The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete First Season Studio: Paramount Year: 1960-1961 Rated: NR Length: 15 Hours, 15 Minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Audio: English Dolby Digital Mono Closed Captioned Special Features: None Expected Street Price: $30 USD Release Date: November 16, 2004 The Andy Griffith Show is one of those timeless television programs with universal and lasting appeal. The down-home humor seems to work whether or not you come from a small town like Mayberry, or a large metropolis - though I’m sure the show carries a bit more weight with those of us who have firsthand experience with small town living. An endearing cast of characters is portrayed by a wonderful and talented ensemble, helping to make The Andy Griffith Show a historic achievement in television comedy. Andy Griffith plays Andy Taylor, widower, father to young son Opie (Ron Howard), and sheriff and Justice of the Peace of the tiny North Carolina town of Mayberry. Andy and Opie live with Aunt Bee (Francis Bavier), who acts as the mother of the household and exudes Southern Hospitality. Barney Fife (Don Knotts) is Andy’s cousin, and holds the job of deputy sheriff. He’s a lovable guy, but incompetent in most aspects of life - especially in his role as lawman. Thankfully, the town of Mayberry has no crime. The cast of regulars is rounded out, in this first season, by Ellie Walker, Otis (the town drunk), and Floyd the barber. Paramount serves up the original 32 episodes from season one in this DVD set. The Transfers This is, without a doubt, the best I’ve ever seen this show look. The elements used for the transfer were nearly pristine, with just a speck here and there. Considering these elements are 44 years old, I’m amazed by the quality. The picture is usually sharp, with an occasional soft scene here and there. There is an occasional hint of edge enhancement - but it is very slight and only visible under the right conditions. Contrast is excellent, overall, with solid black levels and good shadow detail. Grain is variable, as on the original elements. The vast majority of the time, grain is very fine and tight, with only a scene here and there where it becomes a bit courser. I have to say, after years of seeing deteriorated prints playing in reruns, I am pleasantly surprised at the sharpness, detail and contrast delivered by these discs. The sound is Dolby Digital Mono. There is some occasional mild hiss, especially noticeable in quieter passages. The hiss is of variable intensity, and is not always present - and it is the only defect of note in the audio. The dialog is always crisp, clean and intelligible, and music sounds as you would expect for a monaural source of this age. Special Features There are no special features. This is the one and only disappointment for fans of the show. It would have been nice to, at the very least, have had a thirty minute retrospective with interviews with surviving cast members. On the other hand, with a budget price of around $30 for the set, it’s hard to complain. Final Thoughts Fans of The Andy Griffith Show will be pleased with the audio-video quality of this set, and with the price. Those who are looking for extra features will be disappointed. For me, I’m happy to see a budget priced set with superb quality, so I can see these episodes cleanly and uncut for the first time in years.