Another thing to consider - although this goes against some of my earlier, more critical posts - is the name and theme of this new series: Brotherhood. I think part of my difficulty with this new series is the removal of specific scenes out of a very established storytelling flow and their use in a completely different manner.
Alright, that last sentence sounded really vague, so let me give some specific examples:
First and foremost, we have the human transmutation sequence. In both the manga and the first anime, this scene was not presented in its entirety until much further into the series and was used to build intrigue throughout the show. When it did appear, the viewers were already aware of of what had occurred, and because of this fact, the transmutation was a dramatic reinforcement of the show's themes of sacrifice and brotherly love.
The use of the transmutation in the new series is completely different than its use in the other show or even the manga. As dramatic as it is, the transmutation is still a part of the show's expositional episodes. I think this fact is contributing to why some, including myself, have considered the emotions elicited by episode two to be 'plastic.' However, when viewed in light of the fact that this scene is being used solely to establish the brotherly connection between Ed and Alphonse, it's early inclusion makes more sense (although I still consider it to be waste of dramatic material "too much, too soon") and serves to establish the theme of Brotherhood (which may also explain why episode two focuses more on the brothers and less on Trisha).
An alternate view which compatible with the analysis just mentioned is that this new show doesn't really get going until the episode featuring Liore. As much as I favored the original approaches to the transmutation sequence, I am willing to concede, as Kyelinn and others have posted, that these introductory episodes were 'rushed for a reason.' This doesn't excuse what I consider to be subpar directing, but I do have hopes that the series will dramatically improve over time. Liore is a sandbox event, where all the themes of the show, including the brother's affection, the search for the philosopher's stone, and the religious overtones of sin and redemption are featured. If the new show is able to handle this material in a competent fashion, it will go a long way towards making FMA: Brotherhood feel like a show in its own right rather than a collage of manga images set to music.
Now, moving on to a second example of this new director's re-appropriation of story devices: in the manga, the transmutation circle was explained early on during the Liore incident in a very linear fashion. Radio breaks, this is a transmutation circle, this is what it does. Simple, intriguing and informative. The new show starts with the shot of a circle and then proceeds to demonstrate the Ice Alchemist's abilities without ever explaining exactly why the circle is necessary. Episode one of Brotherhood then introduces other alchemists, circle first, in a very shonen-esque "this is the hero and his symbol, this is the villain and his symbol, these are their powers" manner. A slightly less intriguing scenario, but still a valid one and an interesting use of the transmutation circle, culminating in one of the nicer directorial touches of FMA thus far: Ed's 'second reveal' as the Fullmetal Alchemist.
When first introduced, Ed is shown to transmute by the clapping of his hands alone. Isaac is shocked, exclaiming: "Without even a circle?!" to which Ed replies: "You can't afford to be so intrigued!" This is a great verbal set-up of both Ed's personality AND the fact that a reveal of this mysterious talent is soon to follow; sure enough, Ed and Al's final confrontation sheds new light on this mystery. Ed's transmutation circle, and the ironic meaning of the Fullmetal Alchemist, are bound up in the circle in Al's armor. The dramatic music cues as a response to the ''complete' revelation that Fullmetal has more to do with Ed's brotherly love than his automail limbs, and presents one of my favorite moments in the new show. I thought the director struck a great balance between an intriguing introduction for newcomers and a "he's back!" scene for the more established fans.
A third example of the new show's style would be the seemingly excessive amount of short jokes present in episode one. While some have expressed an issue with this, I never really had a problem with the jokes, as they were asking a fundamental and important question (especially for new viewers) - namely, why in the world is the younger brother twice the height of the older brother AND wearing a huge suit of armor (with the voice of a child, nonetheless!). I thought these jokes, along with the dinner scene with the Hughes' family nicely built up the mystery around Al and his armor before the big reveal during the confrontation with Isaac. Even these jokes helped to further the theme of Brotherhood, demonstrating that perhaps some of us, myself included, are being too quick to dismiss the competence of this new director.
As a final, more general observation, I can also see a trend in this new show to reveal things early on without clarification and to slowly fit the pieces of the puzzle together over time. The best example so far of this would be the philosopher's stone. Episode one gave us a red glow, and Ed's amazed face exclaiming: "A philosopher's stone!?" While we saw Isaac's masterplan unfold, it was not until episode II that we learned the philosopher's stone was a catalyst for alchemical reactions. While I see what the director is doing, I enjoyed FMA1's more streamlined storytelling where when a revelation was made, it came with an explanation - it made the first season more like a movie and less like a tv show, a quality that I appreciated greatly.
This post is getting rather long (seems to be a bad habit of mine ), so I'll end it here. My purpose in this post was to agree with Kyelinn to a degree that there may be a method to this madness. Clearly, Bones and all those involved in this project would not slop a new FMA together haphazardly, and while I enjoy the directing style of the original show more at this point, I do concede the possibility that my dislikes may arise, in part, because of my difficulty of allowing the established story to be told in a different manner.
Here's hoping that episode three will begin laying my doubts to rest!