|Created by||Andy Borowitz & Susan Borowitz|
|Developed by||Morgan Cooper & Malcolm Spellman & TJ Brady & Rasheed Newson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Running time||40–60 minutes|
|Release||February 13, 2022 –|
Bel-Air is an American drama television series developed by Morgan Cooper, Malcolm Spellman, TJ Brady, and Rasheed Newson. It is a reimagined version of the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and is based on Cooper's short fan film of the same name. It stars Jabari Banks, Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Olly Sholotan, Coco Jones, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones, and Simone Joy Jones. The series premiered on Peacock on February 13, 2022. The second season was released on February 23, 2023. In March 2023, the series was renewed for a third season.
The series follows Will Smith's complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. It dives deep into racial tension, culture shock, and the elitist world of the black bourgeoisie.
Cast and characters
- Jabari Banks as Will Smith, a 16-year-old from West Philadelphia who is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air by his mother, Vy
- Cassandra Freeman as Vivian Banks, Will's aunt, wife of Philip and sister of Vy
- Jimmy Akingbola as Geoffrey Thompson, the House Manager of the Bankses, originally from Jamaica before moving to London as a child
- Olly Sholotan as Carlton Banks, the lacrosse-playing middle child of Viv and Phil and Will's cousin
- Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, a social media influencer, excellent chef and eldest child of Viv and Phil and Will's cousin
- Akira Akbar as Ashley Banks, the 12-year-old youngest child of Viv and Phil and Will's cousin
- Simone Joy Jones as Lisa Wilkes, a potential love interest of Will, and Carlton's ex. She is also on the swim team.
- Jordan L. Jones as Jazz, a taxi driver Will met and bonded with when he arrived at LAX. He also owns a record store and has a crush on Hilary.
- Adrian Holmes as Philip Banks, Will's lawyer uncle, husband of Viv
- April Parker Jones as Viola "Vy" Smith, Will's mother
- SteVonté Hart as Tray Melbert, Will's former best friend in Philadelphia
- Tyler Barnhardt as Connor Satterfield, Carlton's best friend during season 1 but later stopped the friendship due to Connor's behavior
- Joe Holt as Fred Wilkes, Lisa's father who is a Chief of Police for the LAPD
- Charlie Hall as Tyler Laramy, Will's friend and basketball teammate at Bel-Air Academy
- Wendy Davis as Joan
- Jon Beavers as Kylo
- Michael Ealy as Reed Broderick
- Karrueche Tran as Ivy
- Tatyana Ali as Mrs. Hughes (season 2),[a] Ashley's English literature teacher at Bel-Air Academy. Ali portrayed "Ashley Banks" in the original series.
- Reno Wilson as James Lewis (season 2)
- Brooklyn McLinn as Doc Hightower (season 2)
- Jazlyn Martin as Jackie (season 2)
- Riele Downs as Yazmin (season 2)
- Nicholas Duvernay as Drew (season 2)
- Shelley Robertson as Ms. Bassin (season 2)
- Justin Cornwell as Lamarcus Alton (season 2)
- Diandra Lyle as Erika Baker (season 2)
In addition, Aimee Li and Andi Rene Christensen costar as Phanta and Monica (two of Hilary's influencer housemates), with Al-Shabazz Jabateh also costarring as Hudson for the second season.
Special guest stars
- Daphne Maxwell Reid as Janice, a board member of the Art Council. Reid previously was the second actress to portray Vivian Banks in the original series. Also in the original series, Janice was the name the Vivian's youngest sister.
- Vernee Watson-Johnson as Helen, another board member of the Art Council. Watson-Johnson previously portrayed Viola 'Vy' Smith in the original series. Also in the original series, Helen was the name of Vivian, Vy and Janice's sister
- Marlon Wayans as Lou, Will's father whom he thought abandoned his mother and him
|First released||Last released|
|1||10||February 13, 2022||March 31, 2022|
|2||10||February 23, 2023||April 27, 2023|
Season 1 (2022)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Dreams and Nightmares"||Morgan Cooper||Morgan Cooper & Malcolm Spellman & TJ Brady & Rasheed Newson||February 13, 2022|
|2||2||"Keep Ya Head Up"||Carl Seaton||JaNeika James & JaSheika James||February 13, 2022|
|Will gets a call from his mother that his friend Tray was shot. Will attends his first day at Bel-Air Academy and is humiliated in front of the entire Junior Class by Carlton. Uncle Phil is interviewed on a Radio Show by Big Boy and asked more questions about his personal life than political. Hilary gets an offer from Haute Magazine on the condition that she tone down her recipes and outfits. With the help of Jazz, Uncle Phil, and Tyler's advice, Will is able to get a spot on the basketball team, but while leaving campus his bag is searched and Connor planted cocaine in his bag.|
|3||3||"Yamacraw"||Nick Copus||Yolonda Lawrence||February 13, 2022|
|After what happened at school, Will has in-school suspension. However, Phil and Vivian learn that the Principal didn't watch the tapes of who planted the drugs in Will's bag. After things get sorted out and returned at school, Phil invites Will to a crawfish boil event where his fraternity host.|
|4||4||"Canvass"||Dale Stern||Nicole Delaney & Henry "Hank" Jones||February 17, 2022|
|Phil convinces Hilary, Carlton, Will and Ashley to get fifty people to register to vote. He makes a deal with Carlton that if he doesn't make drama with Will, he'll get VIP seats to the Grand Prix at Monaco. Tray informs Will that Rashad now knows he's in Bel-Air, which leads to Geoffrey to help. He learns from Hilary that Carlton made a deal with Phil which leads him to make a deal with Vivian that if he doesn't make drama with Carlton, they can fly Tray out for the weekend which she accepts.|
|5||5||"PA to LA"||Tasha Smith||Ephraim Salaam & Rasheed Newson||February 24, 2022|
|Tray visits Bel-Air, following the deal Will had with Vivian. At the Banks, the family supports Hilary by hosting an influencer event at the Bank's residence. Tray's loyalty is put to test, as he shares Will's secret with Carlton, while tipsy at the dinner table. Carlton speaks with Phil and confronts Will with a new rule or he will snitch on him.|
|6||6||"The Strength to Smile"||Aurora Guerrero||TJ Brady & Paul Eriksen||March 3, 2022|
|Tray's abrupt return to West Philadelphia, has left Will with some hard feelings. And now, he's being trolled on social media. Viv is hosting a fundraiser to raise money for lupus research and honor the memory of her sorority sister and BFF Gayle, and best friend. Ashley is struggling with her feelings for Lucia. Romario and Lucia are at the event, mostly hanging out with Ashley, and Ash is trying really hard to impress Lucia. Vivian also is struggling with her return to the art world. Reid comes to the event and that ruffles Phil, who is aware of what Broderick is up to. Phil urges Geoffrey to watch Reid. Phil also loses one of his campaign endorsements, and it’s because Fred has joined the race as an opponent. Aunt Viv is preoccupied with Fred and Angela's history. Fred's first wife Gayle died in 2019, and Fred’s new wife met Fred in 2018 at an LAPD golf tournament. Viv is pondering whether or not Fred was cheating on his dying wife, and Viv's best friend, the entire time. Lisa has planned a poetry reading with Carlton for the event honoring her mother Gayle, and Lisa confided in him that she doesn't trust her stepmother Angela, who Lisa feels was trying to replace her mom. In a drug-fueled emotional breakdown, Carlton accuses Will of betraying him before tearfully apologizing. Will sits on the floor with his heartbroken cousin and offered to step in for him during Lisa’s reading. While talking with Will and Vivian, Angela inadvertently revealed she was having an affair with Lisa’s father while Gayle was still alive. She also tried to insert herself into this already planned event, leading to Vivian confronting Angela, and Angela and Fred leaving the event.|
|7||7||"Payback's a B*tch"||Ava Berkofsky||Carla Banks Waddles||March 10, 2022|
|8||8||"No One Wins When The Family Feuds"||Sylvain White||JaNeika James & JaSheika James||March 17, 2022|
|9||9||"Can't Knock The Hustle"||Matthew A. Cherry||Malcolm Spellman & Rasheed Newson||March 24, 2022|
|10||10||"Where To?"||Dale Stern||Morgan Cooper & TJ Brady & Rasheed Newson||March 31, 2022|
|Will finally meets his father face to face and asks him why he left him and his mother. Lou tries to make it sound like he was incarcerated for something that wasn't his fault, but it becomes evident that he felt emasculated by Philip's wealth and had desperately tried to make his own fortune the wrong way. When that didn't work out, Lou started blaming Vy for being "too demanding" and calls their marriage the biggest mistake of his life. Enraged, Will physically retaliates and Lou almost strangles him until Philip and Vivian intervene and kick Lou out. Feeling like his world is falling apart, Will runs away and meets up with Jazz, who asks him where he wants to go from here.|
Season 2 (2023)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|11||1||"A Fresh Start"||Dale Stern||Carla Banks Waddles||February 23, 2023|
|12||2||"Speaking Truth"||Anton Cropper||Anthony Sparks||March 2, 2023|
|13||3||"Compromised"||Michael Weaver||TJ Brady & Rasheed Newson||March 9, 2023|
|14||4||"Don't Kill My Vibe"||Dawn Wilkinson||Ephraim Salaam & Justin Calen-Chenn||March 16, 2023|
|15||5||"Excellence Is Everywhere"||Keesha Sharp||Tawnya Bhattacharya & Ali Laventhol||March 23, 2023|
|16||6||"Let the Best Man Win"||Stacey Muhammad||Nambi E. Kelley & Julian Johnson||March 30, 2023|
|17||7||"Under Pressure"||John S. Scott||Anthony Sparks||April 6, 2023|
|18||8||"Pursuit of Happiness"||Nick Copus||Ali Laventhol & Tawnya Bhattacharya||April 13, 2023|
|19||9||"Just Like Old Times"||Tasha Smith||JaNeika James & JaSheika James||April 20, 2023|
|20||10||"Don't Look Back"||Dale Stern||Carla Banks Waddles & Daniela Gaj||April 27, 2023|
On March 10, 2019, Morgan Cooper uploaded Bel-Air to YouTube. The submission was a fan film, written and directed by him, in the form of a mock trailer for an updated and dramatic reimagining of the television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Will Smith, who starred on the original sitcom as a fictionalized version of himself, heavily praised the fan film and expressed his interest in expanding the concept into a reboot, personally meeting with Cooper. On August 11, 2020, the series was officially announced after being in the works for over a year. At the time, Netflix, HBO Max, and Peacock were bidding for the rights to the series. On September 8, 2020, Peacock gave the series a two-season order under the title Bel-Air, with Westbrook Inc. and Universal Television producing. Smith and Cooper executive produce alongside Terence Carter, James Lassiter, Miguel Melendez, Malcolm Spellman, Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, Andy Borowitz, and Susan Borowitz. Upon the streaming records announcement, it was reported that Anthony Sparks joined the series as an executive producer for the second season. On October 13, 2022, it was announced that Carla Banks Waddles has been promoted to executive producer and showrunner for the second season, replacing TJ Brady & Rasheed Newson, who were the showrunners for the first season. Banks Waddles was a co-executive producer for the first season. On March 17, 2023, Peacock renewed the series for a third season.
In August 2021, Smith surprised Jabari Banks with the news that Banks would star as the lead. In September 2021, Adrian Holmes, Cassandra Freeman, Olly Sholotan, Coco Jones, Akira Akbar, Jimmy Akingbola, Jordan L. Jones, and Simone Joy Jones joined the cast as series regulars. In January 2022, Karrueche Tran, Duane Martin, Joe Holt, April Parker Jones, SteVonté Hart, Scottie Thompson, and Charlie Hall in recurring roles. In March 2022, it was reported that Daphne Maxwell Reid and Vernee Watson-Johnson guest starred in episode 9 on March 24. On January 12, 2023, it was announced that Saweetie is set to make a cameo appearance as herself while Brooklyn McLinn, Jazlyn Martin, and Riele Downs were cast in recurring capacities for the second season. A week later, it was reported that Tatyana Ali who played Ashley Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was cast in a recurring role for the second season. On February 21, 2023, Al-Shabazz Jabateh, Nicholas Duvernay, Diandra Lyle, Justin Cornwell, and Reno Wilson joined the cast in recurring capacities for the second season.
Principal photography was scheduled to take place in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. On January 7, 2022, it was reported that the series had some positive COVID-19 tests on set, but production was not impacted.
An online premiere for the series was held on February 9, 2022, by Crown & Conquer. The series premiered on Peacock on February 13, 2022, with its first three episodes. The second season premiered on February 23, 2023.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds an approval rating of 66% based 47 critic reviews, with an average rating on 6.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Bel-Air replaces its predecessor's high spirits with a dour tone and an uneasy mix of realism, although there are signs that this reimagining can grow into a fresh new spin." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 59 out of 100 based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The second season has a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 10 critic reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. On Metacritic, the second season received a score of 71 based on reviews from 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews.
On May 2, 2022, Peacock announced that Bel-Air is the most-streamed original series on the streaming service, reaching 8 million accounts to date.
|BET Awards||2022||Best Actor||Adrian Holmes||Nominated|||
|Best Actress||Coco Jones||Nominated|
|Black Reel Awards||2022||Outstanding Drama Series||Bel-Air||Won|||
|Outstanding Directing, Drama Series||Morgan Cooper for "Dreams and Nightmares"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing, Drama Series||Malcolm Spellman, Morgan Cooper, T.J. Brady and Rasheed Newson for "Dreams and Nightmares"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama Series||Adrian Holmes||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama Series||Coco Jones||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Awards||2023||Outstanding Drama Series||Bel-Air||Pending|||
|Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series||Jabari Banks||Pending|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Adrian Holmes||Pending|
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