The not so Fresh King of Bel-Air

Muslim Taseer tries to decide if a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air remake is needed

Muslim Taseer
25th August 2020
In every original idea's life there comes a point where its owners will poke at its idle grave in the hopes of making some money off a re-boot. It's a for-sure phenomenon and has been observable for a while now, but it has really come into its own with this latest occurrence.
Credit: IMDb

The Fresh Prince was one of the best sitcoms in recent history and launched Will Smith's career. Much more than that, however, it was a cultural snapshot of the '90s and was a perfect little piece of nostalgia for many a millennial. Which is why it is exceptionally funny to see it put through the remake steamroller. What makes it even better is that it was literally birthed out of a satire of the very practice it eventually fell prey to!

In all fairness, the original fan-made trailer released by Sun Squared Media last year was excellent, at least as a viral video. But now, reports have emerged that Will Smith and Quincy Jones have teamed up with the man behind the trailer, Morgan Cooper, to make an actual gritty drama reboot of the sit-com. Reportedly, it has generated a high amount of interest and set off a bidding war, reflecting the insane demand for remakes and reboots prevalent these days.

Presumably, the series will be modified, but from the trailer, the show looks essentially like a mini-series about the first season of the show, with a slightly older Will. The premise is mainly the same but with huge tonal differences, with Will being caught with a gun and sent out to Bel-Air. It takes place in the current-age and will presumably tackle current social issues much like the original show did, but much more head-on.

Credit: Sun Squared Media, YouTube

Casting-wise, the trailer looks alright, with mainly respectable picks, but the characters don't look nearly as "warm" as they did in the original. Some of the castings are spot-on, like Jazz and Carlton, while some of it is a bit off, with Uncle Phil looking like a caricature. Safe-to-say however, the show will not retain much of the casting of the fan-made trailer, as it has absolutely no star-power. Perhaps it would be nice to have Uncle Phil played by Will Smith himself? Although that would certainly damage the grittiness it seems to go for.

In an interview with Will Smith, Morgan Cooper describes it as a "re-interpretation", however, and perhaps the way it came to fruition lends it some authenticity. It's more of a fan-reboot instead of another soulless Hollywood cash grab, but it remains to be seen. If Will Smith and his studio stick to the ennui of the fan-made trailer and treat it as a pitch video, we will probably get a great, original, interesting take on the Fresh Prince, and if they exert their own influence over it, who knows what could happen? Either way, this seems like more than a cash-grab and as a Fresh Prince fan, I'm actually excited by it and not hugely disappointed as I am by most remakes.

The reboot will obviously not have the same uncapturable quality of the original, but should be an interesting show for fans of the show and new viewers alike.

The original Fresh Prince was more than just a sitcom and was so deeply personal to Will Smith in that it granted him the same escape in life that Will got in the show. Will's performance as Will was barely a 'performance' and lent the show a beautiful certain je ne sais quoi. The reboot will obviously not have that same uncapturable quality, but should still be an interesting watch for fans of the show and new viewers alike.

Credit: Sun Squared Media, YouTube

Featured Image Credit: Sun Squared Media, YouTube

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