‘Bel-Air’ review: Reboot has EVERYTHING to make it as relevant as the original

Let’s face it. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is one of the most iconic sitcoms to air on American television. With Will Smith in the lead, the NBC show known for its comedy almost always seemed to find a way to fit in when some wisdom was imparted. Although most of the cast members took turns doing it, it was the late James Avery who seemed to share the best advice. Whether the “Bel-Air” version of the legendary Uncle Phil is capable of meeting the standards set by Avery is a subject for another story and we’ll get to that eventually. For now, let’s see how the show goes and whether “Bel-Air” is worth watching.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the 3-minute theme from the sitcom of the same name, tells how a boy from the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia ended up in a posh mansion in Los Angeles. ‘Bel-Air’ begins in the same way but in a darker and more dramatic way. The show begins with a glimpse into the life of Will Smith (Jabari Banks) and it’s a vibe! Even though it’s just a few scenes, we sometimes see and feel the energy of the city and Will’s neighborhood. Now, Smith isn’t your average neighborhood kid. He scores points, both on the field and in class. The ladies think he’s cool and that includes his mother. His skills in the field attract the attention of the scouts but also of the anti-social elements of his locality. The news that Will is spotted starts to make the rounds and that’s when the tide, unfortunately, starts to turn against him. Will is challenged to a match by the neighborhood bully and although he wins the match, Will loses everything else after a fight breaks out on the field.


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He flew to Bel-Air to live under the supervision of his uncle and aunt, Phillip and Vivian Banks. Will soon discovers that he will change his approach to life if he is to return home and how he achieves this shapes the rest of the story. During “Bel-Air,” we see the challenges Will faces and how or if he overcomes them.

Jabari Banks (L) and Adrian Holmes (R) in a photo from ‘Bel-Air’ (Peacock)

With “Bel Air,” which director and series creator Morgan Cooper does, he takes one of the most beloved American television shows of all time and brings it to the current generation. If “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” touched on the issues African Americans faced in the ’90s, “Bel-Air” does the same for the era it’s set in, minus the comedy. There’s also some symbolism at play, with references made to the OG show throwing visuals of a crown. The series also explores the inter and intrapersonal relationships of the main characters. We see delve into the psyche of most of them and although each episode is almost an hour long, we rarely watch the time.

Jabari Banks plays Will Smith perfectly, but what he does even better is play the 16-year-old who’s just trying to find his own voice. The other cast members also do a great job, but it’s Adrian Holmes as Phillip, Olly Sholotan as Carlton, and Coco Jones as Hilary who really add more to “Bel-Air.” “. The actors, through their roles, approach things. of absolute relevance, including assimilation, cultural appropriation, subtle racism, and in short trying to answer a question that plagues the African American community. What does it take to be a black person in America?

Coco Jones as Hilary Banks in ‘Bel-Air’ (Peacock)

The team, especially the cinematographer and editorial staff, went the extra mile to make “Bel-Air” a must-watch experience. Special mentions to the people involved who composed the soundtrack because it’s going to have you using Shazam often!

Overall, “Bel-Air” is a reboot, or rather a retelling, that’s every bit as relevant as its original.

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