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‘Bel-Air’ Introduces a Fresh Twist to a Familiar Family

This isn’t the same story about how Will’s life got “flipped-turned upside down.”  In fact, they dive into the “one little fight” that was far more than a fight, and the no-good guys were up gangbanging and drug slanging.  Needless to say, this reboot isn’t anywhere close to the original 90’s sitcom we fell in love with…it’s better! 

 In 2019, filmmaker Morgan Cooper released a trailer on YouTube for his movie based on the hit sitcom.  After going viral on social media, and garnering the attention of Will Smith himself, the movie found itself in a bidding war between HBO Max, Netflix, and Peacock. Ultimately, it solidifyied a two-season deal with Peacock and became an hour-long drama.

The Banks family is back like you’ve never seen them before, or like any other Black family you’ve seen on tv for that matter.  They’re rich in melanin, young and hip, and Black AF.  It’s a revolutionary cast that properly represents the other perspective of an affluent Black family we often don’t see. And with that comes current topics that are part of America’s landscape.  In the first three episodes that are available for streaming they touch on class, different forms of privilege, code-switching, and issues plaguing the Black community. 

This reboot isn’t for nostalgic purposes, but a greater purpose.  They’re introducing a familiar family to a new audience and giving the acquainted audience a fresh twist on a familiar story.  The show’s storylines are far from surface.  They’re full of grit and depth along with fleshed-out themes to tell a more elaborate and cohesive story.

The most noticeable thing from the original sitcom is the fact that these characters are fully developed.  There’s an interesting, yet believable growth in Carlton, and Hillary isn’t the ditz we once knew, she’s a strong-headed social media influencer. The writers also rewrote the dynamics between the characters.  Will and Carlton aren’t the loving and brotherly cousins like before.  Aunt Viv and Hilary have mountains to move, and Uncle Phil and Geoffrey are more like best friends than employer and employee. 

Bel Air has a movie-ish quality about it.  The beautiful cinematography perfectly captures the essence of positive Black stories of the Black experience.  Sadly, the one change fans of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are going to miss is the sitcom’s original theme song.  It’s been replaced by Easy Mccoy’s “Déjà Vu.”  It also hasn’t been confirmed if the original Fresh Prince will make a cameo or not, but if not, the new prince of Bel Air is doing a fine job “Mastering William.”        

Brian Anthony
I can be your cup of tea or shot of Hennessy!