I wonder if any of our first time watchers are watching episodes with the introduction to the show by Mal/Book that explains the basic premise. The episodes on Hulu have this but I don't think the dvd's do.
You are absolutely correct, additionally the DVD's do not have the cut scene shown before the commercials where they show the ship in the same way the name of the show is shown at the beginning. I didn't see the show during its original run and the DVD set was bought for me by a friend in a "pass-along if you like" deal. It wasn't until I watched a replay of the show on some long forgotten channel that I saw Mal's intro and those cut scenes.