Best 'The Andy Griffith Show' episodes, ranked - GoldDerby

The Andy Griffith Show premiered on CBS television on October 3, 1960 and ended on April 1, 1968. In it’s eight year run- there were 249 episodes- 159 were in black and white [seasons 1-5] and the final 90 in color [seasons 6-8.] The show went into daytime reruns in 1964 and has been in syndication for the past 57 years non-stop.

The show was always a winner in the rankings- each season finished in the top ten. The season rankings went like this: Season 1- #4/ Season 2-#7/ Season 3-#6/ Season 4- #5/ Season 5-#4/Season 6- #6/ Season 7-# 3 and finally in the final season- they reached the #1 spot. The show wasn’t cancelled- Andy Griffith wanted to do other things. The show then morphed into Mayberry R.F.D. for three seasons starring Ken Berry.

In the 249 episode -Andy Taylor appears in all of them. Andy’s son Opie- in 203, Aunt Bee Taylor in 175. Deputy Barney Fife appears in 141- Don Knotts who played Barney was a regular the first five seasons then left the show to make movies- only making occasional appearances after that. I am not letting the cat out of the bag when I say out front- the best character on the show was Barney and the show suffered a bit when he left. The show went from great to pretty good in seasons 6-8- and I think in the end Andy Griffith ended it at the right time.

The show is set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. A small town of 2000 or so. The principal characters are a widower Sheriff Andy Taylor, Andy’s young son [ six years old when the series begins] Opie Taylor, Andy’s Aunt Bee who moves in with them in the first episode to take care of Andy and Opie- and Deputy Barney Fife. Other key characters who made a number of appearances -Floyd The Barber, the town drunk Otis Campbell, Goober Pyle and his cousin Gomer who are mechanics, Clara Edwards a friend of Aunt Bee’s – who appears in all eight seasons, Helen Crump- Andy’s girlfriend and Thelma Lou- Barney’s girlfriend. I can’t go over a list of characters without mentioning a couple memorable ones who made only a handful of appearances but made a big mark on the show when they are there- The Darling family- six appearances and the unforgettable Ernest T. Bass.

A shout out to Badfinger20 for the idea. He is currently going through every episode of The Twilight Zone on his blog [check that out]- and mentioned to me another great show to do would be The Andy Griffith Show [and that he wasn’t going to be doing it]- So here we go.

My Fair Ernest T. Bass | Classic Movie Hub Blog

I first remember watching The Andy Griffith Show when I was 5 or 6 in the mid-60’s. I have been a fan ever since. It has been one of those shows that is always there. If I feel like watching television and I can’t find anything to watch there is always Andy. I am sure I have seen every episode who knows how many times. One thing I am sure I haven’t done is watch them all in order. Since the episodes stand alone you can watch any episode -whatever is on whatever season. I am going to change that though. In a few days I will start at Season 1- Episode 1- and watch all 249 episodes and write a review and add extra comments of interest on each episode. I will of course give each episode a grade from 1 to 5- 5 being the top grade. My goal is three episodes a week- which will take 83 weeks.


  1. I think Max has got something started here. I love the Andy Griffith Show and look forward to a stroll down memory lane. I know I watched it regularly for some # of seasons but I am sure not even close to all of them over all seasons. Barney is also my favorite, but I like every character.

  2. Hans, I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve been watching them yet again because I can NEVER get enough of them. Thanks for joining me in this odyssey…

    Yep, Helen is not my favorite at all. I liked Ellie and the one-time girl Mary Simpson…and some of the others…any but Helen.

    • what was the characters name who liked Andy- the actress was Tatum O’Neill’s mom? She would cook them dinner when Bee was away?

    • I just saw her…Peggy! She may have been the prettiest and she was also very nice. Yes I would include her on the ones that he should have looked twice at…with her I would have looked more than twice.

    • That is right! I mean when I saw her I was thinking…no way he turn her down in real life. What else could you want? Forget the looks…she was so much nicer.

    • she was very nice- Opie adored her…even with Helen thought there was that avoidance of commitment.. he was happy with the way things were- let’s keep it that way…nothing more serious.

    • Peggy was perfect for the show. I have to wonder if the actress had other commitments? They seemed to be setting it up. Ellie and Helen were the two that were more than a few episodes right? Peggy was on there for 2 or 3 and the Country Nurse for 1? right?

    • she appeared in 4 episodes.. I can’t recall anyone other than Ellie or Helen being there very long… It was always funny with Barney- you’d hear him on the phone with others but- some never appeared on camera.

    • Oh ok…that is more than I thought. Oh Juanita…I would have loved to have seen her.
      You know…it probably wouldn’t have fit the show but I do wish at the end…at least the series end that Barney and Thelma Lou would have married.
      I’m glad they did in the reunion.

    • Barney also seemed to have that commitment issue.. Thelma Lou had a lot of patience with Barney that Helen lacked with Andy. Do you think maybe the writers gave Helen the personality she had- to fit maybe fit a stereotype of a female teacher at that time? She certainly had no sense of humor- one thing I am noticing about Ellie in re-watching these is she is funny. Helen was not only one only unlikable regular but I can’t think of her ever being funny..

    • Not only was Ellie funny…she was fun.Thelma Lou could be funny… Was Crump intended as a permanent character off the bat? You could be right…that would fit the sterotypical female teacher at the time…. her last name suited her character…I remember Opie saying “Old Lady Crump” or something like that when she appeared.

    • Yes lol- Before Andy met her- Opie and his buddies came in yelling ‘Old Lady Crump’…. I am thinking she was meant to be a regular- and Andy’s love interest- and probably they wanted it to work out long term like it did… Ellie was fun.

    • I just read that Joanna Moore who played Peggy went temporary deaf during the episodes she was on…I wonder if that played into her leaving? Probably did…they operated on her the following year and she was fine.

    • i stand corrected- she was brought in for the one episode- but when it seemed like Andy and Helen had a chemistry on the set- they decided to go with it.

    • See I didn’t see a chemistry there…I really didn’t unless my dislike of her is blinding me.
      I did read where….but thanks for the info….that is good to know.

    • In thinking a little on it- I think Andy and Helen both liked the conflicts between one another. Peggy may not have worked because she was so sweet- there would be no conflicts… It also didn’t seem to me that Helen was wanting anything more than what Andy wanted out of the relationship either. She never seemed to pressure Andy something permanent. She certainly took herself and her career seriously.

    • I see that logic…you have to have something going on…Thelma Lou I guess would have been easier to write for because with Barney it doesn’t take much to cause a conflict with him.
      I also read that originally Thelma Lou was going to be Andy’s girlfriend….she matched Barney well though.

    • The fun girls- now there would have been two girls for Andy and Barney!… Its funny how The Darlings- Ernest T and The Fun Girls weren’t in many episodes at all but those episodes sure were memorable ones.

    • The fun girls are great! It seems like Ernest was on many but he wasn’t. I loved when Ernest found Ramona… someone as off as him!

      Oh…. one more unlikeable character… Mayor Stoner…

    • The funny thing is the woman playing Helen was supposedly a free spirit in life almost a hippie. None of that came out!

    • I was reading up a bit- and she commented that she didn’t know why the writers always wanted her and Andy in conflict like they were….. according to the book Andy and Don- Andy and Aneta Corsaut had something going on while the show was going on….

    • She had a point because she is the one that came off looking bad…even when she was right. Come to think of it…none of the other women came off like that except the one that was a good shot….Thelma Lou’s cousin I believe.

    • not that Helen came across all the time as a ‘villain’- but- all the regulars came across as likeable -other than her- someone needed to be the ‘bad guy’….i mean how couldn’t you like Floyd or Otis etc..

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