If playlists are important to you, theres an easy solution: Delete the Podcasts app. (Tap and hold the apps icon until it jiggles, then tap the X in the top-left corner.) Continue downloading podcasts to iTunes, adding them to the playlists you want and syncing to your iPhone or iPad. Tap the Music app, tap Other, and youll see Podcasts listed. Tap Playlists, and your podcasts playlists will be there as they used to be. You wont get the syncing of subscriptions and played episodes, but you will have more control over the podcasts you can access.
If you care about podcast playlists, its clear that the Podcasts app isnt for you. But if youre a casual podcast listener and just want the content, then subscribing to podcasts and downloading them from the Podcasts app may suit you. You may not like the interface of the Podcasts app, but it does an OK job with what its supposed to do. If you like the idea of a native iOS app but find Podcasts wanting, Seth McFarlands $2 Downcast and Joe Grafs $2 iCaster are worth a look.