HOME IMPROVEMENT: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Tim Allen as TIM TAYLOR
Patricia Richardson as JILL TAYLOR
Zachery Ty Bryan as BRAD TAYLOR
Tarn Noah Smith as MARK TAYLOR
Richard Karn as AL
Earl Hindeman as WILSON
Debbe Dunning as HEIDI KEPPERT
Jonathan Taylor Thomas as RANDY TAYLOR
BY KEVIN CARR
I have to admit that “Home Improvement” has really grown over me throughout the years. Sure, it never grew on me when it was first broadcast. I was in college when it started, and I was overwhelmed with the feminization of America in the early 90s. Now that this kookiness has receded a bit, and the show grew in its later seasons, I’ve become a bit of a fan.
I never watched the show in its initial run, but now I have seen all of the episodes on DVD. Like “The Golden Girls” and “That 70s Show,” I was able to watch everything at my own leisure, for better or for worse.
The eighth and final season of “Home Improvement” is now available on DVD, completing the collection. I know there are some fans of the show that still miss it, and this will give you a chance to wrap up your collection.
The series doesn’t break too much new ground (which is good, considering they finally had a good thing going). There were your “very special episodes,” like when Jill discovers she has a tumor and needs to have a hysterectomy. There’s also some relatively shocking moments, like Al’s mother’s reaction to his new would-be bride.
Ultimately, though, the film shines in its final season. It really didn’t jump the shark, and while it’s clear the writers were wrapping things up throughout the last half of the season, on an episode-by-episode basis, the show still holds its worth.
I did find the three-part series finale a bit tedious, with an entire flashback episode in the middle (which is great when you watch it week to week but annoying when you’ve got the DVDs of the whole series sitting on a bookshelf). And the last episode was strangely ambiguous. Still, it was a nice way to go out close to the top.
The special features are better than more recent seasons, considering it’s loaded with some farewell spots. There’s the standard blooper reel, which is fun. There’s also the full look-back show that followed the final episode when it was broadcast (and includes a look at Wilson’s face). The most interesting thing is the hour-long television special from 2002 that served as a reunion of sorts for Tim, Al and Heidi.
“Home Improvement” fans are going to adore this set, and the special features will probably make them cry. For a curmudgeon like myself, I still thought the series definitely had its moments.