Bel-Air Review

Reboots of 1990’s IPs have become the rage these days. The difficulty is, as I see it, taking what made a particular movie or television show special while making it feel current.

The latest in this long line of re-imagining is Bel-Air. Airing on the Peacock network, it is a revival of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the narrative of the pilot follows the story of its predecessor. Will Smith (Jabari Banks) is a young man living in Philadelphia with his mother. His future seems to be all set with a basketball scholarship in his sights. That all changes when a fight breaks out and he is thrown in jail.

Upon release, Will is immediately put on a plane to Los Angeles. He is to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Bel-Air. To say that he is a stranger in a strange land is an understatement. This world of wealth, power, and access is far from the city life he is used to. But underneath the shine are rough edges that when revealed, could have dangerous consequences.

I’ve only seen the first episode. I really enjoyed it. There was enough of a skeleton of its predecessor combined with a boost of modern reality to keep me engaged. What I really liked was delving into the larger cultural problems that led to Will’s abrupt change of fate.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Bel-Air is available for streaming on the Peacock network.

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Flashback Friday: America’s Funniest Home Videos (1989-Present)

There is something personal about home movies. They give us an insight into the family as only one made by a loved one can. It can also be incredibly funny.

America’s Funniest Home Videos has been on the ABC schedule since its premiere in 1989. It was originally hosted by Bob Saget (Full House). The program’s current host is Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Viewers send in funny videos of pranks and unplanned physical comedy. Every week, the producers choose the best of the submissions and the inhouse audience votes on the top three. The winner receives a cash prize.

I haven’t watched this show in a long time, but it still makes me laugh. It is one of those programs that you can sit down with the family and watch without having to explain adult concepts to young children.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Throwback Thursday-Diversity In 90’s Sitcoms-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996) & Family Matters (1989-1998)

In the 1990’s, television attempted to diversify.  Attempted is the word here. But there are two shows that added some color to our screens and still makes audiences laugh years after the final episode aired.

The first show I am going to talk about is Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996).

Will Smith (Will Smith) is a young man from a troubled neighborhood. After getting into one too many fights, Will is shipped off to California to live with his wealthy relatives.  His mother hopes that living away from the mean streets of Philadelphia will refine her son into a respectable, proper young man.  While Will does grow up, his family also changes due to the new addition to the house hold.

Then rapper and budding actor Will Smith added an urban flavor to television. He was funny, charming, incorrigible, but also sincere with a good heart. Just under 20 years after the final episode aired, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air is still funny, relevant and just fun to watch.

The other show I am going to talk about is Family Matters (1989-1998).

The Winslows are a middle class African-American family living in Chicago. Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) is a police officer. His wife, Harriet (Jo Marie Payton) works at bank. They have three growing children, his mother and her sister and her son living with them. It sounds like the typical family sitcom, right? Wrong. Enter Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) and you have a character that is instantly recognizable.

While this show had the typical saccharine moments and “very special episodes” that often appear on the schedule, there was a reality to this world and this show that kept the viewers coming back.

I recommend both.

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