Watch the show, and you'll want most of the characters off the show. Seriously, though, give the DVDs a chance. A few stories tie in well with G1.
Back on topic... I like most of the figures, actually, but my favourites...
Rampage - All three modes are cool. Working treads in tank mode, his gun spins the barells and fires. Decent articulation. His real weakness is he's a little top heavy, but you can still balance him pretty easy on his feet if you try.
Tarantulas (regular) - I like the regular Trarantulas better than the Transmetal version (although it's ok too). He's a pretty cool looking robot. Plus you can probably still find him in the 10th anniversary re-releases. I like that he can rip his spider arms off and use them as missiles.
TM2 Megatron - Amazing shiny dragon goodness. The only weakness of this figure is in robot mode his dragon arm looks kind of limp. Otherwise, he's great.
TM2 Blackarachnia - This is what a female transformer should look like.
Her one bad point is she has a kicking action that in mine's case makes her waist a little loose to stand. She looks great in beast mode, though, as well as robot mode.
TM2 Iguanus - The beast mode looks cool, but I love this guy's robot mode. He's got some very humanistic looking stuff on him. An eye patch, a kind of "skirt" around the back of him... well, a manly skirt, like a kilt or roman warrior would have. I also like the way the tail hangs down the back of his head, makes it look like he's got some crazy hair hanging down. He's also got really good articulation.
Insecticon - A cool little guy. He's got a crossbow hidden in two parts under his beatle wings. I don't know what it is about this guy, but I like him.
Razorclaw (crab) - A cool crab guy that looks neat in both modes.
You may also want to check out some Universe repaints that were pretty good. Tigerhawk repainted as Universe Razorclaw is amazing. TM2 Iguanus' repaint as Reptilion is cool as well.