Maybe 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Makes More Sense as a Drama
Rebooting beloved '90s sitcoms is pretty much the lifeblood of Hollywood these days. There was Fuller House, Girl Meets World, and the upcoming Saved by the Bell sequel in which Zach Morris has become the governor of California (presumably after manipulating the election results with his God-like superpowers). Now we're getting a new version of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But rather than a follow-up series featuring fresh-faced youngsters and a haggard Alfonso Ribeiro half-heartedly flailing his limbs in a desperate attempt to satiate the nostalgia-thirsty masses with his Carlton Dance, Bel-Air will feature an entirely new cast. Oh, and it will be a drama, based on the viral trailer directed by fan Morgan Cooper that reimagined the familiar story of "Will Smith" as an emotional prestige TV show.
While we're practically drowning in a sea of '90s reboots right now, this is one idea we can get actually behind. For starters, that trailer is surprisingly great. Plus, the best episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were often dramatic; there's the episode where Will is shot, the time Uncle Phil had a heart attack, and most memorably, the episode where Will's estranged father returns. If you can watch that final scene without tearing up, you might as well quit reading this article and head back to Westworld, you goddamn robot.
And even the basic premise of the show, in retrospect, lends itself more to a drama than comedy. Will is uprooted from his home and shipped across the country, thousands of miles away from his mother, after being assaulted while simply chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool. That's heartbreaking. Other plot points that were played for laughs could similarly provide moments of pathos, from Carlton's gambling problem, to Will deceiving his girlfriend with a fake marriage, to Hilary's fiancee Trevor dying in a freak bungee jumping accident. And this new series could really delve into how messed up it is that Will's uncle routinely abused his best friend.
Note, though, this certainly wouldn’t work with every sitcom -- no one needs a gritty show exploring the tragic life of Steve Urkel, for example.
Top Image: NBC