This Old House: Trade School

Ages: 13 - 16Producer: Litton Entertainment

Home improvement shows have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. The HGTV line-up alone features dozens of them: Fixer Upper, The Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, House Hunters, Love it or List it, Rehab Addict and more. Our fascination with the hosts, the homes, and the fabulous reveals of the final projects seems endless.

But all of those shows are built on the foundation of This Old House. The PBS show kicked off in 1979 with Bob Vila, the affable, bearded construction pro who was the host for a decade. He showed homeowners the best way to fix any household problem, and we followed along as he took on major home renovations.

This Old House: Trade School is the latest iteration of the classic. Hosted by Kevin O’Connor, and featuring old friends Norm Abram, Tom Silva et al, the series follows a residential construction project from start to finish, offering, essentially, a master class in real building methods and a first-hand look at everything from architecture to masonry and landscape design with an array of experts. You’ll see how there is a lot of tedious and hard work, as rotten siding is discovered and new foundations are poured, and plants are dug up and transferred to safe place while the work is being done. Pop-up info boxes offer explanations of key terms like “trap rock,” while the experts are talking about the job.

While This Old House: Trade School

focuses more on the details of the actual renovation of a home, and less on a quick flip that ends 22 minutes later in a big “wow” reveal, it is a pleasure to watch—especially if you don’t really have any home projects that need to be fixed. It’s pure enjoyment. And if you do have questions about something around the house, you’re sure to find an answer on this show.

Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.