Yeah, it's clear that you basically have to do everything in ME1 again if you want to have the perfectly customized experience in ME2.
The game seems to set some global values in the plot if you start a fresh ME2 character, but that's about it.
It's funny though. If EA decided to charge for a "background creator" that let you make your own Shepard to import into ME2, I'd almost certainly pay for it just to save the time of playing through ME1 again. Oh well.