Tell us (briefly) why you like the mods--might help.
I love the custom-designed intricacies of things Distant Stars has worked out. Beware their pirate raids!
7Deady Sins is a hoot and breaks all the limits but really loaded to the gills so its not always smooth. Has some of the most monstrously heavy ships ever made for a mod.
Maelstrom is awesome. I love the continual production of plus-sized capitals and when those custom capitals are destroyed they do things like stall and fall down in a dive before detonating--very cool. Well balanced and a whole different feel.
Nova's mod Novus Universum is really intersecting as well and worth going through but its tough in cpu usage too. It features moons.
Zombie Rus and MyFist0 are working on mods primarily with improved planet graphics and loading and will be great to see.
Celestial Bodies is a great way to see new planets and stars but still play the core game.
Multiple Stars Graphic Mod (MSMG) is essential if you are making large maps (or playing them) and need to zoom out a lot to view widely separated planets in a large galaxy. It removes the galaxy clouds around zoomed out stars.
Stars looks to be a very interesting mod but I have had an issue getting it to run since 1.2 came out. I keep getting "Distant Stars" instead of Stars whenever I try to load it.
I'd like to hear what specifically makes a particular mod fun if you've played it.