If Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre performing doesn’t give you enough ’90s West Coast nostalgia during Super Bowl LVI, NBC Universal has you covered with the premiere of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air reboot, Bel-Air.
A trailer was released on Monday, and on Super Bowl Sunday, the first three episodes of the new series will be released on the Peacock app.
If it’s not obvious from the trailer, this won’t be exactly the same show you remember with an elementary-school aged Ashley blessing the meal with a few bars in front of Uncle Phil’s business colleagues. This show will be a dramatic, more gritty Fresh Prince with the new Will leaving West Philadelphia not because of “one little fight,” but a big fight that puts his life in jeopardy.
That may be a bit heavy after a Sunday spent devouring cheese platters and beer, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I’m definitely interested in the new Carlton and Jazz. Carlton in this version of the show is not some sweater-around-the-neck, glee club singer. He is a lacrosse player, possibly an influential member of the student council, and living the absolute teenage dream. I most certainly want to see if this new Carlton is Oz from American Pie on the lacrosse field. Our only sight of Carlton as an athlete from the sitcom is the time he stole the ball from Will and air-balled that half-court heave, creating one the best gifs of all time nearly two full decades before the invention of Twitter.
Also, in the new Bel-Air Jazz appears to be an Uber driver, because of course Will’s best friend in his new home is the person who picked him up from LAX. A real Michael Jordan, George Kohler type of friendship. I hope Jazz is still a DJ on the side, or at least a music producer. Jazz as the ultimate Los Angeles hustler would be a nice twist on the guy who kept getting launched out of the Banks’ house for repeatedly harassing Hillary.
The new Will is played by Jabari Banks. A person, per IMDB, who has no professional acting experience. He graduated from the University of the Arts, located in Philadelphia, in 2020. Banks is a musician and a basketball player which does make him a fit to play Will. That dunk early in the trailer looked realistic.
Will Smith is an executive producer on the show along with the original team from the sitcom — Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and Andy and Susan Borowitz. The show runners are T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson from Showtime’s The Chi. Also, the person whose 2019 viral video is the inspiration for this whole series is involved. Morgan Cooper made a mock trailer for what he thought the Fresh Prince of Bel Air would be, reimagined as a drama in the Gen-Z age. Cooper will be a director, writer, and executive producer on the new series.
If nothing else, this project has been approached with care. The people who made the show we love are working with a new generation of Hollywood to create something that appears to be not simply re-imagining Will, Carlton, Uncle Phil, Aunt Viv and the whole family for the 2020s. It’s attempting to take a deep dive into those characters and the struggles that they would’ve had to go through as, all of sudden, this tight-knit Black family that has been fighting the world and achieved the American dream, in Hollywood, now has to continue that fight, while caring for a member of their family that wasn’t fortunate enough to make it to the right side of the tracks.
It really is a great concept. I look forward to seeing what it looks like on the screen.