This was the original, unaired two hour pilot episode. It also sounds like it may be the last episode ever broadcast.

Cast

Nathan Fillion
as Malcolm Reynolds
Gina Torres as Zoe
Alan Tudyk as Wash
Morena
Baccarin
as Inara
Jewel Staite as Kaylee
Adam Baldwin as Jayne
Sean Maher as
Dr. Simon Tam
Summer Glau as
River Tam
Ron Glass as Book

Crew

Written and directed by Joss Whedon.

The complete IMDB listings can be found here.
The official website can be found here.

Original Airdate


Serenity
originally aired on Friday,
December 20, 2002.

Premise

The original two hour pilot episode, this explains how Shepherd Book,
Simon Tam, and River Tam joined the crew.

High Point

“What do you pay him for?”

Low Point

The recycled jokes. I know they were in this one first, and then they
were used in other episodes when there was doubt this would ever air,
but the viewers have already seen them.

The Review

This would have felt incredibly original had it been aired
first. It also would have done a much better job of setting up the
technological diversity of this universe. Unfortunately, the decision
to air this later (which I do not understand) hurt its impact when it
finally arrived. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects are a little more extravagant in some cases then
we’ve seen until now. The shots of the ship kicking up its engines,
for example, seem to be more complex than they’ve since become. I
give it 5 out of 6.

The story was well woven together; without the opening
credits, you wouldn’t know which, if any, passengers would stay on
board until after the conversation in the mess hall. There were at
least three threads going, all of which taught the viewer a lot about
the characters and their relationships. This is a good episode, and
an excellent pilot. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting seems to be more in line with the later episodes
this season than the early ones. The cast seems to be more
comfortable with themselves now than in some of the episodes produced
just after it. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response in this episode was strong. I laughed
at the jokes, and I actually would have cared about some of these
characters at the end of this pilot than I did at the end of the pilot
we had. This does a much better job of setting up what odds they’ll
be facing and why they’re together than The Train Job did.
Most of that is probably due to the two hour length, that provides
them with the time they needed to get these things right without
rushing them. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was what we’ve come to expect from Mutant
Enemy and Joss Whedon. The interestingly out of sync vidual and audio
cuts while Inara was at work also did an excellent job of setting up
her duplicity between her feelings and her on the job behaviour. I
give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this should have been the pilot that was broadcast.
It’s paced in line with most of the rest of the series, it introduces
the characters well, starting from how they actually came together,
and finishing with why they relate to each other the way they
do. Still, it never gets so mired with introductions that it stops
being interesting in its own right. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Serenity receives 35 out of 42.