'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' To Be Rebooted With A Fresh Dramatic Approach

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Cast Reunites — See What They Look Like Now -  Variety

Reboots, reboots, and more reboots. This is the age in which we live. The word "reboot" has almost become a curse word in some circles, though there are some reboots that work really well. Off the top of my head, I would throw Bates Motel, Hannibal, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes into that category. Now, people are left wondering whether a reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a beloved sitcom that ran from 1990 to 1996, can work.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news Tuesday morning that Will Smith is working with Morgan Cooper, who released a "trailer" on YouTube in March 2019 for a theoretical dramatic reimagining simply titled Bel-Air. The video (which is viewable at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD3ISIM_kU8) features new actors in the familiar roles and focuses on dramatic elements that the original series has touched upon, such as the act of carrying a gun in the streets. We also get a shot of Will sitting on his throne, depicted with a vibe that is more sinister than playful.

The reimagining is being shopped to streaming services and is a co-production between Westbrook Studios (owned by Will Smith) and Universal TV. According to The Hollywood Reporter, their sources say that HBO Max, Netflix, and Peacock are bidding on the series. Currently, the original series is streaming on HBO Max. With that in mind, HBO Max may make the most sense. It is only natural for TV shows of the same franchise to be watchable on the same streaming service. It would definitely be more convenient for Fresh Prince fans, some of whom would certainly make up much of the audience for the new show.

The executive producers will include original series creators Andy and Susan Borowitz, as well as original series producers Will Smith, Quincy Jones, and Benny Medina. The fact that these familiar names will have a hand in the new iteration may convince longtime fans that the show is worth a shot. In addition, Chris Collins (who has worked on Crash, Sons of Anarchy, and The Wire) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Furthermore, he is set to co-write the script with Morgan Cooper.

Speaking for myself, I have mixed feelings about the video that Cooper released last year. If the original sitcom had never existed, I feel certain that I would have seen this pitch as something that could work very well. With the sitcom in mind, however, some of the dramatic moments seem silly to me because I remember all of the comedic moments of the original show, and it is a bit bizarre to see this more serious interpretation. I feel as though I need to see a full episode in order to get used to this interpretation.

That is not to say that a more serious reboot of something more comedic can never work. The original Teen Wolf film was a comedy, but the reboot series on MTV was more dramatic and wove in its own intricate mythology. I remember even preferring the show over the original film. Undoubtedly, the new Bel-Air series will get criticisms for not being the original show. However, I would rather have this new interpretation that can have more of its own identity than have it be a sitcom again. If the show were to be rebooted and remain a sitcom, it might have jokes that would not land as well as the ones that people loved from the original series. There would be less pressure for the show to be funny. One could argue that we do not "need" a reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but if it has to be done, I would prefer this new approach, which can end up being...well, fresh. With less pressure, the show can be fresher.
Source(s): The Hollywood Reporter