I prefer to read and view things in order, for sure. But it doesn't bother me to drop into a series - television or book - when things are already full steam. Sure, there are things that won't totally make sense to me for a while, but good storytelling is good storytelling in the end.
I read the first JD Robb in an anthology. It was immediately clear to me that this was part of a series that I wanted to read, and I hunted down the rest.
The first of Laura Lipmann's Tess Monaghan series that I read was the sixth. It turned out to call back to the first, so it made reading the first after that really cool.
The first episode I watched of "Veronica Mars" was the third (so okay, not that far). And you know how that turned out.
"Buffy" was opposite "Ally McBeal for a while, so I wasn't watching it (pre-DVR). It wasn't until I read an article with Joss Whedon that I decided I should check it out. But I kept forgetting. So the first episode I watched was part two of the second season finale. There was all sorts of stuff I didn't get, but I saw enough to know I needed to start tuning in.
Same with "Battlestar Galactica". All the TWoPpers kept saying it was totally awesome and finally I decided to check it out. I was sure that I would hate it but at least I could say I tried. It was second season (not counting the mini) and so again, many nuances I missed. It was at the point where they had a team down on Caprica and the President was imprisoned and all sorts of things that had taken all this time to build to were going on. But it was clearly great. So, I started tuning in.
So, this talk by all the networks that people get lost or can't come in mid-season - I'm not sure I buy it. I think a lot of the people you lose, are people who never would have stayed anyway. These are not people who want an arcing series, they want a sitcom or a cooking show (not that there's anything wrong with that). But maybe I'm strange.