(Deadline)Starring newcomer Jabari Banks as Will and set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic take on the 1990-96 sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that leans into the original premise: Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.
This show was announced a while ago and I don't think my reaction has changed at all with this trailer. In case you didn't know, the original sitcom was based loosely on the life of producer Benny Medina. On paper, it could definitely serve as a dramatic plotline. A person being forced to integrate where they "don't belong" while retaining their identity is about as classic a story as there is. The big problem for this show, though, is that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air exists. Disassociating that universally beloved sitcom from this property is just not going to happen. Especially since that show did have great dramatic moments! The difference being that they were sprinkled in to the comedy, where this looks like it will be doing the exact opposite.
The big three original players of the show, Will Smith, Medina, and Quincey Jones, are all back executive producing this show. I feel like if they saw potential here and wanted to run it back in a new way, I should be all for it. And the director of the YouTube video that inspired this reboot getting the chance to write and direct the series is also very cool. I don't thing either of those are good enough reasons to tune in just yet, though.
P.S. seeing the new Uncle Phil made me sad. Especially after Saget's passing. He may have been known as an uncle, but he was just as important of a sitcom dad in my eyes.