The internet has always had a lot of mixed thoughts about Bel-Air, Peacock’s gritty reboot of beloved 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Some people are up for this bold reimagining of the show, especially as it comes from exec producer Will Smith, while others have complained that the TV industry has finally hit rock bottom. With its streaming premiere right around the corner, the first reviews are in — and they’re just as conflicting.
On the one hand, many critics are not fans of the show. For starters, Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone was pretty critical, commenting that he thinks the reboot is inferior to the viral trailer that inspired it in the first place.
Similarly, The Verge’s Charles Pullman-Moore wanted to like Bel-Air but almost found that it “feels stuck somewhere between being a Will Smith vanity project and a dramatic reboot that doesn’t what it wants to say.”
In his review for Tech Radar, critic Tom Power admits that Bel-Air is “slightly enjoyable” but argued that it “would’ve fared far better if it wasn’t associated with The Fresh Prince at all.”
Evening Standard’s Jochan Embley thinks the series “doesn’t always work.”
On the other hand, many reviews were widely complimentary. Variety‘s Caroline Framke thought that the show “works better than it should,” with Bel-Air EP Rasheed Newsom sharing the positive notice on Twitter.
SF Chronicle’s Zaki Hasan “absolutely loved it!”
Black Girl Nerds’ Jeanine T. Abraham was likewise a fan, deeming the series a “glorious” retelling.
Nicole Vassell of The Independent, meanwhile, thought it was “unexpectedly compelling.”
Bel-Air stars Jabari Banks as Will, with Adrian Holmes (Uncle Phil), Cassandra Freeman (Aunt Viv), Olly Sholotan (Carlton), Coco Jones (Hilary), and Jimmy Akingbola (Geoffrey) also in the cast. The first three episodes are set to arrive on Peacock this Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 13.