The prince comes back to Bel-air


Bel-Air, a new series streaming on Peacock, follows fellow ‘90s sitcom Full House by rebooting a series almost three decades later, this time with a brand new cast and modern take on the story. While the main characters retain their affiliations with the original series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the new story takes a drastic change from the original in a multitude of ways. 

Unlike the original show, Bel-Air holds no comedic value and is categorized as a drama, focusing on Will Smith’s life as he tries to fit in at Bel-Air Academy as well as with the Banks family. Bel-Air also begins with Smith living in Philadelphia with his mother and shows the infamous basketball incident that forces him to relocate to Bel-Air to avoid gang members hunting him down. 

The five episodes released as of Hi’s Eye print deadline have portrayed Smith, played by Jabari Banks, in a realistic way navigating through his new life in Bel-Air. Also returning to the screen in a more dramatic sense are Uncle Phillip, who is running for  district attorney, Aunt Vivian, Geoffrey the butler, and Will’s cousins Hilary, Ashley and Carlton. 

Carlton and Smith’s relationship has been a key focal point of the series so far, as Carlton is portrayed very differently than in the original Fresh Prince, now with a touch of athleticism and swagger. The two clash at seemingly every point, especially at Bel-Air Academy where Carlton has the upper hand in the relationship along with his friend and lacrosse teammate Connor, and things take a turn for worse when Smith becomes involved with Carlton’s ex-girlfriend.

This new detailed take on Smith’s background and life as a teenager in a new and very different school is certainly targeted more towards teenage audiences, especially with the language used and modern trends, some of which can come off as forced at times. 

Overall, the series has been entertaining as I have been intrigued and impressed by the new take of an iconic show. Tune in on Thursdays for the remaining episodes in this riveting series.