He didn't like that the characters were so different. "And they killed my favorite character." I hadn't realized Wash was his favorite (though I'm not surprised; I actually would have pegged Jayne for his favorite before we started watching, but I can also see why he's not at all a Jayne fan).
He thought River was awesome but so not the same character as in the series. I pointed out the whole subconscious trigger thing.
I'm willing to handwave badass!Simon plus the safe word (which obviously Joss didn't have in mind when he wrote "Objects in Space"). And I fully admit that the movie does not successfully transition from the series (or from a blank slate if you come to it cold -- he said he thought he disliked the movie because he had seen the series, but I pointed out that it's hard to care about the characters if you don't have the series behind you, and he conceded the point), and certainly it's darker than the series (and not always in ways that I like) but I think it has a lot of redeeming factors. He thought the main plot was too contrived, whereas that's one thing I think can fit with series canon without real difficulty. Sigh. I am glad he watched it, though. [I talked to Rich also -- see below -- and mentioned the movie, which he hasn't seen, and he asked if I owned it and I said yes and he asked to borrow it, despite my warnings that it's darker and flawed. But first he's working his way through the series.]
Rich saw "Shindig" and thought it has no redeeming value. This made me sad since it is one of my favorite/most-happy-making episodes.
He said it made Inara much more one-dimensional of a character, her attachment to that society. I argued for her ambiguous feelings about her place in that society.
I'm willing to handwave the Atherton thing -- though as he points out, if she's supposed to be so great at reading people, why is she with him?
He was also surprised that nobody else picked up the show after FOX axed it -- since Joss has a big fanbase and all.