Though it might have seemed like an odd choice to transform one of the most iconic sitcoms of the 1990s into an edgy and often imposing drama series, somehow Bel-Air still manages to make it work. Part of the series’ appeal is the way in which it transforms the original characters while also keeping some elements of their original characterization and motivations.
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Thus, it is especially useful to look at these individuals through the lens provided by the zodiac in order to more fully appreciate just how complex and complicated they really are.
Aries – Jazz
Jazz is one of the most likable characters from the original series, and he carries that into the new series. He’s one of the first people to give Will a nice welcome once he reaches Los Angeles, and he quickly shows that he has all of the traits that one associates with the Aries. In particular, he has a dynamic and powerful personality, as well as a charm that it’s impossible for anyone to truly resist.
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Taurus – Geoffrey
One of the key attributes associated with the Taurus is their ability to weather almost anything, as well as notable comfort in their own skin. These are all traits that Geoffrey shows in abundance. In particular, he shows that he has the sort of indomitable spirit that allowed him to survive and thrive a rather troubled childhood. What’s more, he also has the profound loyalty that is also an attribute of the Taurus, as he shows with his relationship with Phil.
Gemini – Uncle Phil
As an air sign, the Gemini is quite mutable. Of all of the air signs, however, Gemini is the one that is most skilled at changing itself, depending on the circumstances of the moment. This is something that is definitely true of Uncle Phil who, as a lawyer and a politician, has the ability to transform himself depending on just who it is that he happens to be talking to, particularly since he has to chase votes in his efforts to win an election. Despite his mutability, he still manages to be a decent TV father figure.
Cancer – Hilary
There are few signs that are quite as empathetic as the Cancer, which is in keeping with their status as a water sign. However, it’s also true that they can get a bit wrapped up in their own needs, to the exclusion of all else. This is very true of Hilary Banks who is quite mutable and often struggles to find an identity and a profession that will provide her the sort of stability and fulfillment that she desperately desires.
Leo – Will
Will was, of course, one of the best and coolest characters in the history of the sitcom, and that is still true in his new iteration. He has all of the dynamic energy that is often associated with the Leo, and he has a way of commanding a room that is the envy of almost everyone else in the series. However, he also shows some of the less desirable traits, including a willingness to act impulsively regardless of what the consequences might be, for either himself or others.
Virgo – Carlton
Carlton was one of the most intelligent characters in the original series, and he still has some of that in the new version. In particular, he has a sort of cunning intelligence that allows him to see the best ways to get back at Will. Furthermore, like other Virgos he is also very judgmental of others, and he tends to respond very negatively when things do not go the way that he thinks they should.
Libra – Aunt Viv
Justice and equilibrium are both things that Libras are known for, and they will often go to great lengths to try to establish these things in their lives and environments. From the moment that Will arrives in Bel-Air, she tries to offer him a warm welcome, even though he has constant conflicts with Carlton. What’s more, she also tries to keep the peace in other ways, including with her husband Phil, with whom she often disagrees.
Scorpio – Carlton
Even though he has many of the traits associated with the Virgo, it also has to be said that Carlton is also a textbook Scorpio. In particular, there’s a vicious strand that seethes beneath the surface of his personality, and it is often triggered by his profound jealousy of Will and his presence in his family.
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Thus, he exhibits all of the Scorpio’s vengeful tendencies, and he often lashes out at Will in ways that are not helpful for either of them.
Sagittarius – Ashley
The Sagittarius is well-known for being one of the friendliest of the zodiac signs. They are the ones that people find it very easy to like and to enjoy spending time with. Though she doesn’t have quite as much to do as her predecessor in the original series, it’s still clear that Ashley is a very likable character. What’s more, she also shows the Sagittarian independent streak, and she’s not afraid to identify as a member of the LGBT community.
Capricorn – Uncle Phil
In addition to showing many of the traits that are associated with the Gemini, Uncle Phil also has many Capricorn characteristics. Given that he has had to work very hard to achieve his goals, he tends to be very disciplined about his approach to both life and his profession, and this sometimes leads to a rather inflexible attitude when it comes to members of his family.
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On the more positive side, he is also persistent as he works to win his election.
Aquarius – Connor
Like other air signs, there’s a great deal of mutability to the Aquarius, and they can sometimes be difficult to classify. This is certainly true of Connor, who quickly shows that he is one of Carlton’s best friends and most trusted subordinates. Like some Aquarians, he shows that he is very susceptible to the influence of others, particularly Carlton, even though his desire to fix things sometimes causes more trouble than it fixes.
Pisces – Viola
Will’s mother is one of the most important people in his life, and she makes it clear that she loves her son and cares deeply about his safety. She has all of the traits that one would associate with the Pisces, and she is especially committed to making sure that he stays safe (which is why she sends him to live in Bel-Air). What’s more, she also demonstrates that there is very little that she won’t do to make sure that he gets the best life that he can.
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About The Author
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Thomas J. West III earned a PhD in film and screen studies from Syracuse University in 2018. His writing on film, TV, and popular culture has appeared in Screenology, FanFare, Primetimer, Cinemania, and in a number of scholarly journals and edited collections. He co-hosts the Queens of the B’s podcast with Mark Muster and writes a regular newsletter, Omnivorous, on Substack.
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