Just discovered this board a couple days ago, and I thought I'd join up! I've probably got a different view point from most people on this forum as I am completely new to the FMA universe (not new to anime though, don't know how I've managed to miss FMA over the years....).
I've decided to start with FMA: Brotherhood. I'm watching the english dubs, so I'm basically just waiting for each volume to come out on dvd. I've got the first 3 thus far, so I'm basically just a few episodes into the Briggs stuff.
I'm LOVING the series so far. It's quickly become one of my all time favorite shows. I don't know how it stands up to the manga and/or first series, but I've had an easy time following it, and as I first time viewer, I don't find it rushes at all. If I had to be really nitpicky, I'd say the animation quality on a couple of episodes is a little lower than others which is a tad unfortunate, but overall, I'm very happy with the series. And the work they put into the english dub is REALLY good (granted, I havn't watched with the japanese VO's yet to compare)
As for favorite characters, I pretty much love them all, but if I had to narrow it down, I'd say (in no particular order) Ling, Armstrong, Mustang, Envy & Al. Can't narrow it much more than that, lol.
Anyways, nice to come to the site, I'll probably peruse lightly for now until the rest of Brotherhood releases so that I don't spoil anything for myself, but so far it's fantastic.
PS - Probably gonna read the manga after Brotherhood is over & then give the first anime a go.