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Home Improvement - The Complete Seventh Season


TITLE: HOME IMPROVEMENT - THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 7, 2007 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color/1997-1998
MSRP: $24.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 25
Running Time: 554 minutes
Running Time of Special Features: approx. 8 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English subtitles; Closed-Captioned.
Special Features: Blooper Reel


Introduction:

It’s time to give another grunt for another season of America’s favorite toolman on DVD! That’s right, Tim the Toolman Taylor in the Complete Seventh Season of Home Improvement!

The seventh season is where you know it is true--the boys really ARE growing up, and this is that season where Mark becomes, we’ll just say very goth. But he isn’t the only one growing up... another kid is getting his driver’s license and another one is getting high. And Tim might be getting high too--that is, he might be going into space. You get that and much more in the seventh season of Home Improvement!


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The season begins with “Quest for Fire,” where Brad and Randy have to face the future in their respective romantic relationships and Mark starts to become just plain weird. Jill asks Tim to build her an office in the attack in “Room at the Top,” but how long will Tim’s dream of actually being asked to build something last? It’s another Taylor family Halloween in “A Night to Dismember,” what will happen this time? Jill meets a man at the YMCA that wants her in “Jill’s Passion,” so how will Tim handle this? Dan Ackroyd crosses over from his role in the series Soul Man (anybody actually remember that show?) in “Losing My Religion,” where Randy begins to question Christianity and whether or not it is the right religion for him.

Alex Rocco, Tom Poston, and Rodney Dangerfield all guest star in “Thanksgiving,” where Tim gets to see the master electrical controls at a Thanksgiving day football game--good idea? Jill’s mother is in town (and she’s also dating now after the death of Jill’s father) in “Bright Christmas.” Tim becomes Tim “The Professor” Taylor when he teaches a community college course in “The Old College Try.” Maggie Lawson plays Brad’s fiance (you read that right) in “An Older Woman,” unless Tim and Jill can convince Brad to not get married. Tim wants another child after babysitting his niece in “Say Goodnight, Gracie.” Tim breaks the swing and Al finds some marijuana in “What a Drag,” so just who does it belong to?

Randy’s hard-hitting journalism is going up against Brad’s tabloid journalism in “The Write Stuff,” where both write for the school newspaper. Grant Hill guest stars in “Believe it or Not,” where Wilson tells Tim that he saw an alien... in confidence. Ken Bowersox guest stars in “Tool-Thousand-One: A Space Odyssey,” where Tim may just be going to infinity and beyond, but will trouble at home keep him grounded? The season ends with “From Top to Bottom,” where Jill goes on a talk show and says some things that Tim would rather leave unsaid. Joan Lunden guest stars.


Packaging:

The cheapened DVD case strikes again! I can’t say I’m surprised though, and I assume we’ll see it again for the final season. We have just the plastic Amaray case that holds three discs, with a picture of the Taylor family sitting inside of a car. And there is an outer cardboard sleeve with the exact same artwork. There is nothing at all creative about the packaging, which is a major shift from the earlier seasons. Who remembers that cool toolbox they used for the first season? And once again, they have overlapping discs, which means you have to remove Disc 2 to get Disc 3 out--so inconvenient. But there is more inconvenience in that, once again, the episode listing can be found on the side of the case holding Discs 2 and 3, so you have to remove both of those discs to see what is on any of the discs.

The discs themselves have simple artwork, with Tim and Jill on Disc 1, the kids on Disc 2, and Al on Disc 3. Disc 1 contains episodes 1-8, Disc 2 contains episodes 9-17, and Disc 3 contains episodes 18-25, as well as the bloopers. And if you’re saying that is all exactly the same as season 6, that is because it is.


Menu Design and Navigation:

I could copy and paste this directly from the past few seasons, but I won’t. The main menu has the same blueprint background. The theme music still plays in the background. You have options of Play All, Episode Selection, Setup, Bonus Features (only on Disc 3), and Sneak Peeks (only on Disc 1). When you select what you want, you get what you want. Setup, as it has always done, allows you to turn on subtitles and gives you information on how to register your DVDs. I’m not going to complain about how these menus have been similar. In fact, I think it is a positive thing, because it shows consistency, plus the menus are generally pretty nice. There aren’t any scene selection menus, but... you guessed it... chapters are placed in all of the appropriate places.


Video and Audio Quality:

Just like the previous set, Buena Vista has again screwed us on the video and audio quality. I can’t understand why the earlier seasons seemed to be fine, even excellent to some extent, yet in season six and seven we get poor quality and some serious video compression issues. Fortunately, the video compression issues aren’t quite as widespread on this set (it was more than half of the episodes last time; this time it appears to be appoximately five episodes), but this is still a legitimate complaint. But the video quality even on the remaining episodes leaves a lot to be desired. And as far as the audio quality, while there are no major complaints, it doesn’t sound crystal clear like I would expect it to. Still, it seems to be perfectly acceptable. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Surround Sound with closed captioning and English subtitles available.

The episodes SEEM to be unedited--but you never know. The previous set had some edited episodes sneak in, and some fans weren’t too happy. They weren’t heavily edited (only about 10 seconds or so removed), but still, fans deserve to have unedited episodes. Most episodes run around 22:10, but some are a bit longer and some are a bit shorter. The episode that somewhat concerns me is "What a Drag," which runs 21:45. I only vaguely remember watching the episode when it originally aired and am wondering if maybe there was a PSA related to the episode that may have aired after it or something, because if so, that might account for the shorter episode run time.

Disc 1:
1. Quest for Fire (22:10)
2. Clash of the Taylors (22:09)
3. Room at the Top (22:09)
4. Pump You Up (22:08)
5. A Night to Dismember (22:10)
6. The Niece (22:20)
7. Jill’s Passion (22:00)
8. Losing My Religion (22:08)

Disc 2:
9. Thanksgiving (22:09)
10. The Dating Game (22:10)
11. Bright Christmas (22:26)
12. The Old College Try (22:07)
13. The Older Woman (22:09)
14. Time “The Landlord” Taylor (22:25)
15. Say Goodnight, Gracie (22:08)
16. What a Drag (21:45)
17. Taking Jill for Granite (22:09)

Disc 3:
18. Futile Attraction (22:10)
19. Desperately Seeking Willow (22:04)
20. The Write Stuff (22:10)
21. The Son Also Mooches (22:23)
22. Believe it or Not (22:24)
23. Rebel WIthout Privileges (22:24)
24. Tool-Thousand-One: A Space Odyssey (21:59)
25. From Top To Bottom (22:26)


Special Features:

Umm, there is a blooper reel (7:54). What else can I say about it? They haven’t been very creative on these special features at all on these sets, but then again, at least we have something. Fortunately, these all appear to be never-before-seen bloopers as opposed to ones that air during the closing credits (although by this season, there weren’t any closing credit bloopers anyway, since this was around the time that ABC began to eliminate shows having their own closing credits and instead produce generic credits to air more commercials... so on the DVDs, we have just regular closing credits with closing music).


Final Comments:

I was a little too generous when reviewing the sixth season set, but there are some issues with these past two cheapened sets that Buena Vista has given us. In fact, to be quite honest, if it weren’t for the different episodes, I could have copied and pasted the entire season six review here, because nothing has changed. There is no excuse for the poor video quality on these recent sets! The first five seasons looked great, especially considering the age of the show, but now we get these weird compression issues and just generally poor quality. Why? Who knows. But, if you like the show, as I do, you’ll find yourself enjoying the episodes on the set enough to get past these issues (or so I hope) and the low MSRP for the set makes it attractive (but make no mistake, a low MSRP is no excuse for the video quality). We only have one more season to go and the series is finished on DVD--hopefully we’ll get a good one next time and maybe have some more bonus features!

Video Clips:

Clip #1 - Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson helps Tim unravel the meaning of life, the universe.everything - oh, and marital problems.
Macromedia Flash High Bandwidth Link
Macromedia Flash Low Bandwidth Link

Clip #2 - Al's House
Al's house gets a "Tool Time" makeover.
Macromedia Flash High Bandwidth Link
Macromedia Flash Low Bandwidth Link

Clip #3 - Randy's article
Tim argues with an idealistic Randy.
Macromedia Flash High Bandwidth Link
Macromedia Flash Low Bandwidth Link

Clip #4 - Bonus Clip
Tim Allen Bloopers
Macromedia Flash High Bandwidth Link
Macromedia Flash Low Bandwidth Link

Clip #5 - Bonus Clip
Patricia Richardson Bloopers
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Macromedia Flash Low Bandwidth Link


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

Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 07/26/07

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000QFCDAY/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=206006


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