Good point! Although in the novels and such between TOS and TNG some writers tried to turn the Romulans into that kind of Samurai-esque culture, before the new series began portraying them as a blend of Roman Empire and Soviet Union. Klingons of course began as (to quote David Gerrold) "Mongol hordes with ray guns and space ships." Personally I feel the Cardassians were the single best developed alien culture in Trek, beating out even the Vulcans. On a visceral level I eventually felt I understood Cardassian culture in the same way I have a real sense what Germans, French, Italians and English are like. Ever read The Uplift War by David Brin? Among the (many) alien races explored in that book are the Tymbrimi, who revere humor. To them, the greatest artform is the practical joke--which only achieves greatness if it turns around and catches the original trickster in ways he could not have possibly planned. They say when that happens, it is proof God really exists.