Sort of like a rural Canadian "Home Improvement" (without all the annoying family stuff and if Tim looked more like what you imagined next-door neighbor Wilson to look like), "The Red Green Show" ran on Canadian TV (with reruns on PBS), starting in 1991 and ending an impressive 15 years later in 2006. The series stars Steve Smith as Red Green, the owner of Possum Lodge and a rather inept handyman who tries to use the path of least work in order to fix any sort of problems.
In the first episode of this season, instead of working to clean out his car, he takes the hood off and has the car lifted over the truck, its contents fluttering to the bin (and ground) below. Red's philosophy is that duct tape is the essential ingredient to any repair job, as it can even be made into the gas cap that covers the tank of Red's truck, which is decorated like a Possum.
Every one of the episodes offers a series of skits, some in the lodge, but many in the nearby countryside. There's generally a few "handyman" skits, a few character/comedy bits and sometimes an advice bit (which, despite the fact that it sounds like a corny source for comedy, is actually often pretty funny.)Assisting Red is producer Harold (Patrick McKenna), Red's nephew and more than a bit of a nerd. Despite being awkward, Harold still manages to zing those around him just as well as they zing him.
Red's other pals who join him on his adventures include: store owner Dalton (Bob Bainborough), demolition fan (in the first episode, he demonstrates how to to kill weeds by using bottles of gas left out in the sun) Edgar Montrose (Graham Greene), recently paroled criminal Mike (Wayne Robson), oddball (he creates street signs for the animals in the forest and creates weird animated films about tree mouths) local park ranger Ranger Gord (Peter Keleghan) and others.
The series manages to do an impressive job being sweet, but not too sweet (it's completely inoffensive, yet not bland and occasionally hilarious.) While the show and characters are warm and friendly, there's a little bit of bite to the humor at times to keep it from being too cutesy or goofy. The writing is also terrific, as each episode is packed with plenty of little throwaway gags and dry humor. The performances are also very amusing, as - like the humor - the actors manage to be silly and funny without being over-the-top or slapsticky.
Overall, I found this series to be a pleasant surprise - the series has an enjoyably funky, rough appearance, but what really entertains is the dry humor, snappy performances and consistently fun writing.
Episode #601 -"Harold's Job"
A major change in the show as Harold leaves the Lodge and moves to the city to take a job as Assistant Account Executive at Multi-Corp International Inc.
Episode #602 -" The Fishing Derby"
When nobody catches any fish in the Fishing Derby, the men have Possum Lake tested for contaminants and the report shows that the lake is no longer classified as water. Also Red visits Harold at his new job in the city.
Episode #603 - "Lady in Red"
A beautiful young chiropractor goes into business in Possum Lake and creates more kinks than she removes. Red builds a forklift using a pair of skis and an extension ladder. The men turn the challenge of putting up a flagpole into a major adventure. Red visits Harold at work and crashes his computer.
Episode #604 - "The Bachelor Auction"
The men decide to have a Bachelor Auction as a way of raising money and getting dates. A new feature, Possum Lodge Life & Times, focuses on the life of local con artist Honest John Jonassen.
Episode #605 - "Angel"
Red and the boys argue about the existence of angels. Mike volunteers to produce one. Red makes a bread maker out of an automatic washing machine. He also shows you a way to stop dogs from chasing your car. Ranger Gord has a picture of the abominable snowman.
Episode #606 - "School Bus Blimp"
Red talks the guys into converting an old school bus into a hot air balloon. Harold goes over-board using sticky notes. Hap claims the metal plate in his head is magnetized. Red finds a way to paint a fence with a wringer washer.
Episode #607 - "Coup De Grass"
Red creates a new type of grass seed that only grows two inches tall. Edgar creates a fireworks display using real explosives. Animal Control Officer Ed Frid brings a falcon to the show. Red makes a backyard swing out of a car seat.
Episode #608 - "Rent A Wreck"
Mike borrows Red's van to use in a demolition derby. Red paves the Lodge driveway with crushed apples. Dalton's wife dropped the tv remote into her clam chowder. Red and Walter have an adventure with a rope and pulley.
Episode #609 - "Curse of the Mummy"
Red and Mike have some fun with artifacts from the local museum. Red shows how to prevent your car from being stolen. Hap brings his lie detector in for repairs. The men try to move a fridge down a long staircase.
Episode #610 - "Roll Out the Barrels"
The local brewery gives all their old beer barrels to the Lodge. Red decides to take his over the falls. Animal Control Officer Ed Frid buries a twelve foot python. Ranger Gord makes environmental tapes. Red shows you how to do wood working with kitchen appliances.
Episode #611 - "No Retreat"
Harold's company tries to buy the Lodge. Red invents a Garbage Canadarm. Ranger Gord presents an animated feature on Tree Species. Edgar Montrose gets help fixing his explosives locator. Red has advice on what you can expect after the age of 45.
Episode #612 - "The Battle Call"
The men stage a mock battle against their rival club, the Caribou Lodge. Red devises a way to carry his boat under the car. Ed Frid has an unfortunate incident with bees. Red and Walter install a new dock. Also featured, the life and times of local thespian, Roderick Featherstone.
Episode #613 - "Hurricane Doug"
The Lodge is threatened with a Force 5 hurricane. Red shows a cost effective way to make a refrigerated van. Hap Shaugnessey is auctioning off the jacket he wore when he was 50's rock star. Red and Walter use wind-power to make paint dry faster. Red gives married guys tips on when to say nothing.
Episode #614 - "Guinness World Records"
The men try to devise ways of getting themselves into the record book. Red makes a dog-powered swing out of a car seat. Ed Frid has trouble with a weasel. Mike makes a huge slingshot out of tire inner tubes. Also featured, a biography of three-legged clown Brainy Clogfield.
Episode #615 - "The Auto Club"
The men form an auto club to make money servicing other people's vehicles. Red turns a car into a dump truck. Ed Frid brings a spitting cobra to the show. Dalton has his thumb caught in a gumball machine. Ranger Gord presents an animated feature proving that rocks are actually eggs.
Episode #616 - "Too Much Information"
Harold gives the guys a bunch of old computers which changes their lives. Red makes a snowball gun out of a pitching machine. Mike needs help to break into a suitcase. Ranger Gord wants to fire-proof the forest. Red, Mike and Dalton try to barbecue a live pig.
VIDEO: "Red Green Show" is presented by Acorn Media in 1.33:1 full-frame. The series doesn't look dazzling, but I suppose it probably looks about as good as it's going to get, given the show's production budget and intended look. The series appears as if it was taken from video copies, and while sharpness and detail aren't great, the picture never appears hazy or blurry, either.
SOUND: Crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: Character bios and production notes written by Steve Smith.
Final Thoughts:Overall, I found this series to be a pleasant surprise - the series has an enjoyably funky, rough appearance, but what really entertains is the dry humor, snappy performances and consistently fine writing. The DVD presentation is just okay, but the audio/video quality is about what you'd expect from a series like this. While audio/video quality is what you'd expect, the lack of extras is a genuine disappointment. Still, the show is great fun and does get a recommendation.