In a nutshell: Say the words “Now, this is a story all about how” to many people, and they’ll likely respond with, “My life got flipped-turned upside down.” Yes, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was part of many childhoods, and it’s getting a reboot. But this isn’t a nineties-style laugh-out-loud comedy; it’s a dramatic reimaging based on a short fan film.
The new Bel-Air does have the same premise as the original: a street-smart kid from West Philadelphia gets into trouble and is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in the affluent Los Angeles neighborhood. But this version “will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today.”
The reboot is an expansion of a four-minute trailer from 2019 directed and created by cinematographer and Fresh Prince fan Morgan Cooper. Deadline reports that the viral clip caught the attention of Will Smith, and is now being turned into a series by Westbrook Studios, a division of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Inc., and Universal TV, which owns the copyright to the original series.
The new Bel-Air is currently being pitched to a number of streaming services, including Peacock, Netflix, and HBO Max, home of the original series. Interest is said to be high, with a bidding war in progress.
In addition to Smith, original producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina, and creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, are all returning as executive producers. Cooper, meanwhile, will co-write the script, direct and be credited as a co-EP.
Reboots of old TV series are nothing new, and some, such as The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (now canceled, sadly), have a darker tone than the originals. It’ll be interesting to see how Bel-Air fares with new audiences and fans of Will Smith’s show.
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