At first, I thought Firefly was going to be some crappy, live action knock-off of Cowboy Bebop; the premise was similar, and I suspected the worst. But I think after a few episodes the show really hit its stride, and I realized this was a show that could stand on its own.
The conundrum about this show is that it's at once amazing and borderline bad. There's a certain art derived from slightly awkward script, predictable plots, and cheesy drama, and Firefly takes full advantage of that. It's a little campy, but it sucks you in. By the end I was entirely invested in all the characters. (Except Malcolm) I just don't like Malcolm's character; and I say his character because it's not just him. This guy, this rough, noble, semi-emotionally stunted guy, is such a stereotype, and I hate him each time he shows up. I mean, there's nothing really special about Malcolm, he's not particularly smart or a very good leader or funny or clever. He's not even necessarily an amazing fighter. He's completely based on honor and strength of will, and I just think that's so cliche. In my opinion, Zoe should have been captain, and I stand by that. *Spoilers* I was so *ugh* about Malcolm's whole romantic drama with Inara- I knew it was going to happen since the first episode, and it's just- why does the main character always have to have a romance with the prettiest woman in the show? Why couldn't they just have been platonic friends? It annoys me that Inara had to be used as a plot device instead of as an individual person. Although I was surprised, in the end, that she left- I thought she would turn back, I didn't think she would actually just walk out. So that says something about her independence, which I respect. *Spoilers over*
It's such a shame Firefly was cancelled; I felt that it had really started to become something special towards the end of the season. We didn't really get to learn about the characters' backstories that were hinted at (ex: Inara, Shepherd Book, River) and we didn't find out really about the government scheme with River. I guess I'll have to go watch Serenity. However, in my opinion, what allows Firefly to be such a cult show is that it was cancelled before its time. Because there are so many loose ends, you can make it whatever you want it to be; anything can happen in your imagination, the characters' backstories can be whatever you want them to be. What if the show had gone on, and the audience didn't like where it was going, didn't like how the characters changed? Now we never have to worry about that. It's bittersweet, I guess.
In conclusion, I think I jumped the gun on the criticism for this show. I ended up really enjoying it, and I think that there are a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions it brings to light and/or completely shatters without a care. It's pretty awesome.
9/10 on the enjoyment scale :)