Spoiler-Free Review of “Bel-Air” on Peacock: “The Fresh Prince” gets Flipped-Turned Upside Down

**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…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of Peacock

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.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of Peacock

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?

Images courtesy of Peacock

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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Spoiler-Free Review of “V Wars” on Netflix: Ian Somerhalder and vampires…again

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Much like zombie shows, vampire shows are always emerging, providing us with different takes on the legends we all know and enjoy.  While some shows are much better than others, casting a lead who has already stolen our hearts as a bad boy vampire is not such a bad idea…

While you may feel like the story behind V Wars has been done over and over again, it does have redeeming qualities that make it a somewhat entertaining watch.

The show began streaming episodes on Netflix as of December 5th 2019 and currently features ten episodes for season one.  It stars Ian Somerhalder (LOST, The Vampire Diaries), Adrian Holmes, Jackie Lai, Kimberly-Sue Murray and Laura Vandervoort (Bitten).

We follow Dr. Luther Swann (Somerhalder) after he is exposed to a virus, which surfaced from the ice after a climate change.  After being quarantined with his best friend, Michael Fayne, Dr. Swann starts to realize that a deadly infection has been released, turning people into vampires, or Bloods, as they like to be called.

If you are a fan of shows like The Passage and The Strain, you will most likely be entertained by V Wars, but if you are looking for a more romanticized view on vampires, you may want to pass on this one.  

The Pros:

V Wars Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

Did I mention Ian Somerhalder?

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Somerhalder, but I was slightly worried that his character would feel like a ripoff of Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries, but this is a completely new character and role for Somerhalder.  Dr. Luther Swann is our main protagonist and I have to say that I absolutely fell in love with the glasses!

Overall, I thought that Somerhalder did an excellent job with the role.  There were times where I felt like his reaction was somewhat strange and repetitive, but as the episodes continued, he showed more and more potential.

More Laura Vandervoort please!

I am a fan of hers as well and I thought that her character, Mila, had the most potential.  She gave me a Buffy Summers vibe for a little bit, trying to even the score and possessing some bad-ass qualities of her own.

That being said, I’m not sure why we kept her story in the background for the majority of the episodes.  Somerhalder and Vandervoort stole the show for me and it looks like we are set up for a potential team up if we get a season two.

Violent vampires with some much needed gore.

I actually like that the show went in a different direction, focusing more on the Bloods having an infection.  This gave it a Sci-Fi feel, but I think this actually helped the show stand out a little bit more.  The connections to DNA were interesting and the paranoia and extreme measures from the government made you really think twice about things.

Plus, there was plenty of gore, although the vampires seemed to be all over the place and very messy!  Either way, I loved the gore!

The Cons:

V Wars Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Confusing setup for supporting characters.

The show actually has a talented and extremely attractive cast, which worked in its favor, but I was confused when new characters were introduced.  Other than the characters of Dr. Swann and Michael Fayne, I constantly had to check to make sure I was still watching the same show when we started following other characters.

I thought this was sloppy and careless.  These supporting characters actually had a lot of potential so this was frustrating, as I felt like I had to go back several times to make sure I didn’t miss something.

Soap opera nonsense.

I’m all for a guilty pleasure, but sometimes it felt like we just randomly started a sex scene to see Somerhalder with his shirt off (not that I’m complaining) rather than to advance a plot or to develop relationships and characters.  The plot and soap opera drama felt tiresome at times, but I think that the cast redeemed it as much as they could.

So am I in or out?

V Wars Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in!  Let’s be honest, I was going to be in no matter what as soon as I saw that Ian Somerhalder was starring in this show.  That being said, I went into this show with very low expectations, fearing that we may have another I-Land disaster on our hands.  However, the show was surprisingly entertaining and fast-paced.

Yes, there were a lot of things that frustrated me and so much of it could have been presented better, but I thought the show was binge-watch worthy.  Is this the best show I have seen about vampires?  Absolutely not, but if you go into it ready for a watered down version of The Strain, you will be entertained.

Also, we are left with a major cliffhanger at the end and I would love to see Somerhalder and Vandervoort continue to team up for a season two if we get one!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on V Wars in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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