Bob Vila’s Top 5 TV Shows & Movies

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Tina Fey and James Franco in "30 Rock"

I was amused to see James Marsden geared up in a tool belt on “30 Rock”, as his character set about fixing loose floor boards in the apartment he’s sharing with his girlfriend Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). I hope he completes his project successfully—I guess we’ll find out in future episodes.

It’s no mystery why home improvement turns up so often in entertainment. Fixing up our homes can involve drama, conflict, maybe a little comedy–all ingredients of good entertainment.

Here are five of my favorite TV shows and movies where homes and/or improvements figure prominently. When you need to take a break from your latest project, these options will provide a terrific respite:

Mad Men. What spot-on settings from the ’60s:  the furnishings, colors, and home décor styles present an expert riff on the look of that decade.

Gone With the Wind. Tara, the great manor house at the center of the story, provides an indelible setting for a classic drama.

Downton Abbey. With a gorgeous home and beautiful locations, it’s a treat to watch this series.

The Shining. The fictional Overlook Hotel is one the film’s stars—though I hope your home improvement projects are nowhere near as scary.

Home Improvement with Tim Allen. I had a lot of fun the three times I made guest appearances on this TV series. In particular, I remember what fun it was shooting the Great Lawn Mover Race sequence.