I came to Firefly a few years ago when the DM at my game played the first episode (not all of the players showed up so we couldn't play as we needed some of them for the storyline we were in) and the second episode. Afterwards he lent me the first disc for me to finish. (The other discs had been circulating in the group for a while so I guess it was my turn.)
It was like being handed a pamphlet from a cultist in an airport lobby, or a freebie from a dealer. The first episode alone piqued my interest and by the end of the first disc I was hooked and got my own set, returning the disc to my DM at our next session. Watched through the series and showed the first episode to one of my friends and he got hooked after the first epiosde. Remarking how impressed he was at the pilot and utterly confused
as to why it wasn't aired first.
I'd really go out on a limb and say "Serenity" is one of the better pilots in modern television in terms of setting up the characters and the universe. There's just something about the way the music and scenery works to set everything up. What I liked esp. is the scene between Inara with her client and the music that plays from sort-of a contemporary type-music to a much "rougher" and Asian-twangy beat as we transition to the poor-section of the planet, the Eavesdown Docks. Just something about that scene all by itself that sets up the tone of the entire series quite nicely. And as odd as it is and as much as I rack, and still rack, by brain trying to make it jive the Western Sci-Fi stuff actualy kind of works!
It doesn't make any damn sense that all of the sudden men who pilot space-ships and fly across the galaxy/a large solar sytsem are wearing dusters, riding horses, carrying old-west looking guns but it just somehow all worked. And I loved
the mixing for Chinese and English (even though it makes little sense) and the "Firefly Speak" in terms of curses and slang. God, this was such a good show. And right now we would've just had the series finale and/or possibly even entering the final season.
God, what a show this could've been. It says something when the entire first season is well made and has only one or two "weak" episodes and only weak in terms of "not as good as the best episodes."
God. Fuck you Fox!