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Series / Bel-Air

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"This is a story, all about how, my life got flipped turned upside down..."

Bel-Air is a 2022 Darker and Edgier reboot of the 1990-96 sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, released on Peacock on February 13th, 2022. Will Smith, the star of the original series, serves as executive producer.

The story is pretty similar to the original: Will Smith (Jabari Banks, coincidentally with the same last name as several of the show's characters) is a child growing up in the rough inner city of Philadelphia who, through a series of unfortunate choices, has a run-in with the law that puts him on the bad side of some dangerous people.

To protect him, his mother sends him to her sister's family, the Banks', who live in the posh Los Angeles suburbs of Bel-Air. Reunited with his aunt Vivian (Cassandra Freeman), uncle Philip (Adrian Holmes), and his cousins, Carlton (Olly Sholotan), Hilary (Coco Jones) and Ashley (Akira Akbar), along with meeting their house manager, Geoffrey (Jimmy Akingbola), Will finds himself having to navigate through a setting much different from the hood life he left behind.

Despite butting heads with his uncle on how to conduct himself, Will tries his best to stay true to himself amidst the rich lifestyle while staying out of trouble, befriending Jazz (Jordan L. Jones), a local teen who shares his interests and lifestyle. But just as he's settling in, it starts to become clear that trouble may have followed him from Philly...

The series began as a 2019 YouTube fan film of the same name by Morgan Cooper; a parody which presented itself as a trailer for a hypothetical reboot. The film went viral and caught the attention of Will Smith, who liked the concept so much that he met with Cooper and helped him pitch it as an actual show, with Cooper serving as a showrunner and directing the pilot episode.

The series is produced by Universal Television, the successor to NBC Productions which produced the original series, which is currently distributed by Warner Bros. Television due to that company owning a stake in Quincy Jones' production company which was one of the co-producers of the original series.

Trailers: Teaser | Official

Bel-Air provides examples of:

  • Academic Athlete: In this version, both Will and Carlton are athletic and good students, though Will is more into basketball and Carlton is a lacrosse player.
  • The Ace: Will is charming, good looking, an A student, a skilled musician and a talented basketball player. This is commented on by one of Ashley's friends.
    "Is there anything he's not good at?"
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • Will's situation is now incredibly dire, as his mother moved him out of Philly to keep him safe from Rashad, the vengeful gangster who wants to murder him after their fight on the court. On top of his struggle to fit into his new environment, he also has to deal with the consequences brewing back home, like his best friend getting shot (non-fatally) out of retribution.
    • Carlton develops a burning jealousy over Will once he starts connecting with his friends and family. If that wasn't bad enough, he's also struggling with a serious Xanax addiction.
    • Lisa's grief over the loss of her mother is expanded upon, with Lisa now feeling like her father and his new wife are trying to erase every trace of her mother from their lives.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • While The Fresh Prince's Phillip Banks wasn't ugly per se, he had a serious weight problem and looked his age. Here, Phillip is played by the quite fit and handsome Adrian Holmes, who looks very good for a middle-aged man.
    • The same can even be applied for Lou, who was played by a pudgy Ben Vereen in The Fresh Prince episode and is played by a leaner Marlon Wayans this series.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the sitcom, Will's father Lou abandoned his family because he couldn't handle the responsibilities of fatherhood. Here, it's a lot more complicated: Lou was a con artist who was imprisoned for robbing an elderly man; to spare her four-year-old son the trauma from such an incident, Vy simply told Will that his father had walked out on them.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In the original sitcom, Carlton was a dork and his brief attempt to play a sport was unsuccessful. This Carlton is a popular student and skilled lacrosse player. While Carlton was implied to be a popular kid in the beginning of the original series, this was an Informed Attribute at best, and he was quickly retconned to be an unpopular loser to create a contrast to Will. Also, his original character never had any athletic skills, since he's shown to be inept at basketball since the first season, and he's never shown playing other sports, including lacrosse. Reboot!Carlson is also capable of bringing down the much taller and beefier Drew in Season 2 after the latter insults Carlton for failing to do the speech at the student protest against the firing of Ms. Hughes.
    • The original series' Hilary was an airhead who drifted from job-to-job with no real ambition in regards to her future; the reboot's version is a smart, dedicated woman who is building a brand-awareness as a social-media influencer. What's more, while the sitcom Hilary was a Lethal Chef that once apparently poisoned a bunch of nuns as part of a job as a caterer, the drama version is a Supreme Chef.
    • Geoffrey. In the original series he was mainly comic relief. Here he's a genius who's well connected with the LA underground and can apparently order hits on Philadelphian drug dealers. He's also been upgraded from the Banks' butler to their house manager and Phil's fixer.
    • Lisa Wilkes, in the original series, was primarily Will's Closer to Earth Love Interest with little depth to her beyond that. Here, she’s an aspiring Olympic swimmer attending Bel-Air Academy on scholarship.
  • Adaptational Curves: James Avery's Uncle Phil was a very rotund man and was frequently subjected to jokes about his weight from the other characters. Adrian Holmes' Uncle Phil is much slimmer in comparison.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Lisa Wilkes and her father Fred appear in the very first episode here; in the original show, they weren't introduced until the fifth season, and Fred came along much later than his daughter.
    • Judge Robertson wasn't introduced in the original series until season three, while here he makes his debut in the very first episode alongside Lisa and Fred.
  • Adaptational Intelligence:
    • Hilary in the original series is a ditz with her head in the clouds floating from job to job across the whole series with a decent amount of skill and dedication but very little common sense. In the reboot, she is a college dropout, but out of chafing at scholastic restraints rather than a lack of intelligence or drive and has spent the past couple years with laser focus building a social media brand as a talented high-end chef.
    • Will, who originally was Street Smart but Book Dumb and shown to be Brilliant, but Lazy as the show progressed (though his academic performance varied from good to mediocre Depending on the Writer). Here he's both an A student and knowledgeable about the streets of West Philly.
    • Jazz is much more intelligent in this version than he was in the original series, where he bordered on Too Dumb to Live. In this adaptation he is much more levelheaded and a positive influence to Will, and actually runs his own business.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: While Carlton was always antagonistic of Will, even at the beginning, it was rather harmless and often times in response to Will's instigation. In this adaptation, he's a casual drug user who snorts Xanax and attacks Will after getting high and seeing Will kiss Lisa on the dance floor.
  • Adaptational Job Change: Geoffrey in the sitcom was the Banks' butler. The reboot is the Banks' house manager, though his actual job is to oversee the security of the Banks children and act as Phil's fixer.
  • Adaptational Nationality: The sitcom's Geoffrey Butler was London-born, while the reboot's Geoffrey Thompson is a native of Jamaica who moved to London.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • In the original series, Hilary was a ditzy valley girl who was only interested in social causes for the clout, coasted by on her parents' money, had no real goals in life, and remained an immature brat through the entire show. Here Hilary is still focused on her social media presence, but she is also dedicated to her online cooking career and shows considerable skill at her chosen profession, as well as a strong commitment at building it through hard work. Hilary is also the first to bond with Will when he comes to Bel-Air, getting him dressed for their house party, whereas in the original series Will bonded with and spent the most time with Ashley.
    • Geoffrey in the original series became a bit of a Jerkass who would snark on the family save for Ashley. Here he is less stuffy than his original version, giving Uncle Phil advice in how to reach out and bond with Will.
  • Adaptational Relationship Overhaul: In Fresh Prince, Jackie was Will's childhood friend from Philly, but in Bel Air they meet at a street ball event in Los Angeles when they're both older.
    • In Fresh Prince, Jazz was head-over-heels for Hilary, but she hated him. In 'Bel Air' they end up liking each other quite quickly and are officially dating by the end of the second season premiere.
    • In this continuity, Lisa is Carlton's ex-girlfriend. This leads to some major tension with Will once he starts hitting it off with her.
    • In the original series Phil and Geoffrey were employer and employee, nothing more, with Geoffrey often being roped into Uncle Phil's antics against his will. In this continuity, the two are basically best friends, with Phil getting advice from Geoffrey over late night drinks.
    • The Wilkes and Banks families are much closer here than in the original series, with it being stated that prior to her death, the late Gayle Wilkes was like a sister to Vivian. In Fresh Prince, the two families didn’t know each other until Lisa and Will started dating.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: In Fresh Prince, Ashley was only interested in boys. Here, she develops feelings for a girl in her friend group. Her desire to learn more about her sexuality drives much of her story.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the original series, the scuffle Will was in was treated as just a tussle amongst young people that got out of hand, with the person who pushed Will into the fight being treated more as a bully who eventually grew up and reformed. Here, Rashad is depicted as a far greater threat to Will's safety, as it is made explicitly clear that he intends to kill Will if he ever finds him again. That is until the end of episode 4, when it is revealed that he was killed in a strip club on Geoffrey’s orders.
    • Carlton is far more aggressive towards Will in this version. While he was always threatened by Will's position within his school and taking attention away from Uncle Phil, in this series Carlton takes active steps to embarrass and isolate Will.
    • Lou Smith is a lot more than a deadbeat dad here, he's an ex-con who was jailed for robbing and assaulting an old man who apparently owed him money. And years later, he still refuses to own up to his mistakes, instead pinning all the blame on his "ungrateful" wife for "pushing" him too hard.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Will's backstory (first shown in the sitcom's title sequence) is expanded into an entire prologue here. We get to see much more of his life in West Philadelphia, along with the events leading up to his big Bel-Air trip.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Geoffrey's surname goes from Butler in the original series to Thompson. Since he was upgraded from butler to house manager and the Meaningful Name joke does not apply anymore, the change is understandable.
    • Coach Smiley, Bel-Air Academy's basketball coach, is now named Johnson.
    • In Fresh Prince, the guy who fought Will on the basketball court was named Omar; here, his name is Rashad.
    • Lisa's late mother (and Fred's late wife) was named Yvonne in Fresh Prince; here, she was named Gayle.
    • Grandma Banks' name is Nita, as opposed to the original series' Hattie.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Jazz was originally an air-headed friend of Will who frequently got himself on Phil's bad side and tossed out their mansion as a result; this time, he's basically a voice of reason who willingly helped Philip stop Will from fleeing his home and is someone who's trying to understand Will's trauma as well as help him overcome it.
    • Geoffrey is still a protective, avuncular figure to the kids, but he's also willing to do dirty deeds to keep them safe. It's implied that he had Rashad killed.
    • Fred Wilkes was Lisa's overprotective father who quickly bonded with Will and a blue collar worker who initially considered the Banks family to be snobs in Fresh Prince. Here, Fred starts out as an old friend to the Banks family but falls out with Phil over his campaign for District Attorney, and was having an affair behind his late wife's back.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • While Hilary has always been a member of the main family, in the original show she was mostly a Flat Character and Plucky Comic Relief, and the only one of the Banks siblings who lacked a significant relationship with Will. Here, she is a fleshed out character who gets far more focus. By contrast, Ashley is Demoted to Extra.
    • Tray gets bumped up to recurring character compared to his lone appearance in the original series.
    • Jazz was merely a recurring character in Fresh Prince. Here, he’s not only bumped up to main cast, but is an actual Love Interest to Hilary.
    • Lisa was just a recurring character in the fifth season of the original series; here she’s a series regular with a much deeper history with the Banks family.
  • Ascended Meme: As mentioned above, the show started as a parody short of a gritty Fresh Prince reboot but Will Smith liked it and wanted to make the actual show.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: In the Season 2 finale, Carlton wins the Bel-Air Academy Founders Award but breaks into tears during the acceptance speech as he confesses he doesn't deserve it due to his cocaine addiction, which he feels takes him far away from the dignity and excellence needed to win the prize.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Throughout Season 1, Carlton cannot stand Will being in his life and has schemed to get him out of the house. However, he soon warms up to Will and in the Season 1 Finale, Will leaves the Banks' house out of frustration and betrayal of being lied to his whole life by Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil... and Carlton is the one desperately begging him to stay.
  • Book Ends: Season 1 starts with Will and Jazz standing on a hill overlooking Los Angeles, with Jazz advising Will to never forget where he came from. It ends with the two meeting on the same hill at night, with Jazz reiterating his advice from last time, while also encouraging Will to look towards the future and change his life for the better.
  • Broken Ace: This version of Carlton is a popular Class Representative and Big Man on Campus, a respected leader to his friends, a good student and also a good lacrosse player. That said, he also struggles with anxiety and has a drug problem — exacerbated by his bitter rivalry with Will — that ends up making him give up on his Founders Award victory due to not feeling worthy of it.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Jimmy Akingbola, the reimagined Geoffrey, previously played the son of the original Geoffrey, Joseph Marcell, on an episode of Death in Paradise.
    • Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley in the original series, plays Mrs. Hughes, one of Ashley's teachers.
    • Daphne Maxwell Reid (Fresh Prince's second Aunt Viv) and Vernee Watson-Johnson (Fresh Prince's Vy) appear in "Can't Knock the Hustle" as members of the Art Council Board of Trustees, whom Vivian meets with about a possible fellowship. The names of their characters are, respectively, Helen and Janice, which were the names of Aunt Viv and Vy's sisters in the original series.
  • Category Traitor:
    • Part of the reason Will and Carlton start butting heads is Will’s initial interpretation that Carlton is ashamed of his heritage. Whilst the subject of Carlton's blackness was part of the original Fresh Prince, it was always portrayed as being in part due to his naivety of the world outside of Bel Air.
    • In Episode 7, Carlton learns from a classmate named Aisha that despite his popularity, a lot of the black students at Bel Air Academy hold this opinion of him due to his tastes and friends like Connor - that he learns this after being targeted by Connor’s racism means it stings a little harder. Ultimately, Carlton publicly calling Connor out for his racist and homophobic comments starts rehabilitating his image with the other students.
  • Cliffhanger: By the end of the first season, the rest of the family is varying degrees of aware of the fact that Geoffrey was fired, and Will has run away from home after the fallout of learning about the truth concerning his dad (with only Jazz knowing where he went, and it not being made clear if Will is going back to the Banks' or not).
  • Composite Character:
    • In the sitcom, Will was driven to Bel-Air by an unnamed cab driver. In this show, Jazz is the one who drives him there; he even has a pair of dice hanging on his mirror in a nod to the original.
    • Fred Wilkes takes Judge Robertson's role as Phil's rival in the election. While Robertson still appears in the show, his role has been greatly reduced.
  • Dark Secret: The reason why Will's father Lou walked out on the family is this to Will's mother, Vivian and Phil. It's implied that the latter two had something to do with it and it's bad enough that Will is likely going to hate them if he learns the truth. Phil goes as far as to order Geoffrey to track down Lou and make sure he never comes into contact with Will if he ever finds out.
  • Darker and Edgier: The original show was a lighthearted sitcom with over-the-top humor and frequent fourth wall breaks, though it wasn't without its dark moments. This version, on the other hand, is a modern day drama that's much more grounded in reality, with gang violence, drugs, and serious familial conflicts playing a role in the narrative. It also has a TV-MA rating, while the sitcom was generally family-friendly.
    • In the original, the reason Will was sent away was because he got into a minor scuffle with some bullies on the basketball court and it's Played for Laughs with him being spun around in the opening. The entire situation resolved when Will returns to Philadelphia wishing to reclaim his "rep" only to find that the bully has turned over a new leaf, is helping youths avoid the same pitfalls, and sincerely apologizes for his behavior. In the reboot, the fight is much more serious with Will throwing the first punch, pulling out a gun when things escalate and firing it into the air, and getting violently arrested at the end. The gangster who attacked Will, Rashad, is also an incredibly dangerous person who wants Will dead after the incident; this is the reason why Vy opts to get him out of town in the first place.
    • The original series has Will and Carlton butting heads on occasion with some ribbing, but have an overall decent relationship. In the reboot, Carlton looks at Will with much more venomous jealousy over the attention his parents show him, and their relationship is much much more antagonistic.
  • Deadly Sparring: During lacrosse practice, Connor mocks Carlton's poor performance with a line about black people "stealing" lacrosse from white people. Carlton, who is already on edge due to issues culminating from previous episodes, retaliates by breaking Connor's wrist.
  • Death by Adaptation: Rashad, the gangster responsible for Will being sent away in the first place, is Killed Offscreen by an unknown party sent by Geoffrey. His Fresh Prince counterpart, Omar, lived on to turn his life around and give back to his community.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Hilary is mentioned to have dropped out of college and has repeatedly failed to hold down a steady job. While she is trying to find her passion, she has a tendency to quit what she is doing whenever something doesn't go her way.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Beulah Lisa Wilkes, as in the original Fresh Prince.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Despite their bad blood, Carlton is not happy that Connor planted drugs in Will's backpack.
    • Once Connor makes a racist remark about Carlton, Carlton proceeds to publicly tell his friend to apologize for his offensive remarks - and as Carlton makes clear, he doesn't just mean what was said to him, but all of his racist (not just limited to black) and homophobic jibes. When Connor refuses, it's made clear to him that rest of the lacrosse team (Whites included) side with Carlton on the matter.
  • False Friend: Connor to Carlton. The two initially appear to be very tight, Carlton defends Connor after Will attacks him for saying the N-word and the two work together to ostracize Will in school after he beats them up during the pool party. However in Episode 7 it is revealed that Connor is extremely racist and looks down on Carlton for being black. After Carlton finally gets tired of his comments and breaks his wrist in retaliation, Connor makes Carlton into a social pariah, much like the two did Will. While Connor attends Carlton's build up party despite not being invited, it's made clear that Connor sees nothing he's said or done wrong and calls him "whack" when he asks for an apology, leaving Carlton and many of the rest of the students (who are on Carlton's side).
  • Fish out of Water: Like in the original show, Will's adjustment to his new settings drives much of his character, though it's explored a bit more here as he tries to fit in with the upper crust but is either shunned or mocked with Carlton even chiding him for thinking this was similar to his home in Philly.
    • Carlton also feels this way the first time he attends Bel-Air Academy's Black Student Union.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Carlton is not happy that Phil bonds with Will over basketball, especially given the fact that Phil built the court for his son but he became interested in lacrosse instead.
  • Honorary Aunt: The Banks children refer to Lisa’s late mother as Aunt Gayle.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Jackie is much more sexually suggestive towards Will than the original Jackie, which had a more tomboyish attitude.
  • It's All About Me: Carlton can't stand Will taking any attention away from him even for a minute, despite the fact that Will has been uprooted from his home and is afraid for his life.
  • Karma Houdini: After losing to Will and Tray, Darnell picks up a basketball and throws it into the crowd around the boys. The errant ball hits Rashad in the back, and he mistakenly accuses Will and Tray of the act, whilst Darnell is shown quietly making his escape.
  • Last Episode, New Character: The Season 1 finale finally introduces Will's father Lou, who had only been alluded to throughout most of the season.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "The Strength to Smile", we get this line from Kylo:
    Kylo: Social [media] don't wait, Hil, not even for family matters. Goddamn, I loved that show growing up. You know what, they should remake that.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first scene is a twofer in that it shows a crowned Will sitting on his throne just like a scene from the original fan trailer, which in itself is a reference to the sitcom's opening credits sequence.
    • Will mentions having loved Philly Cheese steaks both in the prologue and at the Bank's house party, which is a shoutout to the episode where Tray was introduced in the original series where he was brought this very same food by him.
    • In a quick clip on the plane ride from Philly to L.A., Will has a champagne glass of orange juice, referencing a theme song lyric from the original series pilot.
    • The famous theme song gets a few nods in the first episode. Will tells Jazz that he was "born and raised" in West Philly, and later tells a concerned Vivian that he got in "one little fight and my mom got scared".
    • Jazz is the one who drives Will to the mansion this time, calling to mind DJ Jazzy Jeff (the original Jazz) driving Will Smith to the set of The Fresh Prince Reunion in that famous taxi. Plus, there's still those iconic dice in the mirror.
    • As in the original series, Will turns his school blazer inside-out to help him stand out more from the other students.
    • At one point, Hilary wears a pink plaid blazer that hearkens back to some outfits that she wore in the sitcom.
    • In "Yamacraw", Carlton's jealousy over Will comes to a boil when the family misses his lacrosse game to support Will at his basketball game. This is reminiscent of the Fresh Prince episode "Courting Disaster", which also has Carlton grow envious of his cousin when he becomes the school's basketball star.
    • Possibly unintentional, but Tray visits Will in Bel-Air in episode five, the same episode in which he did so in the original series.
    • Phil's close friend Fred Wilkes running against him for District Attorney calls to mind Phil's mentor Judge Carl Robertson running against him for Superior Court Judge in the original series.
    • In "Payback's a B*tch", a dancer on social media is shown doing the Carlton; naturally, Carlton says that it's his favorite dance move.
    • The police busting Carlton's party at the end of "Payback's a B*tch" is very similar to the plot of "Mistaken Identity". In both situations, Carlton is confronted by the police and Carlton confidently claims ownership of something (Here the mansion, in Fresh Prince it was the car him and Will were in), only for them not to believe him due to racial profiling and very nearly gets arrested until someone with authority influence bails him out just like in the original series.
    • The original Hilary, like the new one, also had trouble committing to a job and would jump ship when things go south. Geoffrey called her out in the original series while Kylo does so here.
    • One of Will's final lines in Season 1, "It's like nobody wants me", echoes the famous line from the sitcom, "How come he don't want me, man?" Fittingly, both lines are spoken following a cold encounter with his estranged father.
    • In "Can't Knock the Hustle", Vivian shows Helen a painting of a silhouetted figure who greatly resembles the late James Avery.
    • Will and Jazz do their signature handshake from the original series, this time with the hand slap being followed by a forearm clash before the finger snap.
    • Like in the original series, there's a birthday party for Ashley that involves the sudden appearance of a famous singer (Tevin Campbellnote  in the original, Saweetie in the remake).
  • N-Word Privileges: Will is enraged when he hears Connor, Carlton's white friend, rapping along to Bobby Shmurda's "Hot Nigga" in the locker room. Meanwhile Carlton is perfectly fine with it, which leads to a heated discussion between the two after school.
    Will: He ain't with the culture, Carlton! And clearly, you ain't either!
    Carlton: You're really flipping out over a word that Black rappers sell to millions of white people like Connor every day? And you expect them to not say the words that they're listening to?!
  • Never My Fault:
    • After fighting with Will at a party, Carlton refuses to accept any responsibility for the incident. Both of his parents point out that, whilst Will was at fault for striking Carlton, the only reason it even happened was because Carlton pushed Will into a swimming pool out of jealousy over Will getting close to Carlton's ex.
    • Upon being flown out to Bel-Air, it becomes apparent that Tray blames Will for the situation with Rashad; however, as Will points out, he was arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm that Tray brought to the court.
    • Lou is even worse in this version than he was in the original. Not only is he a coward who refuses to man up and be a father to Will, but he also blames Will's mother for everything that went bad in his life.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Will gives a scathing one to Phil in the Season 1 finale. He tells him that he can no longer trust him after learning that he, along with Viv and Vy, hid the truth about his father's absence from him his whole life. Will even goes as far as saying Phil's no better than his father, because he abandoned him and his mother when he moved out of Philly to Bel-Air 10 years ago and never came back.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Doc Hightower. Although his surname is revealed in the same episode where he debuts (the Season 2 premiere), he's almost always called by his nickname.
  • Out of Focus: Ashley gets reduced focus in this series compared to the original, where she was the closest person in the family to Will for much of the early years. In a bit of an inversion, Hilary has far greater focus.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Will's father, as in the original series, is shown to have walked out on his family when Will was 4. Whilst this wasn't brought up extensively in the original sitcom, the dramatised setting present here shows that it's still a sore point for Will, and part of Uncle Phil's motivation for bringing Will to Bel-Air.
    • Lisa's mother died three years prior to the start of the series. She admits that she doesn't really talk about her unless it's with people who also knew her, but lets Will know about the situation.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Connor. Whilst he’s initially portrayed as Innocently Insensitive by saying the N-word as he sings along to rap songs, as the first season progresses it is made very clear that he is genuinely racist and homophobic.
  • The Prankster: Two of them; Jared and Nathan (a.k.a. "The Blackass Brothers") are a pair of influencers who specialize in prank content. They pull an especially lewd prank (involving a twerking teddy bear and some nudity) during Hillary's dinner party.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Both Phil and Vivian. When Will is busted for possession of drugs, they hear him out and listen to his side of the story and go to bat for him with the school to get the charges dropped.
    • Uncle Phil often finds himself as the peacemaker for family disputes.
  • Remake Cameo: Daphne Reid (The second Aunt Viv in Fresh Prince) and Vernee Watson-Johnson (Viola Smith in Fresh Prince) appear in episode nine, playing members of the Art Council Board of Trustees. Their names? Helen and Janice, which were the names of Aunt Viv and Vi's sisters in the original series. Tatyana Ali (Ashley in Fresh Prince) appears as Mrs. Hughes, a teacher to the reboot Ashley.
  • Ruder and Cruder: The language used in this Darker and Edgier adaptation is much more obscene compared to its predecessor. It holds a TV-MA rating as a result.
  • Saying Too Much: Upon first meeting Angela, Fred Wilkes new wife, Will makes polite conversation and asks how they met. As Angela tells the story, Vivian points out that the golf tournament Angela mentions happened the year before Gayle passed away, and Angela quickly makes an excuse to leave the conversation.
  • Setting Update: Bel-Air is a modern retelling of The '90s-era sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and is set squarely in The New '20s. A consequence of the update is that the show is set a generation after the original, as demonstrated when Phil and Geoffrey talk about their teenage years and music tastes as if they were about the same age as the original Will and Carlton.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The influencer house that Hillary joins is a reference to the Sway House, a Real Life household in Bel-Air that consisted of popular internet personalities.
    • Kylo namedrops Family Matters (a fellow black sitcom from The '90s) and talks about how Hollywood should remake it.
  • Special Guest: Saweetie appears at Ashley's 13th birthday party, courtesy of Hilary.note 
  • Special Thanks: The closing credits of each episode thank the cast of the original series.
  • Spoiled Brat: While Carlton has always been spoiled and self-centered in his previous depiction ("I don't wanna die! I still need go to college and poke fun at all the kids on financial aid!"), it was always Played for Laughs due to his naivety. In this series, he's far less harmless and more malicious. Thankfully, he gets better later.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Hilary is far more good natured and kind than in the original series. While she does rely on her family's wealth to support her, she is far more committed to building something of her own.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: According to Lisa, Connor is this to Carlton.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Can't Knock the Hustle". Lisa and Fred learn of Will's arrest, Phil finds out that Geoffrey had informed Will about his father (resulting in an argument culminating in Geoffrey being fired, with the rest of the family being given the explanation that he had a "family emergency"), and Phil drops out of the election for the sake of his family.
    • The Season Finale, "Where To?". Will finally meets his father, Lou, and learns the truth of his absence, which had been kept from him his whole life; he had been in prison for 13 years for stealing from and assaulting an elderly man. The fallout from learning all this is too much for Will to take, and he runs out.