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‘Fresh Prince’ spin-off ‘Bel-Air’ releases first full-length trailer

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This is the story all about how a sitcom got flipped, turned upside down.

“Bel-Air,” the reboot of the 1990s NBC television hit released a full-length trailer Monday, and there’s not a hint of comedy in this new spin on Will Smith’s iconic character.

In the fresh “Fresh Prince” take, the premise is more or less the same only this time the focus is on the dark undertones of why Will — now played by newcomer Jabari Banks — has moved out west from Philadelphia. 

“I hope one day we can talk about why you’re really here,” Will’s cousin Carlton tells him before the clip flashes back to Philly, where Will appears to have been involved in a fight ending in a gun being fired and the police being called. 

The intention behind the dramatization of the beloved and formerly lighthearted show premise is 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,” Morgan Cooper — who directed, co-wrote and executive-produced the new series — said in a November press release, Today reported.

“We’re able to go have tough conversations that challenge perspectives,” Cooper added. “At its core, ‘Bel-Air’ is a celebration of the black experience through the perspective of a family.”   

bel aire new trailer
Newcomer Jabari Banks (left) plays the lead character Will in “Bel-Air,” originally played by series producer Will Smith (right).

“3 years ago, my guy Morgan Cooper uploaded his fan trailer to YouTube, showing how he envisioned the Fresh Prince as a drama,” Smith captioned the trailer, which he posted to his personal YouTube page, where it has so far racked up 199,000 views. “Now, here is the first full look at his retelling of the story that’s always been so close to my heart. Cant wait for you guys to see it Feb 13 on Peacock.”

Internet denizens’ initial reviews of the trailer, and entire premise, were mixed.

“I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for the fact that I grew up watching The Fresh Prince, I would say this looks pretty good, unfortunately, this isn’t TFP & when they try to splice in very [Fresh] Prince images (such as the jacket being inside out) it feels like a parody. Hope it’s good,” wrote one optimistic “Fresh Prince” fan on Twitter. 

“The Bel-Air reboot looks really, really bad,” tweeted a less hopeful one. “Like, if you muted the trailer, you would have absolutely no idea what it’s based on. It comes across like a Fresh Prince reboot afraid of people remembering that it’s a Fresh Prince reboot.”

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