Just finished watching the series. A completely subjective (but wholly accurate) ranking of the 14 adventures aboard Serenity.
  1. Out of Gas
    A clever, well-framed episode that shows us not only how the core crew came together, but who they are as a team. This episode epitomizes Whedon's pitch of "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things."
  2. The Message
    Jonathan M. Woodward is amazing as the soldier who fought along Mal and Zoe who is just trying to get home. We also get to see Jayne's knit hat.
  3. Shindig
    The peak of Mal and Inara's will-they-won't-they romance, and an episode that explores the human side of being an outcast.
  4. Objects In Space
    The final episode of the show brings us the most insane character yet- a talkative, sociopathic bounty hunter. We also get the world through River's eyes, and although I never found her particularly interesting, it's nice to see the crew rally around her.
  5. Ariel
    A tense excursion to a core planet, which brings Jay and Simon to their foundations. Mal's final treatment of Jay is harsh and unexpectedly poignant.
  6. Heart of Gold
    A ragtag gang of smugglers and prostitutes defending themselves against a bully. It's pure Western drama dripping with sexual tension.
  7. Serenity
    The real pilot- the one that introduces us to the gang and let's us listen to that glorious theme song for the first time.
  8. Our Mrs. Reynolds
    Christina Hendricks plays sweet, virginal, manipulative killer in her amazing stint as "Saffron" the would-be Mrs. Reynolds. She's the highlight for sure.
  9. Bushwhacked
    Genuinely made me scared of Reavers and makes me wish that there was more Firefly to do them justice. Reavers are the Chekov's gun that never fired.
  10. War Stories
    An episode that humanize the relationship between Wash and Zoe, and the first time we see River's crazy assassin powers.
  11. Jaynestown
    Very fun, and very funny, but not much else. Honestly I don't remember the central conflict. I do remember Jayne's hero song and the awkward Kaylee/Simon flirting.
  12. The Train Job
    The second pilot. The moral dilemma is a bit freshman psychology but it creates a good canvas to begin to get to know the characters.
  13. Trash
    Mrs. Reynolds back again! Christina Hendricks returns with more aliases and husbands than ever. It's fun, but a few too many "I was actually double crossing you!" moments to be anything other than fluff.
  14. Safe
    Comes off as a bit of a filler episode when we all knew the crew was going to come through for the Tam siblings eventually. River doing her dance might have been the first time I actually liked her in the series though.