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  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 10, 1990
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads
  • Summary: A wealthy family living in Bel-Air, California, receives a dubious gift from their poorer relations in Philadelphia when Grammy Award-winner Will Smith arrives as The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. His mother wants him to learn some good old-fashioned values from his successful relatives. But Will shatters the sophisticated serenity of Bel-Air with his streetwise common sense, much to the dismay of his upper-crust uncle, Philip Banks (James Avery), Aunt Vivian (Janet Hubert-Whitten and Daphne Maxwell Reid) and three conceited cousins, Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), Hilary (Karyn Parsons) and Ashley (Tatyana Ali) - and even the butler, Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell). As the Banks family opens their home - and their checkbook - to their needy relative, Will adapts easily to their indulgent lifestyle. Yet, he reminds everyone that the simplest pleasures of family life can't be bought at any price.Repeats can be seen on Nick at Nite, The N (Noggin's nightime program lineup), and weekday afternoons on TBS.Nielsen Ratings
    (Top 20 or better)Not in Top 20 in the 1990 - 1991 Season
    #18 in the 1991 - 1992 Season
    #14 in the 1992 - 1993 Season
    Not in Top 20 in the 1993 - 1994 Season
    Not in Top 20 in the 1994 - 1995 Season
    Not in Top 20 in the 1995 - 1996 Season Theme Song: "Fresh Prince" Lyrics and music by Will Smith. Produced by Will Smith in association with "A Touch Of Jazz". Now this is the story all about how My life got flipped, turned upside down And I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air In West Philadelphia born and raised On the playground where I spent most of my days Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool And shootin' some B-ball outside of the school When a couple of guys who were up to no good Started making trouble in my neighbourhood I got in one little fight and my mom got scared She said "you're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air" I whistled for a cab and when it came near the License plate said "Fresh" and had dice in the mirror If anything I could say that this cab was rare But I thought nah, forget it, yo homes to bel-air I pulled up to a house about seven or eight And I yelled to the cabbie 'Yo homes, smell you later Looked at my kingdom I was finally there To sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air
  • Genre(s): Comedy
  • Creator: Ann Donahue, Anthony E. Zuiker
  • Show Type: Ended
  • Season 1 premiere date: Sep 10, 1990
  • Episode Length: 30
  • Air Time: 08:00 PM
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Rick Kogan
    Aug 16, 2013
    For all of its frolic and delight, its social observations and conflict make it the television progeny of such substantive sitcoms as "All in the Family." [10 Sept 1990, p.1C]
  2. Reviewed by: Susan Paynter
    Aug 16, 2013
    While Smith's act is G-rated enough to give rap a good name, the show offers a new and not-so-safe perspective of the so-called "black experience" in America. These are not the Jeffersons. These rich people have their pretentions, but they're no fools. [10 Sept 1990, p.C4]
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Stein
    Aug 16, 2013
    The guess is that it will have staying power, primarily because of the presence of Will Smith, a rapper who does, indeed, go by the name of "Fresh Prince." Smith, half of the rap duo of D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, is a natural, so likable and charismatic that he already has drawn parallels to Eddie Murphy from NBC's Brandon Tartikoff. [10 Sept 1990, p.C-1]
  4. Reviewed by: Greg Dawson
    Aug 16, 2013
    But the writers blow it; they don't keep Fresh Prince in character. When he arrives at the Bel Air mansion and the black butler opens the door, Fresh Prince mistakes him for a relative - a believable lapse for an inner-city kid. But the next thing you know, he's doing a dead-on impression of an English butler...Fresh Prince shows up for a formal dinner in his gaudy street threads and doesn't know which fork to use, yet he's an accomplished classical pianist. None of this adds up, and it drains away most of the fish-out-of-water tension that could have produced a terrific comedy. [10 Sept 1990, p.C1]
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Aug 16, 2013
    Whether clinking crystal to a beat or jiving with the crusty butler, Smith is looked upon by even his detractors with condescending "isn't he something" adoration. Tiresome as that is, Smith's breezy and non-combative charm gives this the look of a winner. Even if, in concept, it's more nap time than rap time. [10 Sept 1990, p.3D]
  6. Reviewed by: John Haslett
    Aug 16, 2013
    The cultural clash contains a wealth of comic possibilities and kids may well take to the show although I found it rather predictable. [10 Sept 1990]
  7. Reviewed by: Marvin Kitman
    Jul 12, 2013
    It's the old school of ridiculous sitcoms at its worst. [10 Sep 1990]

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Dec 5, 2011
    i have nothing to say, it's just awesome, will smith is the best actor ever and all of his movies, series...etc are wonderful, i always laugh when i watch this, just because it's hilarious Expand
  2. Feb 14, 2012
    This show defines my child hood and my current sense of humor. I love how goofy Will Smith is and every character is perfect. Every few minutes there is an uncle Phil fat joke and a Carlton short joke, Classic. Expand
  3. Jun 13, 2012
    Amazing sitcom. Continuously funny.
  4. Aug 9, 2011
    Great show. Me and my brother absolutely love it! This really shows off the best of Will Smith. To sum it up in one word: Hilarious.