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Home Improvement - The Complete Third Season


TITLE: HOME IMPROVEMENT - THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 611 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 5 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English subtitles; closed-captioned
Special Features: Tim's Tool Corral (hosted by Debbe Dunning)


Introduction:

Does everybody know what time it is? It is time to get The Complete Third Season of Home Improvement on DVD! That's right, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is proud to present the 3 disc DVD set of one of Tim the Toolman Taylor!

I always liked every season of Home Improvement, but the third season is one of the better ones for certain. The first two seasons were a little different from the rest, but by the third season, we had the new Tool Girl, Heidi (played by Debbe Dunning), we had Al's first real girlfriend on the show, Ilene, and we have a broader spectrum of stories, which is a change from the usual Tim and Jill plots from the first two seasons. One unique aspect about the third season (and this is one that I didn't realize on my own, but only realized it by reading an introduction within the DVD set) is that it was the first season to institute a system of rotating the themes of the episodes… for example, one week would be about parenting, the next week about Tim and Jill's relationship, the week after that would be about the kids. The idea behind this formula is that it would provide all audience members with something that they want to see--and that worked well.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The third season opens with "Maybe, Baby," where Tim and Jill contemplate having another child. This episode also marks the first appearance as Debbe Dunning as Heidi (though this is not Debbe Dunning's first appearance on the show itself). Isiah Thomas makes a special guest appearance in "Aisle See You in My Dreams," which is the episode in which Al meets his first real love interest on the show, Ilene. Tim's boss (and friend) Mr. Binford dies in "Arrivederci, Binford." Jill decides to play an evil trick on Tim (and make him believe that there is a woman named Rose that is stalking him) in "Crazy for You." Tim has to find a picture of Jill to enlarge for a library fundraiser when he decides to use her driver's license photo in "Blow Up." Tim's annual Christmas display competition with a neighbor happens once again in "'Twas the Blight Before Christmas." Ilene has dreams about Tim that are making Al jealous in "Dream On." John Elway, Evander Holyfield, and Jimmy Carter (yes, the former president of the United States) all make guest appearances when Tim and Jill find each other on opposite sides when building a Habitat for Humanity home in "The Eve of Construction." Tim gets to learn what it is like to be the assistant to Al when Al becomes the host of a cooking show in "Too Many Cooks." Randy finds a woman that is nearly three times his age on an online message board in "Reality Bytes." Finally, the season ends with Bob Vila making another appearance on the show, and wants to challenge Tim to another race (remember how that went LAST time??), except this time in a hot rod, in "The Great Race II."


Packaging:

They are always doing something creative with these Home Improvement sets. This one is no exception, even if it is a little less creative. Basically on the cover, we the boys, and then a big hole in the wall, with Tim standing there with a hammer in his hand. If you pull out the inner case, you can see that there actually is a hole there on the box. Obviously, this isn't as creative as the toolbox used for the first season (I would have personally liked to see toolboxes for EVERY season), but it still a creative effort.

Inside the outer box, we have the digipak, which is the same as most other Buena Vista digipaks. There are three panels, with the first panel containing the episode list (and disc where the episode can be found), the second panel containing Discs 1 and 2, and the third panel containing Disc 3. Discs 1 and 2 overlap once again, unfortunately, but this isn't a serious matter. On the back of the third panel, there is a season introduction from Elliot Shoenman, who joined the series as an executive producer in the third season.

The disc artwork is pretty simple, with Tim on Disc 1, Jill on Disc 2, and the boys on Disc 3. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-17, and Disc 3 contains episodes 18-25.


Home Improvement Main Menu Home Improvement Episode Selection Menu

Menu Design and Navigation:

Okay, we have a complete overhaul of the menus this season! The first two seasons had nearly identical menus, but this time, they are much different—and I'll add to that, improved quite a bit. This season, we have a menu screen (with the theme song playing in the background) that is like a blueprint, and on the main menu, there are options for Play All, Bonus Feature (Disc 3 only), Episode Selection, Set Up, and Sneak Peeks (Disc 1 only). All of these are pretty much self-explanatory, but I should point out that the episode selection menus are GREATLY improved this time. The first two seasons had this small yellow font that was barely even readable; this time, episode titles are in blue and very readable. This is a great improvement.

There is no scene selection menu, but there are chapters, and if you love chapters, you will really love this set. In my opinion, it really overdoes the chapters. There are 8 chapters placed in each episode, with chapters placed not only where commercial breaks would be placed, but in some instances in the middle of scenes.


Video and Audio Quality:

For some reason, the video and audio quality never disappoints me on these sets. Needless to say, this is no exception. The video quality is almost flawless and perfectly clear, although it could have been a little sharper. The audio quality (presented in Dolby Digital Stereo) is superb. There are virtually no audio flaws whatsoever, not even a hint the typical DVD problem of low volume. Quality control must be excellent at Buena Vista for these Home Improvement DVDs. For the hearing-impaired, we have closed-captioning as well as English subtitles. And don't worry about edited episodes—with each one running at approximately 23:30, this is no concern with this set.


Special Features:

This is extremely, extremely disappointing! When I heard that this set would include a Tim's Tool Corral featurette hosted by Debbe Dunning (located on Disc 3), I had high expectations… but I was let down! This is nothing more than a bunch of clips from the show presented in an ALMOST creative way. Basically, all this is, is just a menu of Tim's garage, and when you use the remote to select a tool in the garage that has something to do with a mishap in an episode in the third season, that clip plays. Right before it plays, we get little bits of commentary by Debbe Dunning like "oh, nice choice!" or if there is no clip associated with that tool, she says something like "oh, sorry!" I'm glad to see that Debbe Dunning was involved with the set, but this was just a complete waste of resources here! They could’ve (and should’ve) done something better with her, like use her for commentary or interviews. And for that matter, why can't we use other cast members to do commentary or interviews? It isn't as if they are busy doing anything, except Richard Karn, and surely Family Feud doesn't keep him too busy to do things like this. The first season had some commentaries, this needs some too!

There are also some "Sneak Peeks" on Disc 1, for "The Shaggy Dog," "TV On DVD," "Scrubs Third Season," "Home Improvement Fourth Season" (yes, it is coming soon!), "Alias Fourth Season," "Golden Girls Third Season," and an "According to Jim ABC promo."


Final Comments:

Here we are at the third season already, and the fourth is on the way. It is nice to see that the pacing for this show is going so well, and hopefully, the entire series will make it onto DVD within the next two years. These DVD sets are great besides the complete lack of good special features. The quality of the video and audio is excellent, and of course, you are getting episodes that are unedited (which means they are at least a minute and a half longer than what you see on TBS, WGN, and on local stations). Hopefully, Buena Vista is listening and will make this great set even greater next time, and give us special features! But for now, buy this DVD set, and if you haven't picked up the first two yet, I'd suggest you pick up those as well for more power!


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 5/5
Special Features: 1/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 11/07/05

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000AJJNIQ/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20


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