October 3, 1960 - April 1, 1968
Starring: Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Frances Bavier, Jim Nabors, George Lindsey, Howard McNear, Aneta Corsaut, Elinor Donahue
The Andy Griffith Show celebrated the 50th anniversary of its premiere yesterday and in those 50 years, it has become one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. It remains popular on TV today even when other classic sitcoms can't connect with modern day audiences. The fictional setting of Mayberry, NC makes everyone think of a simpler time (though things weren't that simple even when the show first aired). It has a first-rate cast, great stories, and a whole lot of heart.
The Andy Griffith Show didn't break any ground the way shows like I Love Lucy, All in the Family, and The Cosby Show have. It was just good and it has endured. The relationships in the show feel real, they seem like real people in a real place called Mayberry. This is particularly evident in the classic black and white episodes before Don Knotts left the show. The Andy Griffith Show is a classic that was immensely popular during its original run and has rivaled I Love Lucy in terms of durability. The reruns helped floundering TBS get off the ground in the 1980s and have been immensely popular on TV Land for ten years. It's a classic through and through.
THE 10 BEST EPISODES OF "THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW"
Disclaimer: this is completely based on personal opinion
10. #84 "Opie and the Spoiled Kid" (first aired February 18, 1963)
A tender episode between Opie and Andy, Opie throws temper tantrums to get his way like his new rich friend. This is an excellent performance by Ron Howard and there are some classic Barney moments as well.
9. #90 "Barney's First Car" (first aired April 1, 1963)
A classic among classic episodes, Barney's first car turns out to be a lemon and hilarity ensues. A classic Don Knotts performance.
8. #41 "Aunt Bee's Brief Encounter" (first aired December 4, 1961)
The always single Aunt Bee falls for a semi-con man in this episode that explores the character of Aunt Bee and has some great moments between Andy and Aunt Bee.
|"The Pickle Story"|
Some Andy episodes are classic because of their sweetness, this one is classic because of its hilarity. Andy and Barney must eat Aunt Bee's horrible pickles that she intends to enter in the county fair. A simple premise leads to hilarious moments.
6. #35 "Andy and the Woman Speeder" (first aired October 16, 1961)
A very interesting episode that pits Andy against the town for Andy doing the right thing. The episode is notable too for its charming conclusion where the woman speeder bails Andy out after being his enemy the entire episode.
5. #96 "Opie the Birdman" (first aired September 30, 1963)
Without a doubt the sweetest episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Opie learns about death and life and the brilliant scene between father and son at the end is perhaps the most classic moment of a classic show.
4. #106 "Citizen's Arrest" (first aired December 16, 1963)
A very popular episode with the fans, Gomer and Barney go at it over U-turns when Gomer makes a "citizen's arrest." Barney's indignation and Gomer's determined law-following makes for a very funny dynamic between the two.
The first season Christmas episode shows a whole lot of heart when the angry Ben Weaver insists on a bootlegger being jailed on Christmas Eve. This "Christmas Carol" like plot is the only Christmas episode of the series but it's a great one.
2. #52 "Barney and the Choir" (first aired February 19, 1962)
There is no funnier moment in The Andy Griffith Show's eight year run than Barney's attempt at joining the choir. It is Don Knotts at his finest - earnest but so hilariously bad.
1. #79 "Man in a Hurry" (first aired January 14, 1963)
This episode isn't as funny as "Barney and the Choir" or as sweet as "Opie the Birdman" but it is #1 in my book because it shows Mayberry in the most perfect light. As a passerby needing car assistance is frustrated by Mayberry's laid-back Sunday attitude, he learns the value of a small town in the process. The quintessential episode.