The dynamic duo Andy Borowitz and Susan Borowitz returned in their positions as creators to rear ‘Bel-Air,’ the dramatization of the long-running sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.’ The series revolves around Will Smith (Jabari Banks plays the character), a rebellious streak, a late teen kid from Philly. When the weather seems to worsen, Will’s mother sends him to the titular estate of his wealthy lawyer uncle.
The series showcases African American experience while building on class conflict and the American dream. If you have liked the dramatic retelling, we have some more shows you should add to your bucket list. You can find most of these shows similar to ‘Bel-Air’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. South Side (2019-)
‘South Side’ is a charming and feel-good sitcom with Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle at the helm. The story follows two friends who are fresh out of community college, scouting for business opportunities. In the meantime, they struggle with their daily job at a rental store in suburban Chicago. The creators immerse us in a world populated with diverse characters, while their honest and grounded portrayals of the main characters add an earthen charm to the story. If you are looking for a series with the exact grounded nature as ‘Bel Air,’ this show is where you should place your bet.
6. Blindspotting (2021-)
Created by Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs, the comedy-drama series ‘Blindspotting’ is a spinoff of the widely acclaimed 2018 movie of the same name. The story picks up six months after the movie, chronicling the latter part of the life of Ashley. After the death of her husband and the lead of the film, Miles, Ashley, and her son Sean move in with Miles’ mother and half-sister. Well, things do not go smoothly, making room for some existential dread and uneasy laughs. If you are looking for another oddball family comedy with a regional feel following ‘Bel Air,’ this series also pays homage to the Bay area lifestyle.
5. Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)
Ideated by Chris Rock and Ali LeRoi and based on the teenage life experiences of Chris Rock, the sitcom series ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ is a hilarious and stereotype-defying exploration of its central character. Well, the premise is pretty much a giveaway – Chris has to take care of the house when his parents are out.
Meanwhile, Chris’ siblings hate him like anything, as they feel that Chris is not qualified for the task of housekeeping. With a steady fan base and multiple awards and accolades, this series is a sitcom that both children and their parents can simultaneously enjoy. If you have a thing for the character of will in ‘Bel Air,’ Chris will sway you off your feet.
4. Family Matters (1989-1998)
Created by William Bickley and Michael Warren as a spinoff of the ABC sitcom ‘Perfect Strangers,’ ‘Family Matters’ is an animated family sitcom about a middle-class African-American family. The Winslow family lives in peace in a Chicago suburb until the madcap inventor neighbor Steve Urkel disturbs their night’s sleep.
The journey of the series is pretty much the journey of Steve Urkel, who begins his journey from a one-off character and becomes a mainstay. After winning three Young Artist Awards, the popularity of the series does not require reinforcement. If you seek another mischievous family-oriented drama following ‘Bel Air,’ this show should be your next destination.
3. The Wire (2002-2008)
In David Simon’s intricate and somber political thriller series ‘The Wire,’ the system seems to have broken. In the backdrop of a violent Baltimore, Detective James McNulty and his team try to decode a mystery. The drug kingpins seem to have bought the law enforcement, and justice has turned upside down. This show was not the first to suggest the demise of law and order.
However, the brilliance of the series lies in showcasing the nitty-gritty of the crime-laden underbelly of the country. It also dauntingly portrays how the social injustices leave their marks in a community, featuring a stellar ensemble cast. If following ‘Bel Air’ you fancy a series that captures the American Dream with all its dark spots, this classic series will not fail to grapple your imagination.
2. Atlanta (2016-)
Created by rapper-actor Donald Glover, who is best known by his stage name Childish Gambino, ‘Atlanta’ is an unlikely comedy-drama television series. The story follows college dropout turned music manager Earnest “Earn” Marks, who attempts to launch the career of his cousin Alfred Miles aka Paper Boi. With endearing characters and an electrifying score, the ambitious drama pushes the boundaries for the genre. Beautifully scripted and glisteningly performed, this is the series you should head next if you are looking for another genre foray about an African American teen experience.
1. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
Created by Andy and Susan Borowitz and loosely based on Benny Medina’s life, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ is a feel-good sitcom. In what many consider to be Will Smith’s vehicle to stardom, the series features Smith as a fictionalized version of himself. A street-smart teen, Will gets caught up in trouble in his Philadelphia and lands in Bel-Air, the titular estate of his wealthy uncle. The comedy arises from Will’s working-class ideas and their contrast to the upper-class lifestyle of his uncle’s family. Following ‘Bel-Air,’ you must go back to its roots, complete with a catchy jingle and endearing characters.