Of Bel-Air

Bel Air review

Bel-Air is a 2022 dramatised reimagination of the 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. The series premiered on Peacock on 13 February 2022.

Bel Air

The premise of the series is similar to the original; a young Will Smith (played by Jabari Banks) gets into trouble in West Philly and has to go and live with his more affluent cousins in Bel Air. While The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air was more of a comedy sitcom; Bel-Air is a dramatic coming of age story, dark and sombre where The Fresh Prince is light and funny, yet thematically similar.

The Good

"Nostalgia is a hell of a drug"

One reason I sat down and watched it was for the nostalgia of the sitcom from my younger days. It was a wild ride seeing how differently the series and its characters compared to how I remembered them.

Jabari Banks Bel Air
Bel-Air

Jabari Banks’ casting as Will was on the money, he captured the role so perfectly I would not be surprised to find out that playing the iconic Fresh Prince was a childhood dream.

Geoffery got an upgrade from being simply a suburban butler to a House Manager who doubled as A Fixer handling anything that needed to be handle in The Banks Family if you catch my drift.

Geoffrey Bel Air
Geoffrey

Hillary evolved into a more than the skin-deep role and instead is scripted as a socially woke influencer socialite trying to find her place in the world.

Hillary Banks Bel Air
Hillary Banks

And Uncle Phil… gosh they made him cool, surprisingly empathetic, flawed yet stepping up when it counts… oh and uber rich living in a Bel Air mansion that looks like an MTV Crib.

Uncle Phil Bel Air
Phil Banks

The Bad

I didn’t quite like how they cast the new Carlton… The Carlton of my memories was a bit dorky but heart in the right place…  Olly Sholotan as Carlton is confusing, he has carved out an empire for himself in Bel Air yet easily took the cup for my most hated character… but credit goes to the actor for carrying the role and the story arc.

Carlton Banks Bel Air
Carlton Banks

The Ugly

One can never compete with nostalgia, reboots when weighed and measured will always be found absolutely wanting…. One can never compete with a memory.

Some characters were underutilized and some plot points just got shoved to the side such as Michael Ealy‘s character Reid Broderick or how Geoffery seemed to have an interesting backstory going on, unfortunately, his world is of the shadows…

I had half expected to find some of the original cast from Bel Air come through as a sort of crossover or at the very least having Will Smith making a cameo appearance would have greatly bolstered the show, considering he is the executive producer.

Final thoughts

Had I never seen The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air in my life, perhaps I would have found the remake wholesomely enjoyable … but then again… it would probably not have been on my watchlist as I am not a fan of drama, even when its socially conscious drama.

Banks Family Bel Air
Bel-Air Main Cast

Mostly I watched it out of curiosity to see how they could re-imagine one of the freshest sitcoms from my childhood and if they could make it work….

It ends on a bit of a cliff hanger which seems to hint at a second season of Bel Air…. And yes I would watch it when if and when it comes out.

What do you think of reboots? Have you watched Bel-Air… does it sound like something you would watch?

~B

8 Comments

  1. Wow, I’m sold
    Not usually a fan of reboots but this one seems like a different show altogether.
    Also love the fact that they changed Hilary’s character from an airhead bimbo to a woke personality (is there space or a need for the ‘dumb blonde’ trope in this day and age on TV? I personally think we’ve outgrown it)
    Thank you again for a riveting review🌸🌸🌸

    Like

  2. I was interested but after reading your descriptions, yet another show about rich people and their so-called problems isn’t something I’m interested in. Especially if they’re trying to be serious.

    However, I might try to track down the original again. I’d love to see how it stands up to a re-watch 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been watching the episodes from the original and agree that yep tracking it down is a more worthwhile enterprise… it ages quite well I think.

      ~B

      Liked by 1 person

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