Bel-Air Teaser: The 'Serious' Version Of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Is A Real Thing

This is a story all about how Peacock turned it all upside down; and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, and let me tell you about the streaming series known as "Bel-Air." 

dramatic reboot of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" has been in the works for a while, based on a short film/concept pitch made by Kansas City cinematographer Morgan Cooper. "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" had its fair share of dramatic stories over the years, but apparently Will Smith and co. wanted to try to take those ideas even further. Peacock has released a teaser video that feels like a parody of itself titled "My Kingdom," featuring Will Smith doing a dramatic reading of the original "Fresh Prince" theme song over footage of the new series' star, Jabari Banks, as he swims his way to an underwater throne. 

A Serious Twist on the Seminal Sitcom

So what exactly are they trying to do with "Bel-Air"? Here's the official synopsis:

Set in modern-day America, Bel-Air is a serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the 90's 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.

The original series was incredibly progressive for its time, running from 1990-1996. The ongoing struggle for civil rights is a running theme through the series, with several episodes dedicated to police brutality, systemic racism, and class discrimination. The serious drama was balanced with humor, though many of the more dramatic episodes are legitimate tear-jerkers. (Who could ever forget the episode where Will's dad abandons him yet again? Or the episode where Carlton and Will are arrested in a case of mistaken identity?)

While it's understandable that Smith and co. want to connect with today's audiences and dig even deeper into these tough topics, doing it through a "Fresh Prince" reboot is likely to only frustrate fans of the original series and confuse younger audiences who don't know what the series is riffing on. The new cast is full of talented young folks, but it's going to be hard to replicate the chemistry of the original Banks family. "Bel-Air" without James Avery's Uncle Phil seems like somewhere I never want to visit. 

"Bel-Air" is set to debut on Peacock in 2022.