Peacock's Bel-Air just launched its second season, continuing its reimagining of the classic '90s sitcom that took the fish-out-of-water storyline to an epic level, infusing the show with comedy, music and social awareness rarely seen on other sitcoms.
How 'Bel-Air' Came To Be
Series creator Morgan Cooper went a roundabout route in pitching the show. Instead of scheduling the typical meetings and introductions with studio heads, Cooper created a YouTube trailer that went viral. It eventually captured the eye of the eponymous OG Fresh Prince, Will Smith.
Fast forward a few months and a few meetings later, and 'the show Bel-Air is being carefully crafted around the original themes and narratives, while also being dedicated to its own time period and the issues that exist. Cassandra Freeman, who plays Aunt Viv, explains the show's magic, stating that:
"We're trying to show the world that it's expansive to be black. Black is not just Crenshaw [Boulevard]. Black's not just from Baltimore. Black is an expansive experience."
With such a purpose and dedication, is it any wonder that stars from the original show are eager to grace the small screen again, revitalizing their original roles?
Aunt Viv and Aunt Vy Make a Nostalgic Return
Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played the second Aunt Viv, starred alongside her sister - Viola Smith, but lovingly known as Aunt Vy - played by Vernee Watson-Johnson. They starred in episode 9, "Can't Knock the Hustle" from season 1 of 'Bel-Air' as members of the Art Council Board of Trustees.
As for the rest of the original crew, rumor has it that Will Smith will be making an appearance sometime in the second season, and fingers are crossed for additional cameos.
Ashley Banks Is Back As A New Character
Perhaps one of the most anticipated cameos belongs to Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley Banks. Ashley was the youngest of Phil and Vivian's brood. Tatyana literally grew up before the eyes of American while on the show. She started as an adorable (albeit naive) girl, to a sophisticated young woman by the show's end. On Bel-Air, she plays Mrs. Hughes, a teacher and mentor to Ashely Banks. Tatyana calls Ashley a role that Ali calls 'meta' in its retrospective significance.
'Bel-Air' Season 2 is available on Peacock, with new episodes premiering every Thursday.