I don't mean to attack those episodes here, but there are some real reasons why a lot of us don't think they're as good. I hope this helps you understand us critics better.
I've introduced a few friends to the podcast. Before I started telling them to skip to episode 32 none of them enjoyed it, and none of those people listen now. None of them.
I can see where they come from too. I enjoyed it at the very beginning but there are major problems. The group dynamic never really got to a great place until 32, although there were some signs of Tum, Thom, and Aludra clicking. The D&D side of things was pretty rough too. As somebody who was familiar enough with 4e by then, that was incredibly frustrating. There were awkward interactions and podcast confusion and times when the cast were just struggling to find their feet. Before Thrifty realized how you fix 4e combat the fights were terribly boring too.
I get frustrated sometimes by the amount of fluff and bullshit tangents they sometimes go off on, but I think that actually helps smooth over some of the rough patches of actual play, and makes the show as a whole more fun. Sure, more D&D would be nice sometimes. But they need the fluff to keep their dynamic and their show running smoothly.
I love the podcast and I love the early episodes. But If the episodes were my children, those would be the ugly ones who I told "I love all of you equally," but then didn't pin any of my hopes on. If you want to understand why a lot of us feel this way, you may want to go back an listen to the early ones again. I didn't understand the hate either until I went back and compared it to the recent stuff.
It would be nice to have an occasional long episode though. I don't know if the cast would be able to do it with how busy their lives have gotten since then, but those long episodes sure were fun, and we got to see an awful lot happen.
I hope this was useful.