Although the fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was planned as the series' last year on the air, the producers managed to forge a new contract with ABC assuring that Will Smith (as teenager Will Smith) and his co-stars would be reporting to duty for season five. The basic "culture clash" premise with streetwise Philadelphia native Will Smith moving in with his wealthy relatives, the Banks family in Bel-Air, CA, was still in place, but a few changes were made for the series' fifth go-round. Gone are two holdovers from Will's Philadelphia days, his buddy Jazz (played by actor Smith's real-life musical partner Jeff Townes) and his off-and-on girlfriend Jackie (Tyra Banks); the latter character is more or less replaced by Will's new heartthrob Lisa (Nia Long), who almost -- but not quite -- marched down the matrimonial aisle with our hero at season's end. In another development, Will's cousin Ashley Banks (Tatyana M. Ali) launches a career as a singer with Will as her manager; and the baby of the Banks family, little Nicholas (Ross Bagley), turns five years old -- even though he had been "born" only a year and a half before! Highlights of season five include the ever-growing confidence of Will's prissy cousin Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) in the romance department; an effort by Carlton, Ashley, and their sister Hilary (Karyn Parsons) to sneak a peak at their father Philip's (James Avery) will; and a chilling episode in which Will is shot and wounded by a would-be robber. And, in keeping with the precedent established in season four, season five of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is top-heavy with guest stars. This year's celebrity roster includes the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Don Cornelius, Jay Leno, Pat Morita, Ken Griffey Jr., John Amos, Isaac Hayes, Robin Givens, and Sherman Hemsley...as George Jefferson!
by Hal Erickson synopsis