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 one episode of this season, Red tries to survey the damage when he gets a flat tire, commenting dryly, "I wanted to get at least another 20,000 miles out of it." Another episode has Green creating window awnings out of car hoods, then closing all of them as he walks away.
The most priceless bit of repair work comes later in the same episode, as Green uses a ton of old bottles, various wire and pieces of metal and an old revolving door to turn a van into a riverboat. The car actually starting up and paddling away is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. These gags are a good example of why the show works as well as it does: the props are perfectly constructed (in a perfectly shoddy way) and superbly funny, while Smith's delivery tops off each gag expertly.
While the show offers some very good laughs - and at times is downright hysterical - the most remarkable thing about the series is that, at this point, the series was in its 10th season and it's still awfully funny, despite the fact that the concept of the series is - and this is from someone who enjoys the show - fairly limited. Despite the fact that this is a show about not a whole lot, the characters are certainly likable and developed reasonably well. Given the show's rather episodic feel, it's a credit to the series that it doesn't feel repetitive.
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. While Harold went off to work last season, he still visits, like in the opening Christmas episode.
Red's other pals who join him on his adventures include: store owner Dalton (Bob Bainborough), demolition fan 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 (while the show has a sweet and inoffensive exterior, but the dialogue isn't sitcom sweetness, as the characters frequently toss one-liners back-and-forth at each other.) 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.
Special A Very Merry Red Green Christmas
197 Sausage Envy
198 Foster Child
199 What A Dump
200 Winston's Wedding
201 Man Of The Year
203 Historic Site
205 Lunar Eclipse
206 Barter Starter
207 Out Of The Woods
208 Cheap Jeep
209 DNA All The Way
210 Who Wants To Be A Smart Guy
211 The Beaver Dam
212 The Dandruff Foundation
213 Damn You Emu
214 No Duct Tape
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. It would be fantastic to have had Smith or some of the other characters come back to do interviews or a commentary - a little odd how this is called a "Collector's Edition" with nothing but some text notes - but oh well.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I continue to find 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.