Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The big news during The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air's fourth season is the arrival of new cast member Daphne Maxwell Reid, replacing Janet Hubert-Whitten in the role of Vivian Banks, the wealthy but down-to-earth aunt of wise-guy West Philly transplant Will Smith (Will Smith). Otherwise, the rest of the main cast is pretty much the same, with Will continuing to enrich and sometimes complicate the lives of his rich Bel-Air relatives, including Vivian's lawyer husband Philip (James Avery), their mild-mannered son Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro), their trend-conscious daughters, Hilary (Karyn Parsons) and Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali), and their new baby son Nicholas (who would grow up real fast within the next year or so). Also on hand, as ever, is the Banks family's devastatingly sardonic butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell). It is during this season that Will and Carlton graduate from high school and begin attending the University of Los Angeles. To celebrate their "independence," the boys move into their new pad -- which turns out to be the pool house on the Banks family's Bel-Air estate. In another development, Will is reunited with his ex-girlfriend from West Philadelphia, Jackie Ames (Tyra Banks). An unusually high number of guest stars grace this season. Among them are Hugh Hefner in the episode "Fresh Prince After Dark," Branford Marsalis in "Sleepless in Bel-Air" and "Stop Will in the Name of Love," Robert Guillaume in "You'd Better Shop Around," Pam Grier in "M Is for the Many Things She Gave Me," Ben Vereen (as Will's long-missing father) in "Papa's Got a Brand-New Excuse," Donald Trump in "For Sale By Owner," and Dick Clark in "The Philadelphia Story." Though the last-named episode was originally intended as the series finale with Will leaving Bel-Air and returning home to Philadelphia, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was renewed for a fifth season at the very last moment.