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Home Improvement - The Complete Eighth Season


TITLE: HOME IMPROVEMENT - THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON


Info:

DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Color/1998-1999
MSRP: $23.99
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 28
Running Time: 621 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: English; English subtitles; Closed-Captioned.
Special Features: Blooper Reel and The Home Improvement User’s Guide


Introduction:

Does everybody know what time it is? It is time for the final season of Home Improvement on DVD! That’s right, the final season of the 90s hit sitcom finally lands on DVD, completing the series and giving fans the chance to finally own every single episode!

The final season takes us through many changes in the series. Starting at the beginning of the season, Randy gets the news that he’ll have the opportunity to spend a year in Costa Rica... which means that he basically leaves the series, drawing the Taylor family down to just four members. The family isn’t going to get any larger either, as Jill has a hysterectomy later in the season. And the series ends with Tim’s series and livelihood coming to an end... how will he cope without Tool Time?


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The season begins with “Whitewater,” where Jill plans a birthday for Tim that he’d prefer to forget (but won’t be able to). The Taylor clan shrinks by one as Randy discovers he is going to be going to Costa Rica for the year in “Adios.” Brad can choose to play soccer in Europe or go to college in “Taylor Got Game.” Al has a new girlfriend, and she is loaded (with money) in “Al’s Fair Lady.” It is another Taylor family Halloween in “Bewitched.”

Morgan Fairchild guest stars in “Mr. Likeable.” Randy comes home for Christmas (and makes his final appearance on the series) in “Home for the Holidays,” but finds that things just aren’t the same. Brad gets his first car, but it doesn’t last long in “Chop Shop ‘Til You Drop.” Leeza Gibbons, Jay Leno, Michael Eisner, and even Oprah guest star in “Home Alone.”

Tim asks Mark to create a video about his hot rod in “Mark’s Big Break,” but will Tim like it? Would Tim cheat on Jill? Find out in “Young at Heart.” Jill has an emergency hysterectomy in the two-part episode “Love’s Labor Lost.” Mark tapes Jill making fun of one of her professors in “Loose Lips and Freudian Slips,” which is no big deal, that is until he sees the video.

The series begins to wind down in “Trouble-a-Bruin,” where Tim’s boss starts a new rule on Tool Time saying that only Binford products are to be used on the show. Al decides he is going to marry Trudy, but how will his mom handle it? Find out in “Dead Weight.” The series ends with the three-part episode “Long and Winding Road,” where many changes occur in the Taylor family, and Tim’s job. But that isn’t quite the last episode... that distinction goes to “Home Improvement: Backstage Pass,” where the cast looks back at the series, and we finally get to see Wilson’s face!


Packaging:

This season is packaged in an Amaray case, with a cardboard sleeve on the outside. The cover art has the entire family (including Randy, who was barely even in this season). There is nothing at all creative about this packaging, as was the case in the earlier seasons. Inside, we have a listing of all of the episodes and a note from Bruce Ferber, executive producer from this season. Unfortunately, you have to remove the discs--all of them--to see any of this. Speaking of the discs, we have FOUR discs this time. All of the previous sets have had three discs, so we have an extra one this time (which, as you’ll discover, is MUCH better). Disc 1 contains seven episodes, Disc 2 contains eight episodes, Disc 3 contains eight episodes, and Disc 4 contains five episodes, as well as the bonus features.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus on this set are no different than the previous sets. The main menu on each disc gives you options of Play All, Episode Selection, Setup, and Bonus Features (on Disc 4). Selecting Play All will play all of the episodes. Episode Selection will allow you to select an episode. There are no scene selection menus, but there are chapters throughout each episode. Setup allows you to turn on English subtitles and tells you how to register your DVD set. And Bonus Features lets you select the bonus features, as one would expect.


Video and Audio Quality:

Finally, I can once again say that the video and audio quality on this set is fine! The first few seasons were pretty good, and then they somehow slacked off around season five and started doing some very nasty compression with the episodes. But this time, they have gone with four discs (instead of three as was previously the case) and there appear to be no significant video or audio quality issues! English subtitles are available for those that require those. Most of the runtimes appear to be normal, running a little over 22 minutes. Runtimes for each episode are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. Whitewater (22:15)
2. Adios (22:10)
3. All in the Family (22:27)
4. Taylor Got Game (22:15)
5. Al’s Fair Lady (22:30)
6. Bewitched (22:12)
7. Not-So-Great Scott (22:10)

Disc 2:
8. Tim’s First Car (22:29)
9. Mr. Likeable (22:26)
10. Thanks, But No Thanks (22:27)
11. Home for the Holidays (22:29)
12. Ploys for Tots (22:12)
13. Chop Shop ‘Til You Drop (22:28)
15. Knee Deep (22:06)

Disc 3:
16. Mark’s Big Break (22:10)
17. Young at Heart (22:27)
18. Love’s Labor Lost, Part 1 (22:04)
19. Love’s Labor Lost, Part 2 (22:16)
20. Neighbors (22:28)
21. Hardware Habit to Break (22:29)
22. Loose Lips and Freudian Slips (22:28)
23. Trouble-a-Bruin (22:12)

Disc 4:
24. Dead Weight (22:25)
25. The Long and Winding Road, Part 1 (22:24)
26. The Long and Winding Road, Part 2 (21:53)
27. The Long and Winding Road, Part 3 (22:22)
28. Home Improvement: Backstage Pass (19:59)


Special Features:

As has been the case with the previous releases, we have Bloopers (6:07) on the set. These are fun to watch, and there are more than just the usual ones that are tacked on to the end of the episodes. But another nice special feature that was included is “The Home Improvement User’s Guide” (42:47), which was aired on ABC in 2002 and was a reunion special remembering the series, with new footage from Tim Allen and Richard Karn. I’m glad Buena Vista didn’t overlook this. I would have liked to have seen more involvement from the cast on some special features, but it appears that wasn’t meant to be.


Final Comments:

After a few questionable releases, it is nice to see a release that actually turned out decent. The biggest problem with past releases was the compression issue. Too many episodes were being packed on discs, and the video quality suffered, greatly. But this time, everything looks fine and every episode seems to be fully intact. Even though there really weren’t any special features created particularly for this set, the ones that are here are very nice to see. Now that every episode has been released, perhaps Buena Vista should release a set containing every episode next. Only time will tell. But for now, pick up this set, because it is well worth it! Video Clips:

Film: Table Tales

Buena Vista Flash High FLS

Film: Proposal

Buena Vista Flash High FLS

Bonus: Recap

Buena Vista Flash High FLS

Bonus: Final Curtain Call

Buena Vista Flash High FLS

Bonus: Bloopers

Buena Vista Flash High FLS


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

Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 06/04/08

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

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0015XWU9A/ref=nosim/happydaysonline4-20

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

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=226482


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