PBS // 2010 // 390 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 16th, 2011
44 common household projects done right.
Before cable brought us entire networks based on "do-it-yourself" programming, PBS had the market cornered on home improvement with This Old House. It all started in 1979 with a 13-part series produced by a Boston PBS station called WGBH, who had original host Bob Villa. They kicked off the show, which has become a runaway hit that has spawned a couple of spin-offs. Ask This Old House was conceptualized as viewers kept sending in topical questions about how to fix common household problems like banging pipes or squeaky stairs. In 2002, the producers decided to turn it into a half hour show with the This Old House team going out to help home owners learn to fix a problem.
The Best of Ask This Old House is a two-DVD set that smartly organizes the short segments into logical chunks. We get: kitchens, bathrooms, other indoor projects, doors, windows, floors, landscaping, gardening, and outdoor projects. You can scroll through and find a topic to watch, and then the team will show you in ten minutes or less how to address an issue. They make it look so easy to move a skylight or regrout bathroom tile. The instructions are straight forward and presented with the host teaching a lay person how to execute the project. Special features include printable photo galleries to use as guides, fourteen printable articles to help, and a text based resource guide on all the products used. There are also some production credits and a magazine offer to look at as well. My only gripe is that because these are not the full shows we don't get the humor segments like the "What is it?" bits where the guys show you bizarre new tools they have found.
The transfers are standard television, but they are always in widescreen. Some older clips look to be in worse shape than the "high def" era of the show, but it all looks clear enough for instructional purposes. The stereo soundtrack works fine to deliver the dialogue and the musical sounds of saws, hammers, and power tools. It is absolutely functional, and I wouldn't expect any less.
If you are a fan of Kevin O'Connor, Tom Silva, Richard Trethewey, and Roger Cook's sage house project advice then The Best of Ask This Old House and your Home Depot credit card are your new best friends. This DVD set presents forty-four different things you can do to improve your home from doing a little tile work to replacing a toilet to be more green. This is do-it-yourself nirvana!
Guilty of making me think I can buy a fixer upper.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 390 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Photo Gallery
* Printable Articles
* Product Guide