**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**
“This town will try to make you forget where you came from…”
Bel-Air released on February 13th 2022 with the first three episodes available to stream now on Peacock. The remaining seven episodes will air weekly. The re-imagining of the iconic 90’s television sitcom series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, is a drama starring Jabari Banks, Olly Sholotan, Adrian Holmes, Coco Jones and Cassandra Freeman. Each episode runs for 45-55 minutes.
After his life is put in danger in his home town of Philly, Will’s mother decides to have him move out to Bel-Air with his aunt and uncle for his own safety.
Here is the trailer:
Bel-Air takes an extreme approach to the idea of the “reboot” as it switches genres completely to paint a more realistic picture of Will’s coming-of-age journey. Is it worthy of your next watch? Let’s find out…
Talent and potential.
Banks is off to a great start with his portrayal of Will. He channels the original style in a lot of ways, but he really makes this role his own. I liked a lot of the nods at the original series and I thought that Banks was charming and likable. He is already bringing lots of layers to his character, which is important, since this is supposed to be a drama.
The other actors are doing a decent job too and I’m curious to see each character fleshed out more.
Tackles important issues.
The original series did this as well, but it was a sitcom, so there was a lot glossed over. This series is spending a lot more time on issues of racism, class, and drug abuse in a compelling and effective way. I also really appreciated that we got to spend a lot more time in Philadelphia this time, which we did not really see at all in the original sitcom series.
Needs some more humor.
I get that this is supposed to be a drama, but everything is so serious and intense. This isn’t a bad thing, but even great dramas have some comedy sprinkled in here and there. We may get that more with Jazz in the mix, but so far it is emotionally draining at times.
What’s the hook?
The series is paying respect to the original series and there’s lots of potential here, but I want to really understand and feel the hook of this series to keep watching. Major issues can’t always be solved in an hour long episode. I’m hoping we get there, but the show needs to remember this so that its intention doesn’t get lost along the way.
So am I in or out?
I’m in about 75 percent…
Bel-Air takes the idea of a re-imagining to a new level that has the potential to be pure genius, but it needs to smooth out its tone and intention to keep its audience coming back for more. We can absolutely get there, but I’m hoping this show can really push the limit with its content and step away from the original series to find its own magic.
I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Bel-Air in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!
Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl
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