2022 is shaping up to be quite a solid year for Martin Lawrence and his fanbase, as the actor not only has a serial killer thriller opposite John Malkovich on the way, but he also took part in the previously-thought-impossible Martin sitcom reunion special alongside former co-star Tisha Campbell. Now, with Bad Boys 4 reportedly still on the way following a possible pause due to Will Smith’s Oscar slap controversy, Lawrence will be joining one of Smith’s former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-stars for a unique new TV series called Demascus.
As created by playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, Damascus will be a sci-fi series with a comedic bent, which is fairly new territory for Lawrence, even if this won’t be like a live-action Jetsons or anything. The story centers on the titular 33-year-old Black man (portrayed by Hamilton vet and former Station 19 star Okieriete Onaodowan) who utilizes a new piece of technology that allows him to experience various iterations of his life, presumably Sliding Doors style.
Damascus finds himself on an intriguing path of self-discovery, with a coming-of-age story that will embrace multiple genres as it not only digs into the main character’s sense of identity, but also that of other Black males. Martin Lawrence’s character likely plays into that idea quite heavily, as Deadline reports he’s taking on a recurring role in portraying the flare-tempered Uncle Forty. Regardless of his failing health that has clearly taken its toll, Uncle Forty sees himself as the head of the family, even if no one else fully buys into that idea.
Martin Lawrence will be joining the previously cast Janet Hubert, who famously portrayed O.G. Aunt Viv in the early seasons of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air opposite Will Smith and others. The turmoil that led to, and was caused by, her leaving the show was highlighted and somewhat resolved when she and Smith talked things out for HBO Max’s Fresh Prince reunion special, and the two actors are supposedly on good terms now. (To the point where she was “so proud” of him after he slapped Chris Rock over that G.I. Jane 2 joke.)
In any case, Lawrence and Hubert will hopefully get to spend some time together sharing silly and embarrassing set stories about Will Smith that they can later joke about in interviews. If there was any show heading to TV that was more ripe for a Smith cameo, I don’t know what it is. (One could say Bel-Air, but don’t.)
Damascus is being set up as a six-episode limited series through AMC studios for its linear TV channel and for its AMC+ streaming platform. It was picked up back in February with a straight-to-series order, with Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad executive producer Mark Johnson as a key exec behind the scenes. Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm and Kirk Moore (13 Reasons Why, American Crime) will take on co-showrunner duties.
Though Martin Lawrence got his start in TV with What’s Happening Now!, and was one of few Black entertainers in the early 1990s who earned his own TV show, the only other major series role in the comedian’s filmography is for the single-season crime dramedy Partners with Kelsey Grammer. He’s obviously far more prolific as a movie star, as his TV roles equal the number of Bad Boys movies that have been released so far. There were reports in October 2021 saying Lawrence was set to lead a new series about a father of five chasing his dreams to become stand-up comedian, but it’s unclear where that Topic Studios project is in the development process.
Fans of Fox’s Martin would no doubt love to see a revival happen in some form, especially after the reunion brought Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Carl Anthony Payne and Tichina Arnold back together within the sitcom’s apartment set. And while it’s technically a possibility, with the cast not saying it’ll never happen, the 2016 death of co-star Thomas Mikal Ford makes it seem very unlikely.
But fans can definitely get ready to see Martin Lawrence back on the small screen in Demascus, and be sure to head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule while waiting for further updates.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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