Episodes: 148 (half-hour)
TV show dates: September 10, 1990 — May 20, 1996
Series status: Cancelled/ended
Performers include: Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, James Avery, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert, Daphne Reid, Jeffrey A. Townes, Ross Bagley, Nia Long, and Vernee Watson-Johnson.
TV show description:
Life changes overnight for William “Will” Smith (Will Smith) when he’s sent from the streets of Philadelphia to live with his Aunt Viv (Janet Hubert-Whitten, later Daphne Maxwell Reid), a professor of Black History and Literature, and Uncle Phil (James Avery) the lawyer, in their Bel-Air mansion.
After getting into trouble in school, Will’s mother Viola “Vy” Smith-Wilkes (Vernee Watson-Johnson) asks that he live with the positive role models to teach him a thing or two about how to be successful and to get a good education. However, Will’s street smarts clash with his spoiled cousins, Hilary (Karyn Parsons) and Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), and even snooty butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell). Youngest cousin Ashley (Tatyana Ali) welcomes Will’s street knowledge about music and fashion, much to the chagrin of her father.
In this sitcom created by Quincy Jones, the Banks’ soon warm to their fun-loving nephew and cousin, but Will is mindful not to get too cozy in their luxurious lifestyle. Uncle Phil keeps him on track with plenty of tough love and though Carlton and Will fight like brothers, they love each other like them too. When the Banks’ mansion becomes too much for Will, he has friend Jazz (D.J. Jazzy Jeff) from the inner-city of Compton to help keep him grounded.