While I think there are huge flaws with Foundation, having a genetic Emperor is a massive Sci Fi idea. The 3 stages of life thing. I think I will track down the source material for this and read it. It's an Asimov book, right? I bet if J. Michael Straczynski had done this show it would have been a lot better. The politics here are interesting.
It does feel like a bit of chore to watch from time to time - a few too many digressions.
But the Dawn, Day and Dusk idea for the emperor is a fantastic and very compelling story to follow, as you said. Lee Pace can be a bit hammy in the role, but he still keeps it interesting.