The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) is an absolute classic that is just as enjoyable today as it was in the 1960s. The first five seasons in black and white are the best of the series with excellent writing and out loud laughs. Those five seasons focus primarily on the relationships between Andy and his son, Opie, and Andy with his deputy, Barney Fife. Aunt Bee, Floyd the barber, Otis the drunk, Mayor Pike, Mayor Stoner, Thelma Lou, Ellen Crump, Gomer Pyle, Earnest T. Bass, the Darlings, Clara Edwards fill out an exceptional cast of characters. The storytelling of those first five years centers on Andy’s sheriff duties with Barney and Andy’s simple home life with Opie and Aunt Bee. Music is also a central theme in many episodes taking advantage of Griffith’s musical talents. In the first season, Griffith realized Knotts was the comic star and settled in to play the courageous, selfless, hero of the show to offset Barney’s troublemaking. There are also some very heartfelt and emotional father/son episodes that will melt the hardest hearts.
Once Don Knotts, aka Barney Fife, left (except for five fun guest starring episodes) for a movie contract after season five, the series changed directions and the focused more on the town of Mayberry and its citizens. These are easily distinguishable because they are the start of the colored episodes. While they tried to introduce a Barney replacement, Deputy Warren Ferguson, for eleven episodes in Season 6, the character didn’t take and the show shifted toward Andy’s relationship with Goober Pyle, Howard Sprague, Floyd Lawson, and eventually Emmett Clark, who replaced Floyd’s position on the show. The colored episodes are actually more Mayberry RFD than TAGS. While it was still fun to be in Mayberry, the last three seasons just are not as good as the first five.