The original Gundam show was a fairly entertaining show in of itself and in starting the Gundam franchise in earnest it did anime an enormous favour. The ride hasn't always been smooth either for Tomino the director or for those of us disappointed at the few flops in amongst this metaseries made up almost entirely of mediocre, good and sometimes masterpiece titles. Zeta Gundam is one of these masterpieces.
Anybody who's seen the original Gundam won't find it hard to point out why Zeta is even better and by a fair bit too; while Mobile Suit Gundam happened mainly on Earth Zeta happens mainly in space which works far better on an artistic level due to the very mechanics of the whole setting and medium; even now animation can't quite make Earth look on TV the way it looks in reality but space is for the most part blackness with a few white dots here and there and the occasional planet, asteroid, black hole, satellite, space colony and whatever else so it's much easier to make it look convincing and suspension of disbelief is a lot easier for the viewer to pull off when there isn't much disbelief to suspend; this goes without saying. Another factor is it does begin as your usual 1 v 1 conflict but then another party enters (although if they wanted to bloody both sides they should have entered the war when it began and if they wanted the best conditions for invading Earth they should have waited until the war had ended and then they would not only have surprise but would be unbloodied) and that makes things far more interesting. One gripe I have about the original Gundam is that the tension is nearly all false; of course a Newtype with a Gundam is going to defeat even an experienced ace but when there's 2 enemies with psychic powers to fight while your side is being hit by 2 enemy forces at the same time, now that is tension at its very best. Another reason and this is more subjective is the fact that purple is my favourite colour and the greater use of purple or similar colours is a feat for the eyes. The music is even better whether it be one of the best and most archetypal military songs ever Zeta's Pulse or the soothing English ending theme or 2nd Japanese opening you will hear some excellent songs. Finally as usual the Japanese dub is fine but the English dub is excellent with the dark nature of this series (where a teenage boy literally loses his mind and most of the main cast are killed in the final few episodes plus a defection) reflected in the cold qualities of Haman's and Kamille's voices, cold but also nice like the winter's air at daybreak.