This first season is a very odd one indeed compared to most of the rest. I have not watched the early subsequent seasons for quite some time now, but there must have been quite an overhaul quite soon to keep the show appealing enough to remain on the air for the time that it did. I think that the backwoods country attitudes expressed are likely quite authentic but probably proved too seri-comically hayseed for an early seventies audience and certainly more so for audiences in close to 2010.
These early episodes have been very oddly directed or edited. Some of the scenes are glacial and pointless. The apple orchard harvesting from a few shows back went on and lingered for an eternity and there are many others like that. Literally nearly showstopping.
I do feel though that the acting by the main characters was superb. I felt that some of the kids were not that great later on but here they are quite fine. The four main adult characters were always in top form throughout the series.
This episode was actually quite enjoyable and somewhat touching but all that transpired with John Boy, Mary Ellen etc is all pretty much predictable. It is interesting for me though to find enough in each show to keep my attention, even if I know what is going to happen.
Maybe more later on as this broadcast cycle continues.