‘Bel-Air’ review: ‘The Fresh Prince’ goes down a dark path in a Peacock drama that’s better than it has any right to be

Impressed by a 2019 admirer-made trailer that went viral (and whose creator, Morgan Cooper, is a director, producer and co-writer in this article), the sequence could simply have grow to be a typical situation of using a 3-moment gag much too much. Still the resourceful crew less than showrunners T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson blows up the opening credits of the authentic sitcom — which defined how the character came to dwell with his wealthy kin — in a really intelligent way.

Will Smith (Jabari Banking institutions) has a vibrant foreseeable future, with a looming basketball scholarship that will acquire him out of Philadelphia and place him on a route to bigger and better points. But an face with a gang member goes completely wrong, and his hubris prospects him to test settling matters on the playground, a program that backfires in a hazardous method.

Understandably anxious, Will’s mother (April Parker Jones) ships him off to Los Angeles and kin he scarcely is familiar with, as evidenced by his surprised expression when he 1st catches sight of their gated mansion. “You did not explain to me that your loved ones was White,” the driver (Jordan L. Jones) says.

However, fitting in isn’t sitcom-quick in this telling, with Will’s arrival provoking jealousy from his cousin Carlton (Olly Sholotan), who’s hiding his personal top secret, and tensions involving his Aunt Vivian (Cassandra Freeman) and Uncle Philip (Adrian Holmes) — the latter in the midst of a race to become District Attorney, but going through thoughts about road cred due to his zip code.

As produced, you can find a strain of “Gossip Female” working as a result of “Bel-Air’s” DNA, provided the electrical power dynamics at the posh private faculty the little ones go to. The clearly show also explores racial politics, with Will responding angrily when one particular of Carlton’s White friends sings provocative rap lyrics, an objection that Carlton dismisses.

Currently the recipient of a two-year get, no one particular can accuse the new sequence of relocating also gradually fairly, the writers race through soap-opera-ish plot developments in the very first three episodes, provoking skepticism about irrespective of whether the producers have frontloaded the motion a small as well a great deal.

That, also, underscores the change concerning “The Clean Prince” — introduced on a broadcast network much more than 30 several years ago, and celebrated in a 2020 reunion distinctive — and “Bel-Air,” positioned on a streaming support in which the video game is to burn up brightly and garner consideration.

Marketing the present in the course of the Super Bowl may possibly not be the perfect juxtaposition for a dark drama, but in phrases of percentages, if the collection can hook a little portion of individuals viewers the bet will pay off for Peacock.

Although it is really feasible to second-guess that technique, in terms of offering a clearly show improbably worthy of this sort of expensive Tv set actual estate, “Bel-Air” has held up its finish of the cut price.

“Bel-Air” premieres Feb. 13 on Peacock.