Peacock’s ‘Bel-Air’ is dramatic take on the classic ’90s sitcom

The new teaser tells us a familiar story, but with a different tone.

words by: Alee Kwong
Jan 23, 2022

Peacock has taken the classic ’90s TV sitcom that propelled Will Smith to stardom and turned it on its head. While the original story was told by Will Smith through a cheerful rap, the Bel-Air teaser is overlaid with a dramatic reading of the original theme song (also narrated by Smith), coupled with a visual of Jabari Banks’ Will swimming towards a red velvet-upholstered throne in a vast pool.


In September 2020, Bel-Air received a two-season order. “With this dramatic reimagining, we wanted to create a show that stands on its own while honoring the spirit and innovation of the original series,” director and co-writer, Morgan Cooper, said.


“Because Bel-Air is a drama, we’re able to really peel back the layers of these characters and themes in a way that you simply couldn’t do 30 years ago in the half-hour sitcom format. We’re able to go have tough conversations that challenge perspectives. At its core, Bel-Air is a celebration of the black experience through the perspective of a family.”



The new show is described as a “dramatic reimagining” of the sitcom, diving 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.”


“At its heart, Bel-Air is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the strength and love of the Black family,” showrunner T.J. Brady commented.


“We have stayed true to the original premise of the legacy series – Will’s life is turned upside down after he is forced to leave West Philly and lands in Bel-Air with its gated mansions and wealth, however, our new series brings Will and the Banks family into the world as we know it now. It’s been incredible to bring these iconic characters to life when you tap them into the cultural pulse of our time. The series was the fabric of so many of our upbringings, tied to memories and the joy of seeing ourselves represented on TV so it is important to us to pay respect to its legacy.”


Bel-Air will also feature Adrian Holmes as Phillip Banks, Cassandra Freeman as Vivian Banks, Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks, Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks, Jimmy Akingbola as Geoffrey, Jordan L. Jones as Jazz and Simone Joy Jones as Lisa.


Bel-Air premieres on February 13, 2022 on Peacock. In other entertainment news, Stranger Things Season 4 is set to take place in California too.


Photo via Peacock