How very pleasant to be reminded of all those excellent reasons for watching Tim Allen’s “Home Improvement” series, of which this collection was the final season. Among said good reasons are to appreciate rather witty, character-focused writing, a focus on an intact, affectionate and reasonably well-adjusted family, the occasional hilarious physical pratfall… and I always rather liked the clever scene transitions. They were small, throw-away bits, but still. It said worlds about this show that such care and creativity were taken with something relatively minor.

Having said that, it was also a little jarring to see how much the boys had grown, from season one to season eight; but of course the series was in production for eight years. The bright eleven-year old and the father-adoring pre-schooler will have become respectively a college-freshman and a middle-school student by the end of it all. And I think they had worked out every possible and impossible means of hiding half of neighbor Wilson’s face under every circumstance. But not Tim the Toolman’s ability to demolish household appliances and gadgets of every description; that, like Wily Coyote’s genius for creative destruction, was a well that never went dry, as proved in the bonus feature “The Home Improvement Users’ Guide”. One sequence of that reunion special featured a series of exploding BBQ grills, souped-up dishwashers and revolving Christmas trees throwing off sparks and clouds of smoke… it was so hilarious we played it back a couple of times, laughing ourselves to tears each time. All in all, a series which has stood up very well, especially in comparison to the current crop of situation comedies on the broadcast networks.

Home Improvement – Season 8 is available from Amazon.com and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here, and her upcoming “Adelsverein Trilogy” will be available in December 2008. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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