Now this is a story …
Eventually every classic TV show will get a reboot (what price Press Gang: The Substack Years?). Last year saw Don Cheadle narrate a reworking of The Wonder Years. A young Cheadle appeared in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in 1990. Coming next week to Peacock/Now is a dramatic retelling of the sitcom myth: Bel-Air sees newcomer Jabari Banks arrive from west Philadelphia to sit on the Fresh throne previously occupied by Will Smith.
The pilot of the original show was written by then husband and wife duo Andy and Susan Borowitz. Andy has claimed that the Fresh Prince’s cousin Carlton (he of the dance) was named after his college friend, the writer Carlton Cuse.
Carlton Cuse is a prolific screenwriter, director and producer who created Nash Bridges (itself rebooted briefly last year), and Bates Motel (a Psycho reinterpretation). He was also one of the writers on supernatural survivor series Lost.
Lost in the couch
Lost co-creator JJ Abrams made his film directing debut with the third round of Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible series, itself a kind of reboot. Back in 2004, shortly before Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch, he starred in Michael Mann’s excellent hitman thriller Collateral, alongside Jamie Foxx (who later dated Katie Holmes, subject of the couch incident) and Jada Pinkett Smith, underrated but excellent as (spoiler alert!) one of Cruise’s targets.
Matrix star Jada is married to Will Smith, although, as their compelling confessional chat on her web show Red Table Talk attests, there have been bumps along the way. Never not busy – and Oscar-tipped for King Richard – Will also helped to develop the new Bel-Air adventures. Whether the beloved, oft-parodied theme tune returns in some shape or form, remains to be seen.
Watch The new Bel-Air began as a three-and-a-half-minute fan film made by Morgan Cooper in 2019, which picked up several million views on YouTube.controversially slimmed down in the reboot) may have been on a health kick in season four, but his description of “pillowy mounds of mashed potatoes” will have you reaching for your masher.