Few words put together elicit as much joy as: “I was born and raised in West Philly, the playground is where I spend most of my days…”. Will Smith’s comedic talents playing the young Philadelphia street kid From humble beginnings to being swept up in wealth are etched into most of our childhoods. Thanks to the power of streaminghas also established itself in the hearts of Gen Z, and its humor and lessons remain relevant and relatable today.

    So when the reality of a reboot came out, people were more than cynical. It is easy to attribute reboot to another ploy for money: a way to leverage The Prince’s legacy for financial gain. But actually, Bel-Air was born out of love. Peacock’s drama began as a fragment of fanfiction of Youtube, of the now director and scriptwriter of the series morgan cooper. Cooper asked himself a question: ‘What if The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a drama instead of a comedy?’

    Its nearly four-minute trailer explored Will’s origin story. Expand and open the narrative of “a little fight and my mother freaked out” it eventually uncovered a good deal of deep-seated issues that brought Smith to Los Angeles. It is something that he also does. reboot. Actor and original Prince of West Philly Will Smith interviewed Cooper for his YouTube channel, discussing the trailer he helped spearhead from concept to screen. On the fan-trailer, Smith admitted that he thought the idea was “brilliant”.

    Cooper’s inspiration for this reimagining was born from his love of the ’90s sitcom: “I remember watching, seeing what you did on the screen, which has always been a part of me”Cooper told the actor. He said that he was driving when he got the idea for a dramatized version: “It hit me like a ton of bricks and I knew I had to tell a story.”

    Fast-forward three years, history is waiting for your verdict…


    Is it worth the reboot of ‘Bel Air’?

    Let’s put it this way: You may find yourself in a similar position as Uncle Phil (the late james avery) and the Philly cheesesteak sandwich. You will openly despise it (perhaps because of the fans’ loyalty to the original), but a couple of bites and you find out what it’s all about. The truth is that the reconceptualized ‘Bel-Air’ is not bad at all. In fact, it’s pretty good. As mentioned, it gets a little closer to Smith’s real-life experiences of how he left Philly, not to grow up and stay out of trouble, but just to stay alive: “I moved to Los Angeles and started ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and all my friends started getting killed and going to jail”Smith said.

    ‘Bel-Air’ begins with Will (Jabari Banks) at the top of his game: an honor roll student with a basketball scholarship at his fingertips. However, after a match ends with gunshots and Will is arrested, the boy finds himself on gangster Rashaad’s blacklist. Fearing for the life of his daughter, Viola, also known as Vy (April Parker-Jones), sends her to live with Aunt Viv (Cassandra Freeman) and Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes). Here you have the entire cast of the series.

    the fresh prince of bel air cast karyn parsons as hilary banksm, tatyana ali as ashley banks, alfonso ribeiro as carlton banks, joseph marcell as geoffrey, janet hubert as vivian banks, alfonso ribeiro as carlton banks, will smith as william 'will' smith

    Paul Drinkwater/NBCU PhotobankGetty Images

    The difference between the personalities and physical aspects of the original series and the reboot is serious, and even more so with the introduction of the Bankses. Uncle Phil isn’t soft, Hilary isn’t a vain, money-obsessed airhead (though she does have an entrepreneurial streak), and Carlton is, shall we say, popular. Yes, the one who was very freaky and couldn’t flirt with girls, Carlton himself, here becomes the king of Bel-Air Academy. This change finds Will struggling to fit in upon arrival, while Carlton (played by Olly Shlotan), threatened by Will’s potential popularity, soon puts him out of business to stay on top.

    But, once the first shock has passed, the series becomes a really interesting narrative. This is a richer perspective (thanks to the timeslot instead of the original 30 minutes), which allows us to delve into the problems raised by ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and opens up some new questions, which are more easily talked about in today’s climate. While it will follow in the footsteps of the original series with iconic catchphrases and moments, even addressing racial tension between the black community and white cops, dealing with similar anxieties raised in the original’s ‘Mistaken Identities’ episode.

    olly shoototan as carlton banks, jabari banks as will, bel air


    The reboot finds a way to modernize situations, using social media to denounce microaggressions facing the black community. It touches on the pressure of code change and the backlash sometimes received for standing up for your cultural identity, even from your own community, for fear of causing too much of a stir. It gets gritty and one thing ‘Bel-Air’ does well is that it creates its own identity while successfully paying homage to the original. Its “buts”, however, do not lie in its execution but in its content.

    Despite its thoughtful and provocative narrative, ‘Bel-Air’ doesn’t offer viewers anything new or unexpected. Only the writer and director Kenya Barris has given us ‘Black-ish’, ‘Mixed-ish’, ‘Grown-ish’ and ‘Black AF’, all of whom do a fantastic job of speaking from art about the struggle of the black community. Away from Barris, we’ve recently seen ‘Dear White People’, ‘I Could Destroy You’, ‘Insecure’, ‘The Way They See Us’ and ‘Small Axe’ – a mix of comedy and drama, all clever, all offering their unique take on life and the difficulties of the blacks.

    With such a rich and wide selection to choose from, What can another program that discusses the same topics have to offer? When ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ hit screens in the ’90s it was fresh, innovative and easy to empathize with. Few shows spoke about the variety of issues black people face on a daily basis with such candor and charisma. ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ had a unique voice and we were, well, delighted.

    ‘Bel-Air’ has much tougher competition. While it is extremely important that these conversations continue to take place in the mainstream media and that the Black experience is talked about in open forums, the challenge is, “How do you stand out?” It is not enough to be different from your predecessor: the novelty of the comparison will probably wear off after the first season. We will have to see that ‘Bel-Air’ is doing something different across the board. Or, at the very least, it will have to be so utterly captivating that it’s impossible not to tune in.

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    We’re doing fine at the moment, thanks. It’s definitely worth giving it a try. Hopefully the new kid in the gang has a couple of surprises in store and shocking stories to match the momentum he started with.

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