Monday, January 2, 2023

Book Review: The Fresh Prince Project

More than thirty years have passed since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air premiered on NBC but unlike other family sitcoms of its era, it has remained culturally relevant and beloved by new generations of fans.

With fresh eyes on the show in the wake of 2022’s launch of Bel-Air, a Fresh Prince reboot on NBC’s Peacock, The Fresh Prince Project brings us never-before-told stories based on exclusive interviews with the show’s cast, creators, writers, and crew. The Fresh Prince Project is an eye-opening exploration and celebration of a show that not only made Will Smith a household name but helped redefine America’s understandings of race, sex, parenthood, and class.

Chris Palmer's look at this classic TV show hits stores January 31, 2023. Atria Books provided an early galley for review.

As a someone who regularly watched and enjoyed the show (both on its initial run and later in reruns), I was interested to see what insights Palmer had to offer. While some of the stories were known to me, quite a few were new revelations; that made this time well-spent.

I liked that the book focused not only on the cast but also on many of the folks behind the scenes. From show creators to showrunners, the effects of decisions made were shown as they rippled across everyone involved. The reader is given a ringside seat into the ups, downs, triumphs and trials of the series.

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