Meta: Still from Peacock’s “Bel-Air” trailer
Source: Peacock

Nope, this is not a drill. Peacock announced that their upcoming drama, “Bel-Air,” will premiere on Superbowl Sunday. A new hour-long episode will premiere every week, and the show has already been picked up for two seasons. The announcement has been met with an admittedly lukewarm reception from fans of the original, but let’s take a look at why this may be a reboot worth getting excited about.

What Made the Original “Fresh Prince” So Legendary?

Meta: Will Smith, Karyn Parsons, and Ben Vereen on the “Fresh Prince” set.
Source: Deadline

The 1990s version of “Fresh Prince” encompassed the decade to a T. Clothes with bright colors and bold patterns, big hair, and laugh tracks. The show was primarily a feel-good comedic sitcom that followed Will as he went from a broke kid from Philly to living the sweet life in California, but there were some heavy moments that made the show feel real, particularly to black audiences. 

Season 1 episode  “Mistaken Identity” was a nod to the struggle that black men and women face every day in America — racial profiling at the hands of the police. The famous scene in season 4 where Smith breaks down about his deadbeat father was a moment that hit a lot of people hard, including Smith. The show expertly mixed light moments of comedy and happiness with raw elements of real life, and it resonated with audiences.

Why Mess With a Good Thing?

Meta: Jabari Banks as Will in Peacock’s “Bel-Air” trailer.
Source: Peacock

Anytime the remaking of a classic comes up, there are people who are passionately for or against it. Fresh Prince is one of those classics. With so much nostalgia tied to the original, it’s not hard to understand why many believe that the remake will not do it justice. However, there are a few reasons to put your pitchforks down until the remake premiers:

  • It’s from Will and Jada’s production house, Westbrook Studios — and who better to do justice to the original than someone who was so heavily involved in shaping it into such a major success?
  • It’s set in present day. Making “Bel-Air” a modern-day take on the story that we know and love will offer a much different perspective than the original, as there have been a lot of changes since the original went off the air in 1996. Pandemics, terrorist attacks, wars, gender and sexuality revolutions, among other events all offer a completely new pool of influence for the show.
  • It’s a drama, not a comedy. This might have some of you picking the pitchforks back up, but remember that this is a much different world than it was in 1990 when the original aired. The reboot intends to pay its respect to the original while exploring the dramatic aspects that were a little too heavy for television back in the 1990s. 
  • Morgan Cooper, the man who created the incredible fan-made trailer back in 2019, is involved. After Will Smith saw Cooper’s trailer, he connected him to the production team and insisted that he be involved with making the show. If the outcome of the show is anything like what you see in Cooper’s trailer, there’s a lot to look forward to.

All in all, “Bel-Air” stands to be a very different look at the Fresh Prince universe we’re familiar with, and it should be interesting to see how the storyline translates into a contemporary setting. Catch the series premiere on Peacock on Sunday, February 13th

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