I thought that I had written a review for this the first time that I saw it, several years back, but I can find no such thing.
I watched FMA back before Brotherhood was in the works, and so I thought that I would rewatch it, followed by Brotherhood, to better compare the two. As I have only watched FMA at the moment, however, this is simply a review of that.
I can't say how it compared to the manga, as I've never read it, but this show was finished before the manga was, so I don't know why people complain it doesn't follow the manga. How could it, when it was being made while the manga was as well?
Aside from that, this is a grand show. Not one of my favorite animes, but close. It's a little too gorey for my tastes, but the animation itself is great, the many of the characters are unforgettable, and this story deals with some very serious issues where there is no easy answer.
It can be a rather depressing show at times (*sob* Why did you have to die?), but it also has some humor sprinkled in, and the few filler episodes that exist are well done, in my opinion.
The ending of the show isn't really an ending. I do vaguely recall that I had to watch the FMA movie afterwards, in order to be happy with things.
Aside from the show being a little gruesome and depressing, I don't have much negative to say about it. While I don't plan on watching it again, I certainly loved it, as can be seen by all of the nights I stayed up late watching episode after episode.