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First ‘Bel-Air’ trailer gives off serious ‘O.C.’ vibes

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


Jabari Banks as Will in Bel-Air, a dramatic remake of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Photo: Peacock)

Jabari Banks as Will in Bel-Air, a dramatic re-telling of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (Photo: Peacock)

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. 

Bel-Air premieres Feb. 13 on Peacock


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