Everybody Loves Raymond is quite possibly the greatest sitcom of all time. (It is WAY funnier that Seinfeld, which was more clever than funny, but apparently people confuse the two.) There is a real innocence to the first season that gradually eroded as the show progressed. It's as if the writers made a conscious decision to sacrifice the "clean family sitcom" image for "edgy family sitcom", without going so far as to sacrifice what made the show so enduring. When watching the first season in retrospect it's almost weird how well Ray and Debra get along here. Debra practically never yells at Ray and there's a cheesy "conflict resolution" scene between them at the end of almost every episode. Some people liked this side of their relationship when compared to other seasons and started to hate the show when it started to move away from this device. I don't care for it. I'd much rather have Debra yelling at Ray or vice versa every episode, it's funnier that way. Their constant arguing started getting annoying in the sixth season, but thankfully the writers got things back on track for the final three seasons.
Season one has many typical sitcom plots and some are pulled of better than others. Only the episode "Standard Deviation" seems like it would be at home in later seasons. The actors were still trying to find their way as well. Brad Garret doesn't alter his baritone delivery until late in the season and Romano speaks in a bored, monotone voice.
The pilot episode does a nice job of introducing the characters and setting up the premise as well as some running gags. Fans should get this season set just to see how radically different it is from the others and how far it came. The fact that this show's potential was turned into greatness is a testament to its writers and actors.