Rapper Wil Smith still delivers as the Philly bad youth whose mom sends him to his uncle, a judge, and aunt out West — in Bel-Air — to straighten him out. A dependable top-20s program (14th last week) in its fourth season, “Fresh” shows no signs of losing steam.
Script by Bill Boulware, direction by Shelley Jensen bring in another diverting stanza. The challenged Wil accepts a liquor tourney between himself and friend Jackie’s (Tyra) date, a football hero (Cylk Cozart), and of course topples. Wil, passed out in a cemetery, encounters poker-playing ghosts who warn him about excesses.
At the family manse, giddy older daughter Hilary Banks (Karyn Parsons) tries doing over her younger sister to be just like herself, an amusing prospect. The wealthy Judge Banks (James Avery), a stolid if stock character, gets in a good throwaway about his wife being next door bowling at the Spellings.
“Fresh” still has vitality and some thought in it, chalks up valid laughs because of good character interps and inventive dialogue, though some highs like the party scene and the solution to the younger daughter’s mixup with her boyfriend ring like plastic.
But the show has Wil Smith, whose easygoing style gives the comedy a fresh, appealing tone.