The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has gotten a reboot on Peacock titled Bel-Air. 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 and hopes to have similar success with this '90s favorite.
Here is everything that we know so far about Bel-Air.
How to watch Bel-Air season 1?
The Bel-Air season 1 has wrapped up. Fans can now watch all 10 episodes of the first season at their leisure.
For US viewers, Bel-Air is available exclusively on the Peacock streaming service. In the UK, the latest episodes of Bel-Air are also shown on Peacock, as the service is available exclusively on Sky and NOW at no additional cost.
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 (opens in new tab).
But basically, the show starred Smith as a kid that 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.”
Here are the synopses for each episode of Bel-Air season 1:
Bel-Air season 1 episode 1: "Dreams and Nightmares"
"Will Smith, a talented West Philadelphia teenager, is sent to live with family in Bel Air. Upon arriving, he discovers how different things are and that this is his chance at a new beginning."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 2: "Keep Ya Head Up"
"Will finds he doesn't fit in at his new school in Bel-Air and realizes he'll need to rethink how he navigates this new world. The Banks family starts to adjust to life with Will."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 3: "Yamacraw"
"Attending Uncle Phil's Black fraternity event helps Will find his groove with his family and peers, and it becomes clear that his stay in Bel-Air will be more permanent."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 4: "Canvass"
"The Banks family rallies around Uncle Phil to ramp up his campaign; Will's past starts to catch up to him, and he finds help in an unexpected place."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 5: "PA to LA"
"When Will's friend Tray visits, his loyalty to Philly is put to the test. The Banks family supports Hilary by hosting an influencer event."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 6: "The Strength to Smile"
"The Banks family supports Lisa when they host an event in memory of her mother at the mansion. Will puts his feelings of mistrust aside and steps up to the plate for the Banks' and Lisa."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 7: "Payback's a B*tch"
"Will and Carlton throw a house party at the Banks mansion. When Phil unexpectedly shows up at Viv's art event, their relationship is shaken by a lack of trust. Hilary stands up to Kylo after he posts a video of her without her consent."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 8: "No One Wins When the Family Feuds"
"As the Banks family celebrates Will's birthday, his mom comes to visit, causing unexpected tension; the adults consider whether it's time to tell Will about his father."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 9: "Can't Knock the Hustle"
"The Banks family goes to church; Will considers taking the opportunity to find his father, unknowingly driving a wedge between Phil and Geoffrey."
Bel-Air season 1 episode 10: "Where To?"
"Will's father makes a surprise appearance when he shows up unexpectedly and exposes a long-buried secret after telling the truth about where he's been."
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 (opens in new tab).
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
Get a more in-depth look at the Bel-Air cast right here.
Is there a Bel-Air trailer?
Peacock has released the official trailer for Bel-Air, and its a far cry from the '90s sitcom starring Will Smith, in a good way. While the premise and characters are the same, the trailer showcases a far more dramatic and epic story for Will and the Banks. Check it out below.
Peacock has released a second trailer, this one more of a tease showcasing why Will is forced to move to Bel-Air before offering some quick glimpses at what is in store in his new west coast home.
Of course, the theme song for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was just as popular as the '90s sitcom, and in ad for the show that is expected to air during the Super Bowl, Will Smith and fans from around the world help to recreate it. Check it out here:
And just in case you are curious, this is the original YouTube video that inspired the reimagining of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
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 DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).
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