leary (Marty Taylor), Kaylan Romero (Ronny), Courtney Peldon (Lauren), Tammy Lauren (Patty), Jim Labriola (Benny), Tom Wopat (Ian), Blake Clark (Harry), Casey Sander (Rock), Mickey Jones (Pete), Gary McGurk (Dwayne), Patrick Cronin (George 'Sparky' Henderson), Milton Canady (Milton)
Notable Guest Stars: Ashley Peldon (Diane), Charlie Robinson (Bud Harper), George Del Hoyo (Doug), Cory Everson (Herself), Kyle Howard (Greg Clark), Dan Aykroyd (Rev. Mike Weber), Eileen Heckart (Elaine Jenkins), Tom Poston (Ted), Rodney Dangerfield (Himself), Alex Rocco (Irv Schmayman), Liz Vassey (Donna), Kari Coleman (Kathy), Polly Holliday (Lillian), George Coe (Parker), Al Fann (Felix), Josh Blake (Brett), Maitland Ward (Christy), Maggie Lawson (Samantha Hayes), Kristen Hooper (Gracie Taylor), Kaitlyn Hooper (Claire Taylor), Payne Stewart (Himself), T.J. Thyne (Todd), Justin Shenkarow (Matt), Kaj-Erik Eriksen (Brian), Bonnie Bartlett (Lucille Taylor), Thom Sharp (Jeff Taylor), Graham Jarvis (Delvin), Grant Hill (Himself), Megan Cavanagh (Trudy), Ken Bowersox (Himself), Joan Lunden (Barbara Canfield)
Running Time: 554 Minutes (25 episodes) / Rating: TV-PG
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired; Closed Captioned
Season 7 Airdates: September 23, 1997 - May 19, 1998
DVD Release Date: August 7, 2007; Clear Keepcase with cardboard slipcover
Suggested Retail Price: $23.99; Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9)
Buy Season 7 from Amazon.com / Buy The Complete Series Collection

Home Improvement Complete Series Dvd Box Set

Home Improvement Complete Series DvdHome improvement blu ray

Home Improvement Complete Dvd Set


No television series can keep its creative juices flowing at full strength forever. This would seem especially true for a situation comedy that relied on archetypes, conventions, and successful traditions. That aptly describes 'Home Improvement', which definitely didn't reinvent the wheel in fusing Tim Allen's masculine brand of stand-up comedy with time-tested elements common to the format. So it was really inevitable, even for the 1990s' most popular family sitcom, to lose its luster at some point.

That point arrived in the 1997-98 season, when 'Home Improvement' went from a great comedy to an okay one. In having revisited the show completely and chronologically over the past three years' worth of DVD releases, it seems quite easy to establish the show's seventh year on television as the site of a downfall start that has in recent years become known as 'jumping the shark.'

Having devoted lots of attention to issues of marriage, parenting, workplace, and family over the course of the first six seasons' 150 episodes, 'Home Improvement' opts to manufacture inorganic developments for its core characters in Season 7. Focal point Tim Taylor has a midlife crisis that is identified in the premiere and only occasionally resurfaces as an explanation behind the accident-prone paterfamilias' questionable judgment calls. The three teenaged Taylor boys are each taken in new directions, despite little in their pasts to suggest such dramatic turns. Eldest son Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan) becomes a dense soccer jock who begins experimenting with drugs while beginning to consider colleges. Middle child Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, in his last full season) unleashes a sassy liberal conscience, which finds him abandoning organized religion and attacking his father's employer on environmental awareness. The strangest twist befalls youngest son Mark (Taran Noah Smith), who with the arrival of puberty, suddenly becomes a black-wearing Goth oddball with a quiet, sketchy new friend (Kaylan Romero).

Though the previous paragraph may make it sound like the 'Home Improvement' universe has been turned upside-down for Season 7, that's not entirely the case. The rest of the regular cast remains largely in its reliable functional roles. Tim's supportive wife Jill (Patricia Richardson) maintains a status quo as her college schoolwork stays peripheral and she gets to turn her psychology studies into some briefly-seen counseling. For the most part, Jill stays in the background of Season 7, saddled with B-storylines and jokes about aging and her horrible cooking. When she does get to claim some limelight, it's typically either as not always rational foil to Tim's big ideas or, in two of the season's weakest episodes, a desirable woman who distantly brushes against the ugly face of infidelity.

Reporting for duty as always is Al Borland (Richard Karn), Tim's ever-flannelled sidekick and friend. Season 7 sees him rebounding from an off-camera split with his orthodontist near-wife Ilene of previous seasons. Explored more substantially is Al's new home, for he rents an apartment to which Tim is the new landlord. This setting gives 'Tool Time' a few chances to leave its home base, which it does more frequently than before. Back again with the Binford crew is Heidi (Debbe Dunning), who in her fifth year on the show is upgraded to opening credits status and receives ever so slightly more to do than introduce the cable show's hosts and look pretty.

Rounding out the regulars is Wilson Wilson (Earl Hindman), the Taylors' learned but oh-so-quirky next-door neighbor. In addition to supplying his usual gifts (attentive ears, a curiously-shrouded face, and quote-supported wisdom), Wilson gets a recurring relative in his spacey 26-year-old niece Willow. In the role, Jefferson Airplane daughter China Kantner provides an untapped demographic, but her unique pacing and delivery don't fully mesh with her castmates and after 5 scattered episodes, she's dropped.

Recurring characters slow down in 'Home Improvement's seventh season. We get one opportunity to check in with the mothers of each Tim and Jill (TV veterans Bonnie Bartlett and Polly Holliday, respectively). Appearing only slightly more are Tim's brother Marty (William O'Leary), who lets one of his young twin daughters stay with the Taylors for an episode, the Harry's Hardware crowd (Blake Clark, Jim Labriola), and repeat 'Tool Time' guests K & B Construction (Mickey Jones, Casey Sander, and Gary McGurk) who turn up twice after two seasons away. Returning to fill the oft-recast perfunctory role of Jill's extrafamilial confidant is former child actress Tammy Lauren. She appears in two episodes, one less than Courtney Peldon, who continues to play Randy's girlfriend in a plot-serving way. In a glaring disregard for continuity, Brad gets engaged and nearly married, yet this serious new girlfriend (played by Maggie Lawson) is referenced but never seen again, a seemingly unnecessary way to either keep the guest star budget trim or to uphold continuity without recasting.

If the producers of 'Home Improvement' were trying to cut down on the guest star budget (perhaps to accommodate the $750,000 Tim Allen earned per episode this season), they still let some relatively big names slip into the fold for single-shot appearances. Renowned comedians Dan Aykroyd and Rodney Dangerfield turn up separately in a 'Soul Man' crossover and a Thanksgiving treat. Also, veteran, Oscar and Tony-winning actress Eileen Heckart gives her penultimate TV appearance, Tom Poston provides a third and final twist on his fun deadpan working man persona, and joining him in the standout Thanksgiving episode, Alex Rocco injects still more comic energy. 'Dukes of Hazzard' star Tom Wopat guest-stars twice, playing a man who tempts Jill to cheat on Tim. Finally, late golfer Payne Stewart and NBA all-star Grant Hill appear as themselves in separate virtual reality sports segments of 'Tool Time.'

'Home Improvement' wasn't quite a mess in Season 7; it just was noticeably weaker than it was in its more inspired previous seasons. Among the year's 25 episodes are some good ones and were this a brand new series, I might find more to like about it. Alas, the writers' ideas for reinventions (affairs, drugs, and an enduring Goth phase) don't ring true to the characters, the new directions taken all feel wrong, and the comedy just comes across as lazy. Those laughing heartily in the audience track were probably doing so more out of having warmed to this TV family than to feeling genuinely exposed to clever hilarity. With some distance, it's easy to see that's what I was doing, as a regular Tuesday night viewer who still enjoyed the show.

In issuing The Complete Seventh Season on DVD next week, Buena Vista Home Entertainment follows its established 3-disc release method for sitcoms and this one in particular. This set arrives faster than its predecessors, probably to enable a Christmastime debut for 'Home Improvement's final season (and perhaps a complete series collection). (UPDATE: That didn't happen; Season 8 will reach stores in time for Father's Day 2008.) It is again short on extras and, for the second time, disconcertingly erratic in the picture department though pleasantly low-priced. More on the shortcomings later, but first.. episode synopses. I've marked the season's seven best episodes with a star (). Why seven and not ten? Because I'd otherwise have to lower my standards and single out mediocre or forgettable episodes.

Disc 1

1. Quest for Fire (22:08) (Originally aired September 23, 1997)
The Taylors vacation at Lake Michigan, where Tim promises all a big surprise. Meanwhile, the boys adjust their personalities for the new season and 'Tool Time' launches a barbecue with rocket power.

2. Clash of the Taylors (22:07) (Originally aired September 30, 1997)
Randy's newspaper article on Binford's pollution practices angers Tim. Jill has difficulties with her first counseling patients, while Mark has a monosyllabic new friend named Ronny (Kaylan Romero).

3. Room at the Top (22:08) (Originally aired October 7, 1997)
Problems ensue when Jill changes her mind after asking the stubbled Tim to build her an office in the attic.

4. Pump You Up (22:07) (Originally aired October 14, 1997)
When a UNC scout takes interest in Brad's soccer abilities, he and Tim train vigorously. The boys from K & B Construction appear on 'Tool Time' for a salute to fitness. Also, Mark paints his fingernails black and Randy and Lauren try to dodge an annoying couple.

5. A Night to Dismember (22:09) (Originally aired October 28, 1997)
Halloween once again finds the series at its best, though this time darker than before, as Mark makes a macabre horror film starring the entire family plus friends. Tim and Al race jack-o-lanterns on 'Tool Time.'

6. The Niece (22:19) (Originally aired November 4, 1997)
The Taylors throw Wilson a surprise birthday party, complete with a vintage Studebaker and the presence of his 20-something niece Willow (China Kantner).

7. Jill's Passion (21:58) (Originally aired November 11, 1997)
Jill dreams about kissing Ian (Tom Wopat, 'The Dukes of Hazzard'), a man who asks her out at the gym.

8. Losing My Religion (22:07) (Originally aired November 18, 1997)
Randy volunteers at a hospice and decides he'll stop going to church. Dan Aykroyd guest stars as his 'Soul Man' character, Episcopalian minister Mike Weber, for a piscina installation on 'Tool Time.'

Disc 2

9. Thanksgiving (22:07) (Originally aired November 25, 1997)
The Taylors spend Thanksgiving in a box at the Lions game, where Tim blows out the power and the rest of the family meets Rodney Dangerfield.

10. The Dating Game (22:09) (Originally aired December 9, 1997)
To keep Al from always being around the house, Tim accompanies him to a singles bar, where he pretends he's not married.

11. Bright Christmas (22:25) (Originally aired December 16, 1997)
While Tim again competes in the neighborhood holiday lighting contest (this time trying to circumvent new regulations), Jill is worried that her mother (Polly Holliday) is dating too soon.

12. The Old College Try (22:06) (Originally aired January 6, 1998)
Tim teaches an auto class at a community college and suddenly prefers spending time with his students over his old friends.

13. An Older Woman (22:07) (Originally aired January 20, 1998)
Brad begins dating a college girl three years his senior (guest Maggie Lawson) and before you know it, they're engaged.

14. Tim 'The Landlord' Taylor (22:23) (Originally aired February 3, 1998)
After Al rents an apartment from Tim, quarrels, a mammoth lease, extensive background checks, and eviction threats ensue. Meanwhile, Brad and Randy inadvertently buy and wear the same shirt.

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15. Say Goodnight, Gracie (22:06) (Originally aired February 10, 1998)
After spending time with his niece, Tim wants to have a daughter of his own. This episode is replete with Disney references, most notably delivering nods to Allen and Thomas' iconic voice work.

16. What a Drag (21:43) (Originally aired February 24, 1998)
Tim discovers marijuana hidden under the gazebo. He and Jill find out which of their sons is using it. Naturally, the PSA that aired with this episode is not included, lessening its 'very special' nature.

17. Taking Jill for Granite (22:08) (Originally aired March 3, 1998)
Tim finally settles on a granite guy to makeover the kitchen counters, but his selection happens to be the guy that Jill dreamed about earlier in the season.

Disc 3

18. Futile Attraction (22:08) (Originally aired March 10, 1998)
Tim becomes obsessed with the unlikely idea that Al and Heidi have become romantically involved. At home, a sick Jill tests out mail order catalog products. On 'Tool Time', golf champ Payne Stewart plays virtual golf with Tim and Al.

19. Desperately Seeking Willow (22:02) (Originally aired March 17, 1998)
While staying with the Taylors for the weekend, Wilson's niece Willow goes missing and the Taylors go searching for her, leading Tim and Jill to a nightclub.

20. The Write Stuff (22:08) (Originally aired March 31, 1998)
Advised to take on extracurricular activities, Brad joins the school newspaper staff and his lowbrow article bumps Randy's from the front page. Needless to say, sibling rivalry ensues. The B storyline finds Tim and Jill getting audited.

21. The Son Also Mooches (22:21) (Originally aired April 21, 1998)
Tim objects when his brother Jeff (Thom Sharp) uses their mother to pay off a loan and fund his latest business plan. Jill is reluctant to admit she needs eyeglasses.

22. Believe It or Not (22:22) (Originally aired April 28, 1998)
Tim gossips and makes jokes about an alien encounter Wilson shares with him in confidence. In researching the subject, however, Tim becomes open-minded and experiences a nightmare in which he and Jill parody 'The X-Files.' Then-Pistons star Grant Hill appears on 'Tool Time' for some 'virtual' 1-on-1 with Al.

23. Rebel Without Night Driving Privileges (22:22) (Originally aired May 5, 1998)
Randy gets his driver's license, but when Tim and Jill won't let him drive at night, he objects and takes the car anyway. Tim gets bit by a rat on the 'Tool Time' that introduces the woman (Megan Cavanagh) that will figure in Al's life next season.

24. Tool-Thousand-One: A Space Odyssey (21:57) (Originally aired May 12, 1998)
Tim trains for a long-term outer space adventure when NASA needs a Binford employee to join them on a mission. Back home, Jill organizes family photos. Meanwhile, Mark changes to a preppy look and back to black, both times over an unseen girl.

25. From Top to Bottom (22:24) (Originally aired May 19, 1998)
Jill badmouths Tim on a televised talk show. Tim decides on a color for his latest hot rod, which is finally finished. Or is it?

VIDEO and AUDIO

As on Season 6, picture quality is mind-bafflingly erratic for a collection of big-budget, 10-year-old episodes. Some episodes look fine, as if a solid cable transmission of networks' broadcast feeds has gladly been upgraded to the higher resolution of DVD. Others look quite a bit worse, lacking sharpness and brilliance while possessing a soft, fuzzy, blurry, digital look not entirely unlike those Season 6 episodes afflicted by puzzling anomalies. On these episodes, shots look badly out of focus, there is flickering of elements, and moiré effect seems inescapable. As luck would have it, some of the season's better episodes are among the affected. Those with troublesome visuals include the season premiere, 'Room at the Top', 'Thanksgiving', 'Christmas', 'Landlord', 'Gracie', 'Write Stuff', 'Night Driving Privileges', 'Tool-Thousand One', and the season finale. Beyond using different sources, I can't fathom what might account for the picture problems and there's nothing in runtimes or content to suggest that some of the episodes originate from syndicated prints.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack provides less to complain about. Not that it gives reason for celebration. The two-channel mix is perfectly competent and English subtitles are thankfully provided in addition to closed captions.

BONUS FEATURES

I've graciously decided to spare you of another rant on the unfortunate shortage of bonus features. Once again, all we get is a blooper reel (7:53) for the season. It's an amusing collection of outtakes, though about half of them are culled from what was featured in the episodes' closing credits content.

I will mention that with all but the weakest season of 'Home Improvement' now on DVD, it's really sad that Buena Vista has hardly provided fans of the show with new or archived supplements. You'd think with all the time needed to transfer these 10-hour seasons to DVD, create subtitles, and test quality control, it'd be easy enough to locate and supply old promos, video press kits, etc.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The menus employ the exact same design that has been recycled from Season 3 on, with each disc's Main Menu depicting an animated blueprint. Illustrating how little thought went into their design is the fact that the slight retooling given to the theme tune for Season 7 is not realized in the excerpt that accompanies the selection screens.

Packaging matches Season 6's pared-down appearance, with a slipcover-housed, clear standard-sized keepcase holding the three discs. Removing all discs and straining one's eyes a bit, one notices, on the reverse side of the cover art, a note from Bruce Ferber on the season's new character directions and an episode list. A four-page booklet advertises Disney's upcoming Tim Allen DVDs, the sitcom's other season sets, and additional new and forthcoming Buena Vista TV DVD releases. Gracing the spine yet again is Tim. It's too bad the original plan, which I imagine was to feature a different Taylor or one of their three principal cast friends (Wilson, Al, and Heidi) on the 8 seasons' spines, has long been abandoned.

Episodes are once again divided into 4-5 appropriate chapter stops. Disc 1 opens with previews for The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition, Underdog, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, and Meet the Robinsons. The first page of the Sneak Peeks menu houses additional promos for Wild Hogs, Disney Blu-ray Disc, High School Musical: The Concert - Extreme Access Pass, and ABC Family.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As is common for TV shows that don't get cancelled for ratings or cost considerations, 'Home Improvement' began to slip up after several years of excellence. The seventh and penultimate season of this family sitcom definitely registers as its weakest yet, and things would only worsen from here.

Those who have already acquired Seasons 1-6 might consider it worthwhile to go ahead and complete the collection with this and the forthcoming final release. The low list price ensures you'll pay less per episode than you would to download today's shorter, lesser comedies for viewing on a tiny video iPod. Picture quality is strangely erratic and not often as good as it should be, but sound is adequate, and the bloopers offer a bit of diverting unaired material. Plus, there are a handful of memorable, entertaining episodes.

But with all the exciting DVDs coming out this week and the weeks ahead -- many of them, TV season sets -- this Complete Seventh Season shouldn't be a high priority for most, and shouldn't even be considered without already owning the plenty superior first six seasons. Still, those wanting to see the show's final season come to DVD in a timely fashion and with the prospect of long-overdue substantial new bonuses are encouraged to pick up this affordable set sometime soon.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy Complete Series Collection

Home Improvement on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3 • Season 4 • Season 5 • Season 6 • Season 7 • Season 8 (Preorder)

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Home Improvement Complete Series Dvd Amazon

Reviewed August 1, 2007.