In this made-for-TV retelling of the classic tale A Thousand and One Nights, a woman discovers the ability to spin a good yarn is literally a matter of life and death. Schahriar (Dougray Scott), a powerful sultan who rules Bagdad, has developed a bitterness and distrust of women ever since he discovered his first wife was unfaithful to him. He no longer trusts the fair sex and has vowed to never marry again, but circumstances force him to wed Scheherezade (Mili Avital), a beautiful girl he's known since he was a child. Schahriar decides that if he must marry Scheherezade, he will murder her after their wedding night. Scheherezade, however, is understandably unenthusiastic about this idea, and to postpone her execution, begins regaling Schahriar with a long series of fascinating stories; by keeping him intrigued with her fables of adventure and honor, she hopes his heart will soften and she will be allowed to live. Scheherezade's stories include the tales of Ali Baba (Rufus Sewell), BacBac the Hunchback (Alexei Sayle), Aladdin (Jason Scott-Lee), the Genie of the Lamp (John Leguizamo), and many more. Arabian Nights was originally shown as a two-part miniseries, with the first episode airing on ABC on April 30, 2000.
by Mark Deming synopsis