I feel like Firefly is the Arrested Development of Sci Fi. Everyone who watched it loved it, yet not many people watched it.
You know I honestly feel like neither statement there is true.
The second one really depends how you define 'not many people'. Firefly was a series being talked up a lot on these forums before it was even aired; although I was not a Whedon fan I was cajoled into checking out the pilot episode for his new space opera yarn. Whedon was already pretty popular with a lot of Star Trek fans I knew for Buffy and Angel, and the creator of these pieces running off to do a space opera had already sent them into apoplexy. Like The Dark Knight
much later, this is the sort of thing where you can actually partially trace the positive fan buzz to well before the title was even released. I even remember a couple of the arguments - notably, for the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds", some people were down right furious about Book Shepherd's joke that deadpannedly connects people who talk in movie theatres with more serious crimes. The series has recieved continuous attention on these forums ever since and can easily be considered one of the most discussed non-Star Trek space opera titles on these forums.
But let's remove ourselves from the little bubble of space opera fandom for a moment. Is Firefly still so neglected? In general geekdom it's been my experience that more
people have seen Firefly then, say, Babylon 5 or Farscape... and often it'll get more recogniton with a geek crowd even then Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica.
The series may have never been some big mainstream hit on the order of Lost, but Firefly is far, far
from being one of those perennial unheard and unseen series.
And universally loved, well, I can again look at these boards, which back in the day
had plenty of acrimony between Firefly fans and anti-fans, before the show as even cancelled... and all over again when the movie came out. And battled ceaselessly ever since. I dropped the series on its first run after "Our Mrs. Reynolds", subsequently checked the show out on DVD and reluctantly conceded that despite my biases and talking points, it can be considered an excellent series and one of the best space opera titles in recent years (and in general).