The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is getting a reboot on Peacock titled Bel-Air, but while the new series takes its inspiration from the classic Will Smith sitcom, the tone of the show is expected to be different.
Bel-Air stems from a video by Morgan Cooper that went viral on YouTube and caught the attention of Smith. The Hollywood star put his support behind the young filmmaker and now Cooper is serving as director, executive producer and co-writer (along with T.J. Brady and Rashee Newson) on the series; Smith is also executive producing the series.
Peacock has previously mined the classic NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell for a Peacock reboot.
Here is everything that we know so far about Bel-Air.
What is the plot of ‘Bel-Air’?
The classic theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sums up its plot pretty well. In West Philadelphia born and raised … actually, probably better just to have Will Smith tell it.
But basically, the show starred Smith as a kid went from growing up on the rough and tough streets of Philadelphia to living in the Bel-Air mansion of his aunt and uncle. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a half-hour sitcom that played on Smith’s big personality, and while it did feature a number of episodes dealing with issues including gun violence, discrimination and absentee fathers, it was first and foremost a comedy.
That is where Bel-Air will differ, as it is distinctly a drama. The show will be an hour-long drama that keeps the basic premise of the original show, but transports it to modern day America and dives deeper into the real conflicts that would come from a kid from West Philadelphia uprooting his life and moving in with his upper-class relatives in California.
The official synopsis from Peacock reads:
“Set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the 90’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.”
Who is in the ‘Bel-Air’ cast?
The first job of Bel-Air was to cast the new actor taking on the role that made Will Smith a star. That honor was given to actual Philadelphia native Jabari Banks, a completely fresh face as he has no previous credits, according to IMDb. Banks found out the news from Smith himself.
Peacock recently announced the other main cast members that will make up the Banks family. They are:
- Adrian Holmes - Phillip Banks
- Cassandra Freeman - Vivian Banks
- Olly Sholotan - Carlton Banks
- Coco Jones - Hilary Banks
- Akira Akbar - Ashley Banks
- Jimmy Akingbola - Geoffrey
- Jordan L.Jones - Jazz
- Simone Joy Jones - Lisa
When is the ‘Bel-Air’ release date?
The first news about Bel-Air came in fall 2020 when Peacock ordered two seasons from Cooper and his creative team. Now, production is getting underway in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
However, in terms of a release date for the series on Peacock, that is to be determined. It certainly won’t be arriving any time before 2022.
Is there a ‘Bel-Air’ trailer?
With production just getting underway, no footage from the show is available. But what we do have is the original trailer from Cooper that can give people a sense of the tone of Bel-Air, which is quite different from the 90s sitcom. Watch the trailer below.
How to watch ‘Bel-Air’
Whenever Bel-Air makes its way to viewers, it will do so through the Peacock streaming service. The NBCU-owned service features an entirely free version that allows viewers to watch classic TV shows and movies, but if you want to watch Peacock Originals, which Bel-Air will be, you will need a subscription to Peacock Premium.
The original series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is actually available to stream on HBO Max, as is the reunion special that debuted on the streaming service in 2020.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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