Arabian Nights, ABC, April 30 and May 1

The legendary Scheherazade (Mili Avital) saved her life by spinning fabulous fictions for her murderous husband night after night. Nowadays she'd save herself some effort and just do a game show each evening. But this mini-series proves that over-the-top stories, richly told and lavishly gilded, still have some value, even at Regis' network. If you can get past the kitschy orientalism and the sometimes-tired ideas (A wacky genie! Brilliant!), you'll find this baroque epic an often thrilling carpet ride.

--By James Poniewozik


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