Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday, or rather, a bonus Wildcard Wednesday! Yes, I know you came here expecting the first post in our series on the best of The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968, CBS), and believe me, it’s written and waiting for you: an approximately 3000-word essay on the primary elements of the series’ identity, along with a carefully chosen list of ten favorite episodes from the opening season. But I’m going to be on the road and away from my computer in the early part of this week, which means I can’t do my usual copy editing and comment responding that I enjoy, especially for every premiere post in a series. (Also, between us, I don’t like to begin a new show on the last day of the month — it feels so ill-timed!) So, I’m pushing back the start of our coverage to next week, and we’ll double up — two Sitcom Tuesdays back-to-back — at some point within the next few months (after Andy Griffith).
In the meantime, I want to say goodbye to the 1950s — covering The George Burns And Gracie Allen Show, The Phil Silvers Show, Leave It To Beaver, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, after initially featuring I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, and Our Miss Brooks, has been a thorough joy and led to some of my favorite posts of all time. I’m especially proud of my work these past six months and leave this era with very few regrets — the only two being that I wish all of Mister Peepers and The Bob Cummings Show were available, as those are the remaining series I think have something extra to tell us about situation comedy in the 1950s.
I’m not sure yet how many series I’ll be featuring from the 1960s — after having already looked at The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Green Acres, That Girl, and He & She, which I consider seminal works of the decade (and The Mothers-In-Law and Here’s Lucy, which are fascinating, though not imperative) — but I do know that Andy Griffith is one of the most important comedies of the era and I couldn’t leave this blog without honoring it. So, I’m looking forward to sharing these upcoming posts with you, and I hope you’ll enjoy them. (Although, for your own expectations, please keep in mind that I’m never an easy critic.) But first, I hope you’ll indulge me with another list — something that’s come up here lately: my choice for the best sitcoms per TV season. We’ll start with 1950 and I’ll give you a little tease of what I think about Andy Griffith and the ’60s by stopping at 1965. (Also, I’m only considering series we’ve covered here in some capacity, so 1950-’51 has no competition.)
1950-’51: THE GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN SHOW Season One
1951-’52: I LOVE LUCY Season One
1952-’53: I LOVE LUCY Season Two
1953-’54: I LOVE LUCY Season Three
1954-’55: I LOVE LUCY Season Four
1955-’56: THE HONEYMOONERS Season One (Runner-up: The Phil Silvers Show)
1956-’57: THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW Season Two
1957-’58: THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW Season Five
1958-’59: THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW Season Six
1959-’60: THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS Season One
1960-’61: THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW Season One
1961-’62: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW Season One
1962-’63: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW Season Two
1963-’64: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW Season Three
1964-’65: BEWITCHED Season One
So, thanks for understanding about this last-minute preemption. Stay tuned tomorrow for an Andy Griffith-related treat and the start of a possible new recurring feature. And don’t worry, full coverage of The Andy Griffith Show will begin a week from today!