"Home Improvement" eventually began to get repetitive after the core idea was worn out, but most of the show's run (at least until the kids started to get a little too old) utilized the idea of a guy too obsessed with horsepower and power tools for his own good quite effectively. For those who never saw the series, it starred former stand-up comic Tim Allen as Tim Taylor, a husband and father who continually seeks out tools and other electronic equipment of grander size and power. Allen's character was defined by both his trademark grunt and the fact that the machinery he was using often got the better of him. It all was largely based on the comedian's real-life stand-up material.
The character epitomized the kind of sitcom dad that I hate - one who acts all macho, screws up terribly and ends up learning a lesson from wife and family, to be repeated again next week. However, Allen managed to make the character endearing and - at least for a good stretch of time - pretty entertaining.
Allen was supported by Patricia Richardson as wife Jill. The character played off Allen's pretty well, as the two could not be more opposite. Richardson definitely shined in some episodes where she got more of the focus, but there were also times where her disapproval made her seem like something of a party pooper. There were also the show's three sons, played by: Taran Noah Smith (Mark Taylor), Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy Taylor), Zachery Ty Bryan (Brad Taylor). While none of the three were standouts, they portrayed a trio of older, middle and younger brothers well. Also good throughout show were Richard Kind as Al, Tim's co-host on his "Tool Time" TV series, and Earl Hindman as the little-seen but often heard neighbor Wilson.
The fifth season of the show offered more of the same kind of disasters that only Allen's character was capable of, as well as a couple of episodes that saw the show venture into more dramatic territory: one where Tim had to consider getting a vasectomy and an emotional episode where Randy's doctor believes that he may have thyroid cancer.
The sixth season of the series saw the kids getting older, and the series began to write a few more episodes geared towards the three sons growing older, starting with the first episode, where Tim finds himself having to give Brad "the talk". Randy and Brad also have relationship issues with girlfriends and "My Son, the Driver" sees Brad getting into serious car trouble on the first night of having a driver's license. The season also explores Jill and Tim's relationship further ("Future Shock" and "Workshop 'Till You Drop") and offers the usual blunders from Allen's character.
Some of the highlights from this season include: "At Sea" (Tim has to give "the talk" to Brad and takes "Tool Time" to see on the USS Constellation), "Future Shock" (Jill and Tim have visions of their future together), "Workshop 'Till You Drop" (Tim and Jill head to relationship therapy to discuss their problems), "Who's Car Is It Anyway?" (Jill bans Tim from driving the sports car she bought with her inheritance, but he manages to get his hands on it anyway), "I Was a Teenage Taylor" (Tim and Jill battle the boys for the best Halloween prank), "Insult to Injury" (despite being injured, Tim still tries to break Bob Villa's steamroller record), "The Feminine Mistake" (a partially 3-D episode) and "Taps" (Jill feels guilty when her father passes away shortly after avoiding a get-together.)
The DVD set includes all of the episodes from season 6.
127. 6- 1 17 Sep 96 At Sea
128. 6- 2 24 Sep 96 Future Shock
129. 6- 3 1 Oct 96 Workshop 'Til You Drop
130. 6- 4 8 Oct 96 Burnin' Love
131. 6- 5 15 Oct 96 Al's Video
132. 6- 6 22 Oct 96 Whose Car Is It Anyway?
133. 6- 7 29 Oct 96 I Was a Teenage Taylor
134. 6- 8 12 Nov 96 Jill and Her Sisters
135. 6- 9 19 Nov 96 The Tool Man Delivers
136. 6-10 26 Nov 96 The Wood, the Bad and the Hungry
137. 6-11 10 Dec 96 Workin' Man Blues
138. 6-12 17 Dec 96 No Place Like Home
139. 6-13 7 Jan 97 The Flirting Game
140. 6-14 14 Jan 97 The Karate Kid Returns
141. 6-15 28 Jan 97 Totally Tool Time
142. 6-16 11 Feb 97 A Funny Valentine
143. 6-17 18 Feb 97 Wilson's World
144. 6-18 25 Feb 97 Something Old, Something Blue
145. 6-19 11 Mar 97 Communication Breakdown
146. 6-20 1 Apr 97 My Son, the Driver
147. 6-21 15 Apr 97 Insult to Injury
148. 6-22 29 Apr 97 Family Un-Ties
149. 6-23 6 May 97 The Feminine Mistake
150. 6-24 13 May 97 Taps
151. 6-25 20 May 97 The Kiss & The Kiss-Off
VIDEO: "Home Improvement" is presented here again in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Buena Vista. The quality of the episode presentations are not without a few minor concerns, but the overall impression is better-than-expected. Sharpness and detail were mostly quite good, as the image remained crisp and detailed throughout, with only a few hints of softness here-and-there.
The presentation did show some very slight instances of shimmer and pixelation, but no edge enhancement was spotted and no wear on the elements was visible. Overall, the presentation appeared mostly clean and up to broadcast quality. Colors were bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other flaws.
SOUND: "Home Improvement" is presented here in 2.0 stereo, and the soundtrack was certainly adequate, with clean sounding dialogue, effects and music.
Final Thoughts: While it doesn't change the formula at all, the sixth season of "Home Improvement" continues to offer good laughs and entertaining plots. Buena Vista's DVD edition provides very good audio/video quality, but only one minor supplement. Recommended for fans.