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Home Improvement - The 20th Anniversary Complete Collection


TITLE: HOME IMPROVEMENT - THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY COMPLETE COLLECTION


Info:

Release Date: May 10, 2011 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color / 1991-1999
MSRP: $129.99
Packaging: Digipak (seasons 1-5) and Viva-Pack (seasons 6-8) in collectable toolbox
Number of Discs: 25
Number of Episodes: 204
Running Time: 4697 minutes
Running Time of Features: approx. 130 minutes
Audio: English
Subtitles and Captioning: Closed-Captioned; English Subtitles
Special Features: Commentaries (three episodes), "Loose Screws" featurettes; "Tim's Tool Coral" featurette; never-before-seen bloopers; 2002 reunion special


Introduction:

Does everybody know what time it is? It's TOOL TIME! That's right, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is proud to present a collection of every episode of the series Home Improvement just in time for the 20th anniversary in Home Improvement - The 20th Anniversary Complete Collection! The 25 disc set contains all 204 episodes of the hit series that helped make ABC what it was in the 90s, along with a few bonuses.

Home Improvement began on September 17, 1991, and became one of ABC's biggest hits and one of the biggest hit series of the entire decade of the 90s. It was a simple family sitcom from then stand-up comedian Tim Allen, who was relatively new to the world of acting at the time, about a father, Tim Taylor (Allen) and his wife Jill (Patricia Richardson) raising three boys in suburban Detroit. But what made Home Improvement different from other family sitcoms is that Tim Taylor's job was that of a host of a cable TV show about home improvement, a job which he always had big ideas about but was fairly incompetent to handle (thus providing much of the comedy of the series). The series that Tim hosted was his trust assistant (and best friend) Al Borland (Richard Karn), who always seemed to know what he was doing, but always seemed to suffer from the consequences of Tim's actions.

It wasn't just a show about Tim's job, though. There was also an emphasis on family life, family drama, raising three growing sons, relations with others, and an ever-going theme of the battle-of-the-sexes. The Taylor family always dealt with issues big and small, including dealing with topics such as drug use, cancer scares, vasectomies, hysterectomies, relationships, and more throughout all eight seasons. Eldest son Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan) was always the leader of the pack, an aspiring soccer player who always tries to do the right thing, but admittedly falls short often. Middle son Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) who was the smart and savvy one, but his smarts often tended to cause trouble in the family (and at times a feeling of being disconnected from his sometimes imbecilic father). And then there was youngest son Mark (Taran Noah Smith), a character that they never could quite come up with an identity for and went through so many changes (most infamously his goth phase in season seven) throughout the series. And of course, who can forget their constant source of help, a wise neighbor that you never could actually see on screen, Wilson Wilson (Earl Hindman), always there to provide wisdom to anybody in the family needing it--even if Tim never fully understood his wisdom.

The series appealed to an entire generation of people, and has had an incredibly legacy. It turned Tim Allen from a man who was constantly struggling to keep his life in one piece to an actor and comedian that everybody loves and recognizes to this day. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (who was affectionately referred to as JTT back "in the day") was a hot property among pre-teens and young teenagers back in that day, reaching heartthrob status that can almost be compared to the status that Justin Bieber holds these days. And for an entire generation of people who grew up with the series, it appealed to their hearts and still maintains a relatively healthy status in reruns today (although it has cooled off recently) and is still one of the quintessential sitcoms of the 90s. So with no further adieu, let's get going about Tim the Toolman Taylor!


Episodes:

There are over 200 episodes on the set, so it is impossible to talk about every single one in this review, so I'm just going to pick my fifteen favorite episodes (disclaimer: "favorites" is always a subjective term) of the series, and you can read each of our previously reviewed season sets to get more details about the episodes contained on each season, along with runtimes for the episodes. These episodes are in addition to the annual classic episodes for Christmas and Halloween, of course.

The first season, of course, includes the "Pilot" episode where Tim tries to fix the dishwasher after Jill explicitly tells him not to do so--and the consequences are much bigger than the electrical shock that he gets from screwing up. In the second season, we have "The Great Race," where Tim decides to enter into a lawn-mowing race with Bob Vila... and it is a race to the end, for sure. In the third season, we get to see Tim grieve the loss of his boss in "Arrivederci, Binford." We also get to see Jimmy Carter make a special guest appearance when Tim gets involved in building a Habitat for Humanity home in "The Eve of Construction." And Al makes it big as the host of his own cooking show--with assistant Tim--in "Too Many Cooks." In the fourth season, Al becomes a partner in Harry's hardware store in "Borland Ambition." Tim accidentally blows up a house (that happens every day, right?) in "A House Divided."

In the fifth season, Tim gets an honorary PhD, while Jill struggles to earn a real one, in "Doctor in the House." It's a snip-snip here and a snip-snip there in "The Vasectomy One." In "The Longest Day," the family deals with a real crisis as it is feared that Randy may have cancer. In the sixth season, Brad gets his driver's license and Jill is afraid to let him go out at night (and her fears aren't exactly too out-of-line) in "My Son, the Driver." In the seventh season, Randy begins to question Christianity after an elderly friend dies in "Losing My Religion." Wilson tells Tim that he saw an alien in "Believe it or Not," a secret that Tim won't be able to keep. Tim might be going into space, that is, if he can look beyond Mark's cries for help in "Tool-Thousand-One: A Space Odyssey." Finally, in the eighth season, we have the three-part final episode, "The Long and Winding Road," where big changes are afoot for the family.

You can check each season for individual runtimes for seasons four through eight, but since we didn't do runtimes for each episode for the first three seasons, we have them here. Mostly, the episodes are unedited, but there was reportedly a minor scene cut out from one of the episodes when one of the season sets was released (unfortunately, I can't recall which season that episode was from and despite doing some searching online, I can't pinpoint the episode). Runtimes are as follows:

Season 1:

Disc 1:
1. Pilot (23:56)
2. Mow Better Blues (23:44)
3. Off Sides (23:44)
4. Satellite On A Hot Tim's Roof (23:40)
5. Wild Kingdom (23:46)
6. Adventures In Find Dining (23:43)
7. Nothing More Than Feelings (23:40)
8. Flying Sauces (23:43)

Disc 2:
9. Bubble, Bubble, Toil And Trouble (23:40)
10. Reach Out And Teach Someone (23:41)
11. Look Who's Not Talking (23:42)
12. Yule Better Watch Out (23:40)
13. Up Your Alley (23:41)
14. For Whom The Belch Tolls (23:43)
15. Forever Jung (23:40)
16. Jill's Birthday (23:41)

Disc 3:
17. What About Bob? (23:40)
18. Baby, It's Cold Outside (23:11)
19. Unchained Malady (23:42)
20. Birds Of A Feather Flock To Taylor (23:12)
21. A Battle Of Wheels (23:30)
22. Luck Be A Taylor Tonight (23:40)
23. Al's Fair In Love And War (23:41)
24. Stereo-Typical (23:43)

Season 2:

Disc 1:
1. Read My Hips (23:32)
2. Rites & Wrongs Of Passage (23:31)
3. Overactive Glance (23:33)
4. Groin Pains (23:33)
5. Heavy Meddle (23:32)
6. The Haunting Of Taylor House (23:33)
7. Roomie for Improvement (23:36)
8. May the Best Man Win (23:33)

Disc 2:
9. Where There's A Will, There's A Way (23:31)
10. Let's Did Lunch (23:33)
11. Abandoned Family (23:32)
12. I'm Scheming of a White Christmas (23:35)
13. Bell Bottom Blues (23:35)
14. Howards End (23:29)
15. Love Is A Many Splintered Thing (23:31)
16. Dances with Tools (23:34)
17. You're Driving Me Crazy, You're Driving Me Nuts (23:33)

Disc 3:
18. Bye, Bye, Birdie (23:34)
19. Karate Or Not, Here I Come (23:36)
20. Shooting Three To Make Tutu (23:33)
21. Much Ado About Nana (23:31)
22. Ex Marks The Spot (23:33)
23. To Build Or Not To Build (23:33)
24. Birth Of A Hot Rod (23:32)
25. The Great Race (23:32)

Season 3:

Disc 1:
1. Maybe, Baby (23:32)
2. Aisle See You In My Dreams (23:31)
3. This Joke's For You (23:32)
4. A Sew, Sew Evening (23:31)
5. Arrivederci, Binford (22:51)
6. Crazy For You (23:35)
7. Blow-Up (23:31)
8. Be True To Your Tool (23:34)

Disc 2:
9. Dollars And Sense (23:32)
10. Frozen Moments (23:35)
11. Feud For Thought (23:33)
12. Twas The Blight Before Christmas (23:36)
13. Slip Sleddin' Away (23:33)
14. Dream On (23:36)
15. Reel Men (23:33)
16. The Colonel (23:35)
17. Room For Change (23:35)

Disc 3:
18. Eve Of Construction (23:33)
19. Too Many Cooks (23:34)
20. It Was The Best Of Tims, It Was The Worts Of Tims (23:05)
21. Fifth Anniversary (23:15)
22. Swing Time (23:35)
23. What You See Is What You Get (23:34)
24. Reality Bytes (23:34)
25. The Great Race II (23:19)


Packaging:

The outer packaging on the set is very nicely done, and one of the most creative packages I've seen for a complete series set, with the package being shaped like a big red toolbox. The box is heavy cardboard with a metal hinge and handle, and the only artwork on it is the series logo and the words "The 20th Anniversary Complete Collection." There is a thin cardboard wraparound that is mostly designed for store shelves, but it is nothing really worth mentioning. The toolbox also comes with a special "Binford all-in-one tool," which is basically just a tape measure that has a leveler, a notepad, and a pen included. It's kind of cute, but very cheap, of course (not up to Binford standards, I'd say!). Inside the toolbox, we have the eight season sets... in the exact same packages that they originally came in. Unfortunately, this means that the first five seasons have the older digipak style packaging while the last three have the newer Viva cases. Check each of our individual season sets for detailed information about each of these packages.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on all of the discs are the same as the previous sets; you can check each of our previous reviews for a description of the menus.


Video and Audio Quality:

The episodes on the set are the same as they were on the previous releases, so the video and audio quality is exactly the same as the previous sets. Seasons five, six, and seven seem to have some sort of annoying compression issue with the video and audio, but other than that, all of the seasons look great, and audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo Sound. All of the episodes are closed-captioned, and contain English subtitles.


Special Features:

The special features included on this set are all the same as the previous sets. We'll briefly summarize what can be found on each of the sets here.

Season 1:
Audio Commentaries - Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean provide commentaries for the episodes "Pilot," "Nothing More Than Feelings," and "Forever Jung"
"Loose Screws" featurette (approx. 16 min.) - funny moments from the first season

Season 2:
"Loose Screws: Part 2" featurette (approx. 25 min.) - funny moments from the second season

Season 3:
"Tim's Tool Coral" featurette - a really lame featurette where you select tools from Tim's garage and get a short video clip associated with that tool (one of the worst special features I've ever seen on any DVD set ever, honestly)

Season 4:
Additional Never-Before-Seen Bloopers (approx. 7 min.) - bloopers from the season that didn't make the cut to the blooper reel at the end of the episodes

Season 5:
Additional Never-Before-Seen Bloopers (approx. 10 min.) - bloopers from the season that didn't make the cut to the blooper reel at the end of the episodes

Season 6:
Additional Never-Before-Seen Bloopers (approx. 6 min.) - bloopers from the season that didn't make the cut to the blooper reel at the end of the episodes

Season 7:
Additional Never-Before-Seen Bloopers (approx. 8 min.) - bloopers from the season that didn't make the cut to the blooper reel at the end of the episodes

Season 8:
Additional Never-Before-Seen Bloopers (approx. 6 min.) - bloopers from the season that didn't make the cut to the blooper reel at the end of the episodes
"The Home Improvement User's Guide" (approx. 43 min.) - the special that ABC aired in 2002 remembering the series, with new footage from Tim Allen and Richard Karn


Final Comments:

I love this series, and it is so much fun to watch it on DVD, particularly as it has somewhat slowed down in syndication in recent years. It really takes me back to the 90s and positive memories of watching the series, and each time I watch each episode, I find new laughs in each and every one. It seems that the series stays fresh over time. The question that remains, though, is whether or not it is worth buying this complete series set. If you don't already own the season sets on DVD, or only own a few, you'll definitely want to pick up this set. But if you already have the season sets, there really isn't anything special with this set aside from the toolbox packaging and the Binford all-in-one tool, which is a little disappointing in my opinion. They should have at least included a bonus disc of special features. It also would have been nice if they had standardized the packaging for this set. Still, none of this detracts from the fact that it is a nice set, but it isn't exactly worth double-dipping on. In any case, I'd give this set a few of Tim's grunts just for the fun factor that the packaging creates.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/11/11

To purchase the DVD, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B004M3M5F4/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=283911


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