“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the beloved sitcom starring Will Smith that aired for six seasons in the 1990s, is officially coming back — being rebooted as simply “Bel-Air” on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. Peacock released the first trailer
for the series on Monday and announced it would begin streaming on February 13.
But the new show looks different than what fans of the original may expect. While that show was a half-hour sitcom, “Bel-Air” is an hour-long drama, reimagining the initial story with a darker subtext.
“Set in modern-day America, Peacock’s new one-hour drama series Bel-Air reimagines the beloved sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air through a new, dramatic take on Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air,” a synopsis for the show on YouTube reads. “As these two worlds collide, Will … reckons with the power of second chances while navigating the conflicts, emotions, and biases of a world far different from the only one he’s ever known.”
Though the theme song for the original show briefly describes why Will left West Philadelphia — “I got in one little fight and my mom got scared” — the trailer goes deeper, depicting Will, now played by Jabari Banks, firing gunshots into the sky, followed by police officers shoving his head into the concrete moments later. In this reboot, someone from Will’s hometown wants him dead, hence his escape to Bel Air.
There are other differences, too: Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv, for one, appear much younger in the new series, and some users on social media have questioned the casting of Adrian Holmes, who replaces the late James Avery
as the family patriarch. (One, albeit minor, complaint: Holmes is simply “too hot”
to play the stubborn, fatherly Uncle Phil.)
Another difference? Cousin Carlton, played by Olly Sholotan, is not the same nerdy Alfonso Ribeiro with a token funny dance. He’s almost cool — with toned biceps and a friend circle comprised of lacrosse players.
One thing, though, remains the same. Smith is still involved, though now as an executive producer rather than the star. He uploaded the trailer on his Instagram page
following its debut, where it has now received more than 1 million views.