The Andy Griffith Show is one of those timeless shows whose appeal spans generations. I've loved it ever since the late 60s when my grandmother would give my cousins and I bowls of Frosted Flakes to enjoy with the show.
This set has most of the classics ("The New Housekeeper"-the show's official debut and the Ellinor Donahue eps from 1960 are MIA, but are available elsewhere). The great "Mr. McBeeVee," the heartwarming tale of Andy dealing with his son's imagination is here, as is a similarly moving "Opie The Birdman." If you're a fan, you know about these eps. If not, be prepared for some excellent television. These two are widely considered to be the best of the series.
The belly laughs are also present with Barney and the choir (the lip synching scene is one of the funniest in television history), Gomer and Goober, Ernest T. Bass, and the Darling Family. The story of Barney Fife being kidnapped by the gangstresses is one that I do not recall seeing as a child (and I thought I've seen them all), but is a real gut-buster of belly laughs with a swell surprise ending.
"Return to Mayberry" (1986), was the last hurrah for the gang while most of them were still alive nearly twenty years after the end of the initial series. Overall, a dreary affair, closer in spirit to the mawkish shark-jumping episodes of 1965-68 that are fortunately absent here than the series' classic years that this collection spotlights. However, the scene where Thelma Lou comes across Don Knotts/Barney Fife dressed as a circus clown entertaining some schoolchildren is one of Don Knotts' best moments ever captured on film, in my opinion.
The episode of the Danny Thomas show that introduced the Andy Griffith show characters (from around 1959-60) is fascinating. I hazily recall seeing this as a child. Anyway, this shows Andy as almost closer to the Bull Connor prototype of crooked Southern sherrifs (as often shown on the news in real life at the time) as he appears to unjustly persecute Danny Thomas (although in fairness, Thomas' character baits Andy with rural slurs such as "Clem, "hayseed," etc.). But when Opie enters, the sympathetic Andy Taylor we all know and love emerges.
The actual commercials with the characters hawking the General Foods products adds a nice touch of period charm, as do the appearances of Griffith and Knotts on some variety shows of the era in the special features.
The Alpha and Omega of an American institution. Enjoy.