The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the most iconic sitcoms of the 1990’s that propelled up-and-coming Will Smith to stardom. Its legacy has been sticking in the mind of modern-day viewers, now that it is available in HBO Max and that the show is getting a hardcore reboot, based on the viral Bel-Air film short.
For those tuning in or having finished binging on the adventures Will, Carlton and the gang, there are some more shows and films out there worth checking out. Here are 10 things to watch for those who like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
10 Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)
Everybody Hates Chris is inspired by Chris Rock’s teenage experiences, jumping from his family life to his exploits around his neighborhood. Needless to say, the adolescent life of Chris (Tyler James Williams) has been less than stellar. He has received bad treatment from his family, his school, and other colorful characters who just hate him inexplicably.
At its run, the show received acclaim for being a poignant coming-of-age tale of a teenager facing hardships. And, it instinctively tackles tough subject matter with Chris Rock’s signature humor and a fun cast.
9 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Fans of Fresh Prince can interlink the show’s school hijinks with that of 10 Things I Hate About You. Taking inspiration from The Taming of the Shrew, this high school romantic comedy centers on new kid Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who wishes to date sweet girl Bianca. But in order to do that properly, he convinces the rebellious Patrick (Heath Ledger) to ask out Bianca’s ill-humored sister Kat (Julia Stiles).
While it packs many high school movie clichés, this teen favorite also packs a lot of charm and wit that rewards viewers.
8 Atlanta (2016-)
Will Smith is one of those creative artists who had spawned further success in television. And it seems Donald Glover took his cues with Atlanta. One of the best TV shows from the last decade this surreal comedy focuses on Earnest Marks (Glover) as he navigates around Atlanta’s rap scene by managing the career of his cousin Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brian Tyree Henry).
Innovative in its creative execution and ambitious on its subtle themes, this FX show brings out the creative prowess from Glover that opens new doors.
7 Barbershop (2002)
Speaking of rappers, Ice Cube made equal splashes as movie star. One of his film highlights is the Barbershop trilogy. The first film focuses on Calvin (Cube) receiving the reins of his father’s barbershop business. But when he decides to sell the shop to loan shark Lester (Keith David), Calvin sees the value of the business and connects with the community.
Like Fresh Prince, Cube immerses himself in a new community of colorful figures and finds welcome company among them.
6 The Jeffersons (1975-1985)
As a spin-off of All in the Family, The Jeffersons features George and Louise Jefferson, the well-do neighbors of Archie and Edith Bunker, as they move from Queens to Manhattan. Their family soon finds company inside their new luxury apartment, along with its colorful tenants.
Much like its predecessor, this 70’s sitcom forged its own legacy. It managed to connect with audiences, with their characters having to deal with taboo topics sympathetically. Without them, the dynamics between the Banks family would not have existed.
5 She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
An early Spike Lee joint that got a modern-day Netflix update, She’s Gotta Have It is a black-and-white comedy about stunning Brooklyn woman Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) who juggles her life between three likable suitors: the goodhearted Jamie Overstreet, the conceited Greer Childs and the street-smart Mars Blackmon (Lee).
While this film is anything but family-friendly, it represents a very liberating representation of an African-American woman in Nola, who balances her beauty and confidence with witty insight. Viewers can get the same Fresh Prince rapport in this insightful comedy.
4 Martin (1992-1997)
Will Smith’s Bad Boys costar Martin Lawrence had his fruitful start in the hit sitcom Martin. Lawrence stars as disc jockey Martin Payne, who is an outspoken personality both in radio and public-access television. And he keeps juggling with his relationship with his girlfriend Gina (Tisha Campbell), his family, his friends and his coworkers.
For five seasons, this sitcom was a ratings hit on all spectrums. And Lawrence’s arrogant yet caring Martin becomes the staple of his comedy brand. Regarding Fresh Prince, Martin’s attitude nearly resembles Will Smith’s personality.
3 The Nutty Professor (1996)
One of Eddie Murphy’s more successful family-friendly films (both financially and critically), The Nutty Professor is a modern-day update of Jerry Lewis’ classic comedy. Murphy plays overweight research scientist Herman Klump who develops a weight-loss drug that transforms him into the good-looking alter ego, Buddy Love, to woo the girl of his dreams. However, Love has his own plans.
While the humor is basic, Murphy excels as not only Sherman, but also his family (Papa Klump, Mama Klump, Grandma Ida and Ernie Klump Sr.) with seamless makeup.
2 Black-ish (2014-)
Back to family dynamics, Black-ish centers on the Johnsons, an upper middle-class African-American family. The family consists of the patriarch Andre (Anthony Anderson), matriarch Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), oldest child Zoey (Yara Shahidi), Andre Jr. (Marcus Scribner), twins Jack (Miles Brown) and Diane (Marsai Martin), and youngest DeVante.
Black-ish is the closest that modern-day TV can go to match The Jeffersons. Like Fresh Prince’s dynamic, they also deal with important personal discussions and sociopolitical issues. The spin-offs Grown-ish and Mixed-ish also deal with such relevant topics.
1 Coming to America (1988)
Finally, here is another Eddie Murphy classic. Coming to America centers on charming crown prince Akeem Joffer from African nation Zamunda, who travels to New York to find a woman who can accept him for his personality, not his royal blood, and one whom he can respect for her goodwill.
Like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, this comedy is a down-to-earth fish-out-of-water story of a charming figure affecting the lives around him and improving upon his life. And its legacy shows of how this Eddie Murphy fairytale managed to last long.