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Last year, Peacock tv brought to screens the remake of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Now, with the end of its 2nd season, here's why you should catch up on the last 20 episodes. (no spoilers)
by Jordan Jones and Sydoni Shaw
*This show is best suited for mature audiences.*
Debuted on February 13th, 2022, the show “Bel-Air” re-envisions the 90’s comedy sitcom as a modern-day drama. The Peacock series veers into the foundation of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, using the original story of Will’s transition from West Philadelphia to Los, Angeles California to highlight class, race, and coming-of-age struggles.
Many familiar characters return to the scene, but not in the same way watchers of The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air remember them. William “Will” Smith, Carlton, Hillary, Ashley, Vivian, Philip, Geoffrey, and Jazz are the root characters that make the show, but are played by different actors. Additionally, these characters are surrounded by new supporting characters that aid in the plot.
The serial drama still magnifies the importance of family. Each of the main characters have their own internal struggles they go through in the series. Throughout the seasons, the characters are vital in helping each through their own obstacles.
Slight differences are re-imagined in the modern day show regarding the daily objectives of several characters.
William (Will): Played by Jabari Banks. In the new show his character Will is still the same charismatic cool character that viewers have always enjoyed watching. At Bel-Air Academy he first goes through hardships being at a new private school that is completely different from the public school he attended in the inner city of West Philadelphia. After a while he becomes close with his enemy cousin Carlton. Throughout the series we watch Will maneuver through his basketball dreams. In season 2 he joins an AAU team that comes with quite a bit of drama. We also get a view into Will’s love life. First, with Lisa, Carlton’s ex, then with Jackie in season 2. Throughout the season we also see will save the day in quite a few scenarios. He is truly a character you can’t hate.
Carlton: Carlton, played by Olly Sholotan is quite different from the original character played by Alfonso Ribeiro. In some parts of the series Carlton is seen as an antagonist against his cousin Will. Season one he does anything to get what he wants, and he has friends that are a terrible influence on him. Including sabotaging his family. Throughout the season Carlton continues to have ups and downs mainly due to his mental health and drug use struggles. His parents are Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv, and will (in their good moments) try to guide him in the right direction. Similar to the old version, Carlton is passionate about lacrosse. Carlton is a character of many surprises, sometimes unhinged he is still a character viewers can enjoy watching.
Aunt Vivian: Bel-Air has given Vivian Banks a noticeably important role in the reboot. Vivian´s character is given more depth and complexity as she explores her interest in art. She is not the college professor or dancer like in the 90s sitcom, but a reinvented artist who put her career on hold to raise her children and support the ambitious Philip Banks. In the series, Vivian finds who she is as an artist and grasps the opportunities provided to her to expand her talent.
The series undoubtedly sets itself apart from the beloved sitcom that aired in the 90s. The show gives a modern take on Will’s attempt to fit into the LA culture and the way of life in the Banks mansion. Striving to find his crown, two worlds collide as he navigates who he is in a world far different from the only one he’s ever known.
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