Every once in a while you come across a show that's so completely awesome it blows your mind. Extra points come when it's something you thought looked stupid because of the pictures on the front of the case and the description on the back. This, along with it's sequal series Banner of the Stars and Banner of the Stars II did that for me. When I first saw it at the library I thought "Elves In Space with Frickin Laser Beams. There's no way it could possibly be any good." As it turns out it's now my all time favorite space opera, and the good guys are actually really cool and are usually on the stronger side. (yeah that gets rid of a lot of potential conflict, but believe me theres still plenty. Any more conflict would completely destroy the realism it achieved that I love so much.) It's got the coolest galactic empire I've ever seen, a (relatively) well thought out system of space travel, and all sorts of moral questions for me to imagine over. (If your father, who's the president, surrenders the planet to the invading empire that they have no chance to beat is it treasonous for him to use that to make a deal that ends up with him becoming nobility in the empire? Is the son a traitor to his planet for wholeheartedly embracing his new position? Can a government system with an enforced class system that doesn't automatically grant citizenship to it's subjects be good?) The show perfectly balances plot and character development, and things that would be flaws in just about anything else actualy manage to be fresh and original. It could have been the biggest cliche ever, but managed in my opinion to navigate those perilous reefs without a scratch and ended up with something epic.