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Home Improvement - The Complete Fifth Season



DVD Release Date: November 14, 2006 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $39.99
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 598 minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: 10 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed-Captioned, English subtitles
Special Features: Blooper Reel


I know I've said this in a couple of other previous reviews, but I'll say it again. Does everybody know what time it is? And then you'll answer Tool Time, and then I'll say that Buena Vista is proud to present the fifth season of Home Improvement on DVD! All 26 episodes from the 1995-1996 season as well as some never-before-seen bloopers are presented on a three disc set with all of the funny (and sometimes serious) moments that you love and remember.

The fifth season, much like the fourth season, is among the seasons where the show really hit its peak. The boys are getting older, but still aren't too old, Jill is moving ahead further with her college studies, and Tim is--well, Tim is Tim, I suppose. In the fifth season, we see Jill having water skiing accident (thanks mostly to Tim) just hours before she is to read a poem at her cousin's wedding, Tim deciding whether or not to get a vasectomy, the family worrying about the fact that Randy may have cancer, and much more.

Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

The fifth season begins with "A Taylor Runs Through It," where Jill's cousin is getting married and Tim decides to make a vacation out of the wedding trip, which is fine until Jill has a little accident. In "The First Temptation of Tim," Tim has a new boss and the new boss knows how to make Tool Time appeal to younger viewer: by firing Al. Jill gets an A on her psychology paper, which makes her believe that she is qualified to start giving psychological advice in "Advise and Repent," but it might just backfire when she gives advise to Randy's girlfriend's parents. Tim spends $4000 to buy Pistons season tickets and Jill isn't too happy in "The Look." In "Room Without a View," Tim builds a room for Randy in the basement, which sounds great for Randy until he finds out what the basement is really like.

Tim is about to get an honorary Ph.D. in "Doctor in the House," but is the college giving him the degree because he really deserves? Tom Poston guest stars on "'Twas the Flight Before Christmas," where Tim and Al get stuck at an airport on Christmas Eve. Randy is moved to the advanced classes at school and Brad is jealous in "High School Confidential." Tim and Jill have decided that three kids is enough and try to decide whether she should get her tubes tied or if Tim should get a vasectomy in "The Vasectomy One." Tim gives Harry's wife marital advice--you know that is going to be helpful--in "When Harry Kept Delores."

Tim and Jill are going bowling with Tim's boss and his wife in "The Bud Bowl," and Tim tells Jill to lose on purpose, but will Jill actually do that? Brad gets a new (and very unusual) haircut that Tim doesn't approve of at all in "Engine and a Haircut, Two Fights." Tragedy may have stricken the Taylor household as they find out that Randy may have cancer in "The Longest Day." Jill wants Tim to install a burglar alarm in the house in "Alarmed by Burglars," but was Jill doing the right thing when she asked for "more power?" Finally, the season ends with "Games, Flames, and Automobiles," where Al creates a Tool Time board game, which ahs the potential to be a hit until it is discovered that it (much like events on the show Tool Time) has a tendency to randomly catch on fire.


The packaging is... very basic! That is a change from the previous seasons. Previous seasons had something creative going on with the packaging (like the tool box or the drill holes in the box), but this time, the packaging is just very standard. The front of the box has a snapshot of the Taylor family standing in front of a blueprint that is in the background, and the back of it has a picture of Tim and Al (along with basic show information), and a reminder that this is the 10th anniversary of the fifth season (I've never heard of celebrating the anniversary of a season...). Inside, there is a three panel digipak, and just as before, the left panel has a listing of episodes (there is a pocket on this panel too, yet there is nothing in there; I'm assuming some kind of Buena Vista DVD promotional booklet will be placed here, though I didn't have one in my set), the middle panel holds Discs 1 and 2 (overlapping, I dislike this design), and the right panel holds Disc 3. Disc 1 has a picture of Tim on it, Disc 2 has a picture of Jill on it, and Disc 3 has a picture of the kids on it. There are 9 episodes on Disc 1 as well as on Disc 2, and Disc 3 contains 8 episodes.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are the same as they have been since season 3. When you place the disc in the player, you hear the opening theme music and you have the options of Play All, Episode Selection, Set Up, Sneak Peeks (Disc 1 only), and Bonus Features (Disc 3 only). When you select one of these options, you get another menu that also has the opening theme music playing as well. If you select an episode from the Episode Selection menu, it will begin to play immediately, as there is no scene selection option. Set Up allows you to turn on subtitles and to register your DVDs. I really like the menus on these sets now (the first two seasons were not so good in my opinion, but seasons 3-5 have been fine). Chapters are placed in each episode, at every place where a commercial break would be. Some episodes have additional chapters placed just before the opening credits and just before the closing credits, but others do not--there is some inconsistency, but it doesn't really hurt the set at all.

Video and Audio Quality:

You can always nitpick about something that might be wrong with the video and audio quality on any DVD set, but there really does not seem to be much wrong with these DVDs in regards to video and audio quality. The episodes look about how you would have expected them to look when they originally aired, which is perfectly fine. The episodes are presented in Dolby Digital Stereo Sound, with closed-captioning and English subtitles for those that require those options.

Now, the runtimes--this is where I am somewhat concerned. There are episodes that have runtimes that are shorter than I would expect. In fact, one episode runs at 21:50, which is pretty short compared to other episodes on the set. I am unable to say for certain that the episode is edited, but with a runtime like that, I would almost believe that it could be. The runtimes for each episode are as follows:

Disc 1:
1. "A Taylor Runs Through It" (23:18)
2. "The First Temptation of Tim" (23:18)
3. "Her Cheatin' Mind" (23:17)
4. "Jill's Surprise Party" (22:50)
5. "Advise & Repent" (23:07)
6. "Let Them at Cake" (22:31)
7. "The Look" (23:49)
8. "Room Without a View" (23:13)
9. "Chicago Hope" (23:20)

Disc 2:
10. "Doctor in the House" (23:06)
11. "That's My Momma" (23:19)
12. "'Twas the Flight Before Christmas" (23:01)
13. "Oh, Brother" (23:01)
14. "High School Confidential" (23:05)
15. "Tanks for the Memories" (22:54)
16. "The Vasectomy One" (23:03)
17. "Fear of Flying" (23:05)
18. "When Harry Kept Delores" (22:48)

Disc 3:
19. "Eye on Tim" (23:03)
20. "The Bud Bowl" (22:20)
21. "Engine and a Haircut, Two Fights" (21:50)
22. "The Longest Day" (23:39)
23. "Mr. Wilson's Opus" (23:03)
24. "Shopping Around" (23:04)
25. "Alarmed by Burglars" (23:05)
26. "Games, Flames, and Automobiles" (23:03)

Special Features:

Most episodes of Home Improvement have bloopers at the end of the episode, so if you like bloopers, you'll always find some there. But, this set brings you even more bloopers. On Disc 3, just as was done on the season 4 set, you'll find a blooper reel with 10 minutes worth of never-before-seen bloopers. These are very nice to watch, but it would have been nice to see other bonus features, like commentaries or interviews. Come on, Buena Vista! Give us more power on these DVD sets!

Final Comments:

The episodes are good, the set is put together nicely, but of course it is once again lacking special features. I'm really worried about some of the episode runtimes on the set as well, particularly on the "Engine and a Haircut, Two Fights" episode, because 21:50 seems suspiciously low, but I have no proof as to whether or not these are edited. But, other that, the set is pretty good and I would recommend it to any sitcom fan out there. You won't need more power to get this set!

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 11/11/06

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