The Peacock Original “Bel-Air” is a modern-day sitcom based loosely off of the classic “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” sitcom starring Will Smith and the late James Avery. Using the same characters as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and essentially the same storyline, “Bel-Air” infuses new dramatics and events to make the sitcom more modern day.
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was a show that was loved world-wide and focused on the main character, Will Smith, moving to Bel Air, Los Angeles from his rough neighborhood of Philadelphia after getting into some trouble. Will Smith travels to Bel-Air to move in with his wealthy Uncle, known as Uncle Phil, his Aunt Vivian and his two privileged cousins Carlton and Hilary.
Taking a more serious turn, “Bel-Air” takes the same storyline as the classic but gives the audience a more emotional, anxious series of events in contrast to the classic.
Smith’s younger character in the reboot has just moved in with his politician Uncle Phil and retired artist Aunt Vivan. His cousins, Carlton, Ashley and Hilary, also live with his aunt and uncle. Carlton struggles with cocaine use and anxiety in the show while Hilary is learning who she is while running a social media cooking account. Their younger sister Ashely is struggling to find her identity within the LGBTQ+ community.
Smith is sent away by his mother because of a dirty bet he made with a drug dealer. This dirty bet resulted in Smith firing a loaded gun and being arrested. This not only puts Smith who earned a full basketball scholarship at risk for serving years in prison but the drug dealer involved also swears to get his revenge on Smith.
The show later focuses on current issues on police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of being oneself in society.
While Smith is sent away to live with his family, he understands the importance of family and how having a family forces community, loyalty and trust. Smith is forced to build a relationship with his cousin, Carlton. Carlton is popular at school at the expense of being someone that he isn’t and picking up bad habits. Smith reminds Carlton that being truthful in who you are allows for the right people to be a part of your team.
In the first episode, “Dreams and Nightmares”, Carlton introduces Smith to the Lacrosse team after watching Carlton play after practice. The team goes home and decides to play hip-hop music that includes the “N” word and it is obvious that Carlton is the only black kid on the team, but proceeds to dance and sing with the Lacrosse team and says the “N” word, along with his teammates. This upsets Smith and he almost fights Carlton’s friend and one of the players, Conner.
The relationship between Smith and Carlton has a rocky start after Smith confronts Carlton’s friend. The two characters end up understanding each other and the true relevance of brotherhood and accepting others’ flaws.
From the classic, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, to “Bel-Air”, viewers can expect to be surprised by the change of events, but for a thrill when their attention is captured by the show. New episodes air on Peacock every Thursday.