Somehow, it has been just under 21 years since the mega-popular sitcom Home Improvement hung up its tool belt and called it quits at ABC. In the years since, its lead star Tim Allen built up a movie career (topped off by the Toy Story franchise) and landed another beloved TV comedy in Last Man Standing. But Mike Baxter's current success on Fox doesn't necessarily mean Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor won't find a way back to TV viewers in the future.
In line with the spate of TV revivals going into development in recent years, Tim Allen is offering up hope that Home Improvement may one day return to primetime to bring audiences back into the Taylor family's household. It's best not to expect a complete return to form, though, because Allen doesn't exactly sound interested in returning to 25-episode seasons. In his words:
I like the idea of doing it as a one-off, like a one-hour movie [versus a full-fledged revival series]. I like the idea of finding out where the boys are now, and where… Tool Time would be in today’s world. I just think it’s a marvelous idea, and all the actors think it’s a great idea.
I'm sure plenty of people out there are now wondering why the cameras aren't already rolling on just such a Home Improvement revival special. It will obviously take a lot more than just Tim Allen's interest to get the former sitcom up and running again, but his interest is absolutely required, and may be just the fuel needed to get the Home Improvement creative team's juices flowing again.
Considering Tim Allen obviously has his hands full through part of the year filming Last Man Standing for Fox, it's no big mystery why he isn't currently invested in a long-term Home Improvement revival. Plus, there would possibly be a conflict of interest if Tim Allen had two different sitcoms on the air at the same time. It would make for the most brilliantly fitting counter-programming, but still.
The question I had was, ‘Is it still relevant? Is Tim Taylor relevant in the Mike Baxter world?’ Because Mike Baxter is like a real version of Tim Taylor; he’s not such a joke. And the [Outdoor Man] vlogs are like Mike’s version of Tool Time done as a web series.
Mike Baxter might not have much in common with Tim Allen's Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear, but the outdoorsy family man does indeed feel sometimes like a less chaotic and more sardonic version of Tim Taylor. Which, in theory, might make it even more amusing to see just where Home Improvement's patriarch would fit into a world filled with 3D printers, portable TVs and self-driving lawn mowers. I imagine he'd appear to be in hog-grunt heaven more often than Mike does.
Of course, it would presumably be just as ridiculous and rewarding to see how the rest of the Taylor family is doing, along with Richard Karn's Al Borland and Debbe Dunning's Heidi Keppert. Sadly, the actor who played Tim's half-hidden neighbor Wilson, Earl Hindman, passed away in 2003 after fighting lung cancer.
Jill's blood pressure has probably skyrocketed over the years as Tim found more "toys" to play with, though she's likely still the most level-headed one of the bunch. I have lots of theories about what would have happened with Zachary Ty Bryan's Brad, Jonathan Taylor Thomas' Randy and Taran Noah Smith's Mark, and yes, most of them involve Mark's goth phase continuing in perpetuity.
Interestingly enough, Last Man Standing's current eight season ties the former ABC sitcom's length with Home Improvement's eight-season run. Should it return to fox for Season 9, it would eclipse Tim Allen's breakthrough comedy, though the older series does have more episodes overall.
Tim Allen has talked in the past about the idea of Home Improvement returning for modern-day audiences. But the timing is a lot more fitting at this point, even if Allen is no longer at Home Improvement's old home of ABC, which cancelled Last Man Standing in 2018.
Fans can watch Last Man Standing on Fox on Thursday nights at 8:00 p.m. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way, head to our Winter and Spring TV schedule.