I find myself shocked sometimes at the number of people who have totally forgotten about this show. Granted, it DID end in 1996, and obviously a lot has happened since then (most notably the skyrocketing music & film career of a certain lead star), but I mean, come on! This show is an undisputed classic! Who can forget the wild, crazy, and just plain amusing adventures we've had with Will Smith and the Banks family?
There were times when I was just addicted to this show, I remember...it was a while back when the episodes were running in syndication every evening on TBS SuperStation...I can't believe how this show can always manage to crack me up. It's incredible. I've grown to love all these characters so much, and even now, I still wouldn't pass up an opportunity to watch yet another priceless rerun.
I agree, though, that yes, a lot of the late, LATE episodes (around the second-last and final season) had their fair share of groans, and showed some glaring signs of tedium, but thankfully, the overwhelming positive qualities of the series tower over such minor flaws - including the mysterious re-casting of Aunt Vivian's role from Janet Hubert-Whitten to Daphne Maxwell Reid; the increasingly old-hat shtick of using the same stock footage whenever Jazz gets thrown out of the Banks residence for the umpteenth time; the cursed addition of a new cast member - little Nicky Banks (Ross Bagley), etc....
It's not an entirely perfect show, certainly (but then - what show is?), and it has had its fair share of ups and downs in its moderately impressive run of six years. However, when all is said and done, in the end, this show can proudly stand on its own as a pop culture treasure. It has evolved from what seemed initially to be an awkward, cheesy, quaint little '80s/'90s Cosby rip-off to a mature, slick, and fabulously written/produced/directed program. Pure gold is what this show is.
A truly underrated, and always entertaining, gem. "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" is one for the ages.