How do you make a reboot of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air seem ... well, fresh? By flip-turning the original NBC sitcom upside down into a streaming era drama. Premiering on Peacock on Feb. 13 — aka Super Bowl Sunday — Bel-Air features newcomer Jabari Banks in the role that made transformed celebrated rapper Will Smith into celebrated actor Will Smith. The just-released first trailer for the series spotlights how the new Will's journey will take a darker and more dramatic road than his predecessor. (Watch the trailer above.)
While the tone of Bel-Air may be markedly different, the premise remains the same: After a violent encounter on a West Philadelphia basketball court, Will relocates to his relatives' ultra-posh home in one of California's richest zip codes. But his Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil (Cassandra Freeman and Adrian Holmes) are seriously divided about taking him in. As for his cousins, Hilary (Coco Jones) and Ashley (Akira Akbar) welcome him with open arms, but Carlton (Olly Sholotan) isn't exactly dancing with joy — or dancing at all, for that matter.
The trailer does tease the reason for Uncle Phil's reluctance to give safe harbor to Will: The teenager grabbed a gun during his basketball court encounter and fired in the air, bringing the police to the scene. That decision made him the target of a West Philly criminal who may just follow him out to the West Coast. His uncle wants him to leave that particular detail out of his biography, though: "Here's the story: You came to Bel-Air for a better education, simple," he tells Will.
Speaking of education, Will receives a crash course in the difference between Philadelphia and Bel-Air learning institutions. Arriving on campus, he's almost immediately targeted by a high school bully straight out of The O.C. And that comparison came up a lot in the divisive Twitter reaction to the Bel-Air trailer.
new fresh prince (bel-air) is very much giving us the OC down to the "welcome to bel-air" they thought we forgot?
— we don’t talk about kelly (@kellyfromHtown) January 10, 2022
— Deb Pfisterer (@SophSuburbs) January 10, 2022
Lol they turned the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air into the O.C https://t.co/Rya4YHfpct
— Pretty Rickie (@Mthunzi_mma) January 10, 2022
I’m definitely watching this. This is a reboot but also a shift. It’s not a comedy. It actually feels like if the producers of The OC remade TFPOBA and I LOVE IT.
Only line missing was “Welcome to Bel-Air b1tch”! https://t.co/TtCfuGakni
— Mavelous (@FashionMaven88) January 10, 2022
The new prince of bel-air trailer looks dark as hell! The show was a comedy! Whataaaaaaaaaaa! Whyyyyyy! pic.twitter.com/lkzMwRDTSX
— Chitown Movie Junkie (@ChitownMovieJ) January 10, 2022
I'm shook. I never thought I'd be interested in a reimagining of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This looks dope though. I might actually subscribe to peacock now. https://t.co/giPDN31BKC
— Ish (he/him) (@ishabazz) January 10, 2022
Man this bel-air drama already looks tiresome.
Ain't no way we're gonna see that cast any other way apart from the funny cast of characters.
Trying to make them look anything other than that is a waste of time
— TreeTop (@treadmill09) January 10, 2022
Reimagining Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the one remake that actually looks like it might be good! https://t.co/wcF1jm7AHn
— 👼💙☮️𝕬𝖓𝖌𝖊𝖑 𝕷𝖊𝖎𝖌𝖍🌲🐝🦋 (@angel_leigh) January 10, 2022
Bel-Air premieres Feb. 13 on Peacock