I liked the series, but from the first episode I knew it was doomed. I saw ONE TV advertisement for Firefly a few months before it aired. When nothing from the ad was in 'The Train Job' I was wondering WTF was up with it, then when River showed up, sans box, that's when it hit me that FOX was determined to kill the show. I actually yelped out loud "Dammit! Just like ABC did to Space Rangers!"
If'n you don't remember 'Space Rangers', ABC only ordered six episodes, then only showed four of them in the USA, in the wrong order, with the first episode aired last. Can't recall the day/time it was on, but probably was put in a horrible timeslot for the type of show it was. To add insult to injury, at that time TV Guide had a full time Science Fiction reviewer/critic who was infatuated with Star Trek. "Eff it's no Star Trek eeets crrrap!" pretty much summed up his attitude. He got to rip into Space Rangers months before it aired.
Most TV network executives have never had a clue about what to do with Science Fiction shows. ST:TOS survived three years mainly because it was then a relative novelty, aimed mainly at adults instead of the kiddy fare that came before like Captain Video. ST is well, ST, and fans of it will watch *anything* called Star Trek, no matter how bad it gets.
Anything else like Babylon 5 or Firefly or Space Rangers or Space: Above and Beyond, which dares to break away from Trek's episodic nature where nothing ever really changes (the never encountered it before alien technology which could be dangerous in the wrong hands, so let's blow it up!) or has any connection/effect on later episodes, has to fight for survival. Without a 'shepherd' like JMS to put their foot down and kick butt etc, the executives will deliberately do things that will kill the show.
S:AaB seemed to be one ot the least meddled with, but FOX didn't renew it. Space Rangers- see above. Firefly- FOX demanded and got changes in the premiere, then still refused to show it. In response Whedon and Minnear slapped together 'The Train Job' and Minnear changed the episode order to 'front load' character building episodes. (He shouldn't have done that, probably wouldn't if he'd sat back and thought on it rather than reacting with panic.) Sliders- had a good start but the network as usual had no clue and sold it to SciFi. SciFi then proceeded to 'stupidize' it to the point where John Rhys Davies* demanded they either make the science aspects more plausible or kill his character. Rather than make the show better...
Idiots, bunch of IDIOTS!!!!
*Does he remind anyone other than me of the Italian opera singer Placido Domingo? I can see Davies doing a comedy opera skit as 'Placebo Domingo'.