The Andy Griffith Show is loved from coast to coast, but it's especially important to a fellow like me who has spent all of his life in the great state of North Carolina. Around these parts, The Andy Griffith Show is more than just a TV show. Just about everybody under the age of 50 has grown up with Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee, Opie, Floyd, Otis, and the whole Mayberry gang. And, no matter how many times I see a particular episode, I never get tired of watching it. I've seen the 32 shows from Season One more times than I can remember, but watching them again on these DVDs was even better than seeing them for the first time on television. As time goes by, this show actually grows in importance. Mayberry is more than a place; it's a paradise on earth, a way of life many of us yearn for. Heck, I live in a small town now, but it doesn't feel like a small town anymore. I'm all for progress, but no life is as satisfying as the simple life in a calm, lazy town where you not only know everybody, you actually like everybody. Folks is just folks in Mayberry, and I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. Maybe a criminal wanders into town once every blue moon, but old reliable Barney Fife is always there to nip criminal activity in the bud (and Andy is there to see that Barney succeeds despite himself). About the worst thing that ever happens in Mayberry is Aunt Bee deciding to make a run of pickles. This is truly the life, and The Andy Griffith Show The Complete First Season lands a spot smack dab on top of my stack of favorite DVDs.
The first season doesn't have some of the big-name episodes (e.g., the Fun Girls or Citizen's Arrest), but it's my favorite season of them all. It takes a few episodes to settle in, though; in the first few episodes, Andy comes across as a real local yokel, and the comedy sometimes comes at the expense of the South that I love so dearly. Pretty soon, though, the comedy refines itself into good old country humor. The show was never just about making people laugh, though. It's instructive in the way sit-coms used to be. It's not easy for a widower to raise a precocious young'un like Opie, but this father and son learn life's lessons together.
I don't even have to describe Barney Fife, as I can't imagine there is anyone who is unfamiliar with one of TV's greatest characters. Barney wasn't in every episode early on, but it didn't take long for the local deputy sheriff to start stealing the show week in and week out. And just imagine this - week in and week out, a new episode of the show aired. No mid-season reruns here. I don't think we'll ever again see the day when a show airs 32 episodes in a single season. Not only did this show deliver up a new show every week, every single episode was a classic.
I won't try to describe every individual episode; you've probably seem all of them already at some point, anyway. I will, however, emphasize the point that these are the complete, uncut episodes. I had never seen a good many of the short epilogues because those are invariably cut out of syndication - in a number of cases, the story truly isn't complete without the epilogues. And sakes alive, the audio and video quality of these episodes is nothing short of glorious. Gone are the days when you have to buy little DVD collections of random episodes, many of them of questionable quality. The Andy Griffith Show's first 32 episodes look, sound, and play better now than they ever have before.
This is the epitome of good, wholesome, hilarious family entertainment. As far as I'm concerned, The Andy Griffith Show ought to have a place in every household. TV (and now DVD) just doesn't get any better than this.