Who Has Better Home Improvement Shows: HGTV or PBS?

Apparently I've been receiving most of my cable channels in error, and my carrier graciously corrected the situation with a terse letter and an abrupt cutback in service. Among the fallen were Food Network and HGTV, which were pretty much all my roommate and I watched.

Since then, I've turned on our local PBS station many times when I want some background noise. I joked with a friend on Saturday that WETA hit me with a trio of shows to keep me on the couch happily catnapping -- a Julia Child followed by two! America's Test Kitchens -- and she was lucky they didn't air an episode of This Old House right after, or I would never have dragged myself out of the house to hang out.

All those public television shows bring back strong memories of childhood, when that was pretty much all we were allowed to watch. I started watching out of nostalgia, but I kept watching because...well, it was refreshing to watch a cooking show that was actually mostly about cooking, and not the host's oversized personality. There's something less desperate -- almost absurdly genuine -- about PBS cooking and home improvement shows.