This Zombie-thread has shambled along and gobbled me up. I actually just last week watched the Firefly episodes on a whim - well, most of them. I skipped Jaynestown (which I've always found a bit weak and the series actually doesn't need to still make sense) and the last episode because it's too downer of a note for me to ever make it through because I always just end up going "why was it cancelled!?"
Anecdote(s) I recently learned although I think it's pretty common knowledge and I'm just out of anything resembling "the loop" - the character of Inara Serra was recast on something like the second day of shooting because the original actress in the role had no chemistry with any of the cast. And apparently had the series been able to continue, Inara was terminally ill (a point which seems to be dropped for the post-series materials of the movie and the graphic novels) - there are a few points in the series where they kind of allude to it and once you know you can understand them better in context.
And I figure this is a good place to ask - are the graphic novels worth picking up? Has anyone checked them out at all?
I loved Jaynestown. Jayne being an accidental Robin Hood, Inara getting a client to stand up to his father, etc.
Rebecca Gayheart was originally cast for Inara.
I enjoyed all the graphic novels.
Volume 1 and 2 have more heists, including appearances by Hands of Blue, Dobbs and The Operative. They seem to take place between episodes of the TV series and between the TV series and the movie (with Inara and Shepherd leaving Serenity
Volume 3 is Shepherd's back story.
Volume 4 is right after the movie, and has Jubal and The Operative.
I also liked all the companion guides -
Firefly Official Companion Volume 1
Firefly Official Companion Volume 2
Firefly Official Companion Still Flying
Serenity Official Companion
And I also liked the Serenity Blueprints Reference Pack. I think the same company has a guide about the 'Verse, but I haven't gone after that yet.