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Home Improvement - The Complete Fourth Season



DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24 half-hour episodes, 1 hour episode
Running Time: 598 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 7 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed-Captioned, English subtitles
Special Features: Blooper Reel


Does everybody know what time it is? That's right, Buena Vista is proud to present the fourth season of Home Improvement (you can play the Tool Time theme here if you want)!

The fourth season of Home Improvement was (in my opinion, anyway), one of the greatest seasons of the series. The boys are all growing, but they aren't too old yet. Jill is just starting a phase of her life that continues throughout the remaining seasons: going back to college to earn a doctorate in psychology. The Tool Time crew (Tim, Al, and Heidi) all seem to work together in harmony for the first time in the series. And let's not forget some of the story lines, such as Tim destroying Jill's car, Tim seeing his sister-in-law in the nude, and Tim accidentally blowing up Samantha and Darrin's house from Bewitched! It's all in the fourth season of Home Improvement, the season that was nominated for five Emmy Awards!

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The fourth season begins with "Back In the Saddle Shoes Again," where the series starts a whole new storyline that goes through the remainder of the series: Jill going back to college. Tim is upset that Jill has dented the car in "Don't Tell Momma," but will Jill be upset when he accidentally drops a beam on the car and destroys the entire car? Al becomes a partner in Harry's hardware store in "Borland Ambition," but he is a real control freak too! Brad gets to replace Al on Tool Time for the day when Al's favorite bingo caller dies in "Quibbling Siblings," which makes Randy very jealous.

Tim has a chance to get his hot rod in magazine in "Some Like It Hot Rod," but Jill may have blown his chance by leaving it outside--during a snowstorm. Polly Holliday is back in her role as Jill's mother in "'Twas the Night Before Chaos," where once again, Tim is determined to win the neighborhood Christmas light contest. Jay Leno appears in "Brother, Can You Spare a Hot Rod?," where Tim decides to sell his hot rod. Al is deemed one of Detroit's bachelors of the year in "Bachelor of the Year," but how will Ilene take it? Randy is having a party in "It's My Party," and Tim makes sure that the dance floor is polished as much as possible--and it backfires when Randy's girlfriend slides on the floor and sprains her ankle!

Tim claps his hands and accidentally blows up a house in "A House Divided," and just as a side note, the house that he blows up should be a familiar house to classic TV fans--it is the house that Samantha and Darrin lived in on Bewitched! And it looks exactly the same (At least before it was blown up! But don't worry, if you do some research online, you'll discover that they DID rebuild it.). Tim accidentally walks in on his sister-in-law, Nancy, while she is taking a shower in "The Naked Truth." Dave Chappelle guest stars on "Talk to Me," where Tim insults Jill on Tool Time. Tim and Al are arrested for scalping tickets to a hockey game in "No, No, Godot" by a police officer that is played by Max Gail (Barney Miller).


They always do something creative with the packaging on these Home Improvement sets, and this one is no exception. Although the set is essentially comprised of a three panel digipak inside of a cardboard box, the "creative" thing this time is that the bottom right corner of the front of the outer box is missing--as if Tim had sawed it off. But everything else is pretty typical of Buena Vista DVDs in this set as far as packaging is concerned. On the inside of the digipak, there are three panels, with the episode listing in the left panel, Discs 1 and 2 in the middle panel (overlapping, as usual), and Disc 3 in the right panel. The artwork on Disc 1 has a picture of Jill and the boys, Disc 2 has Tim, Al, and Heidi, and Disc 3 has Tim, all alone. The breakdown of episodes on this set is as follows: episodes 1-8 on Disc 1, 9-17 on Disc 2, and 18-25 on Disc 3 (#22 is a one-hour episode).

Menu Design and Navigation:

The set basically has the same menus as season 3 (for those that may have skipped season 3, the menus were much different than the season 1 and 2 menus). Basically the main menu has the theme music playing with blueprints as the background, and options of Play All, Bonus Features (Disc 1 only), Episode Selection, and Set Up. All of those are pretty much self-explanatory, and each submenu has the theme music in the background too. Set Up, for those not familiar with these Buena Vista sets, simply allows you to turn on English subtitles and gives you information on registering your DVDs.

There is one thing that I found to be a little odd on this set. The "Tool Time After Dark" episode was originally a one hour episode that was split into two parts for syndication. The episode is preserved in the original one hour format on this set. However, on the episode selection menu on Disc 3, you can select from "Part 1" or "Part 2" of the episode. The strange thing is that if you decide to play "Part 1," you'll actually be playing the entire episode, and if you select "Part 2," you'll be starting the episode 20 minutes into the episode, but there are no opening credits for this "Part 2" and it comes out as a 25 minute episode in this format! Clearly, the way this episode was split into "two parts" on the DVD is nothing like how it was split in two parts in syndication, so your best bet for this episode is to just play "Part 1" and completely ignore "Part 2."

Video and Audio Quality:

I just don't know what it is about these Home Improvement DVDs, but the audio and video on them is always excellent, and (in my opinion) always looks much better than what is seen in syndication. Other than the special features (which I'll say a little bit more about in a minute), the set is essentially flawless here. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo sound, and there is closed-captioning as well as English subtitles available.

The episodes on this set all seem to be unedited, although that could be incorrect--there were a few episodes on Buena Vista's recent release of The Golden Girls that seemed only a few seconds shorter that turned out to be edited, and there is one episode on this set that is a few seconds shorter than the rest too. But, as far as I know, the episodes are all unedited, and you can judge for yourself whether I'm right or wrong. The runtimes and disc breakdown is as follows:

Disc 1:
1. Back in the Saddle Shoes Again (23:03)
2. Don't Tell Momma (23:03)
3. Death Begins at Forty (22:55)
4. The Eyes Don't Have It (23:00)
5. He Ain't Heavy, He's Just Irresponsible (23:04)
6. Borland Ambition (23:04)
7. Let's Go To The Videotape (22:49)
8. Quibbling Siblings (23:04)

Disc 2:
9. My Dinner With Wilson (23:23)
10. Ye Olde Shoppe Teacher (23:04)
11. Some Like it Hot Rod (23:05)
12. 'Twas the Night Before Chaos (23:03)
13. The Route of All Evil (22:53)
14. Brother, Can You Spare a Hot Rod? (23:04)
15. Super Bowl Fever (23:04)
16. Bachelor of the Year (23:04)
17. It's My Party (23:04)

Disc 3:
18. A House Divided (22:54)
19. The Naked Truth (22:33)
20. Talk to Me (23:05)
21. No, No, Godot (23:04)
22. Tool Time After Dark (45:33)
23. Sisters and Brother (23:02)
24. A Marked Man (22:55)
25. Wilson's Girlfriend (23:05)

Special Features:

When I heard that this set would include "new, never-before-seen bloopers," I immediately shrugged it off and thought that we would (again) get the same bloopers that air at the end of the episodes anyway. But I was wrong! The set actually includes bloopers that are different from the bloopers featured on closing credits of the episodes. In fact, there is 7 minutes worth of bloopers that you really haven't seen before. The video and audio quality of them is pretty bad (it looks like they were transferred from a VHS tape in SLP mode, and the audio on the bloopers is very low and in mono), but that just proves that they went through a little bit of effort to get these bloopers. Despite having these bloopers, the set can still stand to have more special features. In particular, I'd like to see some of the cast members get involved with these sets in some way.

Final Comments:

This is a pretty good set, although the special features could be a little bit better. It is nice to see that the bloopers they included this time really are brand new bloopers, but where are commentaries, interviews, original promos for the show--just adding one of those would be a nice touch for the set. Fortunately, video and audio quality, as well as how great the episodes are (I really think this, as well as the fifth season, were among the best two seasons of the series), make this set worth buying. This set gets five grunts out of five grunts!

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

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

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 05/25/06

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