FWIW, going into Serenity with a friend who'd never seen the series before I made sure I had time to show him the 2-hour pilot and Out of Gas first. The pilot does a good job of setting up the show (and has elements pertinent to Serenity), plus you get to see howw the "newer" people join the crew. OoG does an awesome job of showing how the original crew was established, plus is often considered the best episode of the series.
was actually my introduction to Firefly
. I'd wanted to watch the series when it was on Fox, but couldn't figure out when it was supposed to air until I'd already missed several episodes (by which time I'd started school). I caught the movie on HBO (or a similar channel) perhaps a year or so after it was in theaters. I bought Firefly
the next day.
As events transpired, I think it was better to see Serenity
first, even if that meant I knew where some things were going to go. Firefly
was such a great series that I think I would've been very disappointed with the (still very good) movie if I'd seen it last.
(I also have yet to meet an anime I like . . . well, except for Yu-Gi-Oh, maybe, but that's more a case of not being able to look away if I don't escape within ten seconds of coming across it. The show is terrible, but addicts instantaneously.)