Warner Home Video
Not rated
650 minutes

The Pitch

It’s basically Diff’rent Strokes with a much happier real life ending.

The Humans

Will Smith, James Avery, Daphne Maxwell-Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell, Ross Bagley.

The Nutshell

This is Season 5 of Will Smith playing a kid named Will Smith who is transplanted from his ghetto Philly neighborhood to live with his well-to-do, erudite aunt, uncle and cousins in Beverly Hills.  The sitcom adds Will’s street sense to boilerplate rich people humor with general zaniness and frappes.  Hijinks ensue. 

The Lowdown

Not exactly sure what the deal is with this release, whether there were some licensing issues or whatnot, but I covered the Season 4 set of this show some four years ago, and Season 5 is just now coming out within the last couple of months.  Anyway, by Season 5, the show was coasting on its success, which would last another full season after this one.  There were a couple of new developments added to the show for Season 5.  First, the tried (i.e. tired) and true plot device of aging baby Nicky to a preschooler (played by Ross Bagley) was in effect.  Also, Nia Long joined the cast as a recurring character, Lisa, whom Will almost marries twice.  All of the good chemistry on the show, particularly Smith with Ribeiro and James Avery’s Uncle Phil hadn’t faded and the overall wacky feel that helped make the show a success was still present.

“Hate to tell you this, Jeff, but in a few years I’m gonna have a kid.  And by the time he’s 12, he’s going to pretty much be able to buy and sell you a thousand times over…”

Key episodes include the season premiere two-parter What’s Will Got to Do With It?” and “The Client” involve Will and Uncle Phil butting heads over Ashley’s emerging music career.  “Will’s Misery” introduces Lisa, who is part of a society that think men are the inferior gender.  “Sooooooooul Train” finds Phil and Vivian invited to the 25th anniversary of Soul Train, where Phil originally proposed.”  “Same Game, Next Season” finds Will bonding with Lisa’s father (John Amos) so much that Lisa starts to feel neglected.  “It’s A Wonderful Lie” has Lisa and Will ending up at a nightclub and finding Ashley making out with a football player and risking the wrath of Phil.  “Bullets Over Bel-Air” gets a bit heavy when Will is shot in a robbery and Carlton buys a gun in order to protect the family.  And in the season finale, “For Whom The Wedding Bell Tolls,” Will and Lisa’s wedding day is bearing down on them and they have to make a decision when they both have doubts.

“Hey James, Will bet me he’d be a bigger star than me after the show is done.  Obviously he forgot that I once worked with Ricky Schroder…”

I like Fresh Prince probably more than I should considering that most sitcoms make me reach for the remote.  Season 5 was no different.

The Package

Typical audio and video presentation as the rest of the series.  Episodes are in TV standard, video, and sound is in Dolby Surround.  No extras.

6.5 out of 10