->''"I liked [''Manga/{{Bleach}}''] better when it was called ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', and I liked ''that'' show better when it was called ''Anime/DragonBallZ''!"''
-->-- '''Vegeta''', ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged''

It is common that some work is heavily "inspired" by a previous work--they may have different authors and settings, but there are strong similarities of plot, situations and characters. It is also common that the second work is much inferior to the original, because the original is great or the derivative is awful or both. The Better By A Different Name snarkly expresses this idea. The usual phrasing is "[This work] was better when it was called [other, earlier work]."

For Better By A Different Name to be effective, the original work needs to be well-known and admired. The trope is also rare when a work is a blatant FollowTheLeader of another. For one thing, the joke is kind of ruined if the predecessor is obvious. For another, not all clone-work is execrable. Causality is also a confounding variable for Better By A Different Name. It may be that both the original and the supposedly "derivative" work were ''actually'' inspired by some [[OlderThanTheyThink even earlier]] common source.

Often overlaps with IfIWantedXIWouldY.

A SubTrope of TheyCopiedItSoItSucks, in that this trope is a common way to express that belief.

Compare TakeThat, RecycledInSPACE (which often is a cause of this), SerialNumbersFiledOff (another cause of this unless it's by the same creator), SpiritualLicensee.
!!Administrivia/InUniverseExamplesOnly (sorted by source of the comment instead of the subject):


[[folder: Comics ]]

* During the period where ComicBook/IncredibleHulk was intelligent, he once refused to wear a cap with a fin on it, since he didn't want people to say "[[TakeThat it's just Hulk with a fin on his head]]" -- a criticism previously leveled against SavageDragon.
* [[PVPOnline Scott Kurtz]] once joked that his favorite stories in AtomicRobo were the issues done by [[{{Comicbook/Hellboy}} Mike Mignola]].
* In a 1989 issue of Magazine/{{MAD}} Magazine, during the spoof [[Series/TwentyOneJumpStreet 21 Junkheap]], the cast of ''Series/TheModSquad'' makes a cameo pointing out that about 15 years ago, we did "just like these shmendricks are doing".
* In one ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' "The Comic Assassins" strip by Steve Noble and Kev F. Sutherland, they watch "The Curse of Fenric" and have the following conversation.
-->'''Steve''': Hang on. An old war ... a brigadier ... We're not watching "Battlefield" by mistake, are we?
-->'''Kev''': Can't be. In "Battlefield" a stupid blue-faced monster appeared for no apparent reason and...
-->'''Ancient Haemovore''' ''(on screen)'' Hello, I am a stupid blue-faced monster.
-->'''Kev''': Oh, lordy...


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''ThatIsAll'' has a semi-complimentary variant. John Hodgman writes that he was able to accomplish his goal of getting ''Series/TheAdventuresOfBriscoCountyJr'' back on the air (a goal he had stated in his previous book, ''MoreInformationThanYouRequire''), except he had nothing to do with it and the show is now called ''BurnNotice''.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* This was one of Creator/DavidSpade's trademark bits on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''. In his last season it got turned around on him, when host Creator/TeriHatcher told him she liked his then-current movie ''Film/BlackSheep'' better when it was called ''Film/TommyBoy''.
** And there's this (slightly HilariousInHindsight):
-->Saw the movie ''[[Film/ANewHope Star Wars]]'' this weekend. It's about people flying through space being chased by Darth Vader and storm troopers. I really liked this movie the first time I saw it when it was called "Franchise/StarWars"! ... Oh, wait.
* The [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/undeniable-proof-that-the-walking-dead-and-toy-story-have-th proof]] that ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' and ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' are the same story.


[[folder: Music ]]

* Lots of people liked Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" when it was Madonna's "Express Yourself." The Material Girl herself called it [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/madonna-lady-gagas-music-reductive_n_1204380.html reductive]]
* MitchBenn liked Russia's 2008 entry for the EurovisionSongContest better when it was by Cat Stevens and called ''Wild World''.
* Music/{{Voltaire}}'s song "U.S.S. Make Shit Up":
--> I was stranded on the ''[[Series/StarTrekVoyager Voyager]]''\\
And pounding on the door\\
When suddenly it dawned on me--\\
I'd seen this show before!\\
Perhaps I'm in a warp bubble\\
And slightly out of phase\\
Coz it was way back in the sixties\\
When they called it ''Series/LostInSpace''!
* "He has a woman's name and wears makeup. How original."
-->--Music/AliceCooper, discussing Music/MarilynManson


[[folder: Other ]]

* A magazine gave a breakdown of the {{Summer Blockbuster}}s of 1997. They discuss how ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' did only moderately well compared to other recent works of the DisneyAnimatedCanon, and they surmised people thought it was done better when it was called ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''.
* RogerEbert: "All bad movies have good twins, and the good version of ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119219/ Goodbye, Lover]]'' is ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099797/ The Hot Spot]]''... a thriller that was equally lurid but less hyperkinetic."
** He said the same anything with ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098258/ Say Anything]]'' (GREAT!) and ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098308/ She's Out of Control]]'' (HORRIBLE!), both of which opened on the exact same day (April 14th, 1989).
* A diversion in an [[http://www.sfx.co.uk/2012/02/25/isn%E2%80%99t-it-about-time-you-gave-armageddon-another-chance/ online]] ''SFX'' article, giving the cases for and against ''Film/{{Armageddon}}''.
-->'''Case for the defence:''' The science in ''Armageddon'' is no more wacky than it is in something like ''Film/FantasticVoyage'' and – let’s face it – considerably more sensible than the science presented in ''Film/SourceCode''.\\
'''Case for the prosecution:''' Hey, I liked ''Source Code''!\\
'''Case for the defence:''' I liked it better 20 years ago when it was called ''Series/QuantumLeap''.\\
'''Case for the prosecution:''' Touché.
* Given ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' draws a lot from ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'', JamesCameron said that once he knew of Paul Verhoeven's plans he thought: "Why are they making [[Film/StarShipTroopers a Starship Troopers film]]? I already did it!".


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Used in [[http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xSt0jd0zL7g this video]] of ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged''.
-->'''Nappa:''' I'd rather watch ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', Vegeta.\\
'''Vegeta:''' Oh, please! [[IfIWantedXIWouldY If I wanted to watch over a hundred episodes of]] {{Filler}}, I'd watch ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}''.\\
'''Nappa:''' What about ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Vegeta? It's like us, ''[[RecycledInSPACE with swords]]''!\\
'''Vegeta:''' I liked that show better when it was called ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', and I liked ''THAT'' show better when it was called ''DRAGON BALL Z''!
* In [[http://omohide.com/181/maison-ikkoku-review-what-makes-a-good-anime/ this review]], ''LoveHina'' is said to have been better when it was called ''MaisonIkkoku''.
* A ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'' review for ''{{Painkiller}}'' says that it's often called the Unofficial ''VideoGame/{{Doom}} 3'' "since the actual ''Doom 3'' tripped over something in the dark, banged its head, and forgot it wasn't ''VideoGame/SystemShock''".
** He also noted that ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' was "not 'like' ''System Shock 2'', it '''[[SerialNumbersFiledOff IS]]''' ''System Shock 2''", though he didn't make a quality judgement either way.
** He does it again in his review for [[VideoGame/DantesInferno Dante's Inferno]]:
-->"So all in all you could swap out the disc for God of War 2 while the player pops out for a piss and there's a good chance they won't notice. That is, until they realize that the game has suddenly become ''good''."
* RottenTomatoes' [[http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/duplex/ consensus]] on ''{{Duplex}}'': "It was funnier when it was called ''Film/ThrowMommaFromTheTrain''."
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick does this a lot:
** She notes that ''Film/SpiceWorld'' is a movie with at half the ambition of ''Film/AHardDaysNight'', a quarter of the budget and at least two percent of the talent.
** On ''Disney/TheLittleMermaidII,'' which she notes is a total rehash of the first movie: "I'm no fan of the original, but I hate to say it, I liked this better when it was called ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''. ({{Beat}}) [[NonIndicativeTitle And it was about a mermaid]]."
** Inverted in her review of ''Film/TheCraft''. She called ''Film/MeanGirls'' an unofficial remake of that film, only PlayedForLaughs, without the witchcraft, and a much better film for it.
** "The thing is, they already made [[WesternAnimation/TheLorax this movie]] successfully. It was called ''WesternAnimation/WallE''."
** "I liked [[WhatWomenWant this movie]] a lot more he first time they made it, when it starred BillMurray. And was called ''GroundhogDay.''" She then goes on to describe how both use MagicalRealism to create similar plot and character arcs, except that ''WhatWomenWant'' is a lot more shallow and forced.
* In ''VampireReviews,'' [[VampireVannabe Maven]] says that the ''Film/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' movie is basically ''{{Clueless}}'' with monsters, but that the latter at least makes most of its characters likable.
* {{Moviebob}}, a week after reviewing ''Film/JennifersBody'' (in the appendix to his review of ''{{Surrogates}}''), compared said film to ''Film/GingerSnaps'', which he called the good version of that movie.
* In [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LdCophxHgk Kaiba's Real Father - Conclusion]] on ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries''
-->'''Kaiba:''' Was that a [[WebVideo/DragonBallAbridged Dragon Ball Z]] cameo? Geez, knowing my luck, my father's going to turn out to be Ghost Nappa. That's pretty much how these things usually go.\\
'''Mokuba:''' Aaaahh, but you gotta admit, Seto, Nappa sure is funny!\\
'''Kaiba:''' Yeah, I liked him better when he was called "Tristan".
* A couple times in ''Website/{{Cracked}}'':
** "I saw ''Film/TheMatrix'' back when it was called ''Film/DarkCity''." This is the example given for #4 of [[http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-common-movie-arguments-that-are-always-wrong/ 6 Common Movie Arguments That Are Always Wrong]].
** Another writer's article claims ''Film/HomeAlone'' and ''Film/DieHard'' are [[http://www.cracked.com/funny-4445-home-alone/ the same movie]], although they don't seem to mean this as a value judgment on either film. [[note]]For those not keeping track, Cracked has multiple writers and no guarantee they'll agree with each other. That, and it runs on RuleOfFunny, not Rule Of Accuracy.[[/note]]
* The [[http://www.jabootu.com/sphere.htm Jabootu review]] of ''{{Sphere}}'' draws the broad strokes of the film's ClicheStorm:
--> I was in fact entertained by the first part of ''Sphere'' the first time I saw it (when it was called either ''Film/TheAbyss'' or ''Film/{{Alien}}''), and I was ''quite highly'' entertained by the second half the first time I saw that (when it was called ''ForbiddenPlanet'' and starred Walter Pigeon). I have to take it as a given that I would have enjoyed the last five minutes of ''Sphere'' along with everyone else who saw it the first time, when it was called ''PrinceOfTides'', but I missed that one.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic stated in his review of ''BarbWire'' that he liked it better when it was called ''{{Casablanca}}''.
** When [[BennettTheSage Sage]] tells him that there are plans for a life-action adaptation of ''StarChaser'', the Critic screams they already made it, it was called ''Franchise/StarWars''.
** As an intro to his ''ManOfSteel'' review, Superman (as played by Rob Scallon) sings about the events of that movie, while Batman (Doug himself) keeps pointing out that all of it applies to TheDarkKnightSaga too.
* [[WebVideo/BadMovieBeatdown Film Brain]]'s [[https://twitter.com/FB_BMB/status/311626171295084544 assessment of]] ''Film/VampiresSuck'': " I won't be doing a proper review of Vampires Suck - I did that already when it was called ''Film/EpicMovie'' [[SelfPlagiarism and nothing has changed]]".
* ''WebVideo/MidnightScreenings'' will occasionally do this for some movies, usually playing it straight for bad ones.
** Brad commented that ''Film/TheLoneRanger'' was just ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'' with the plot stretched out to two-and-a-half hours.
** In an inversion for ''{{Disney/Frozen}}'', they called the story "the best of the ''Film/XMen'' origins films".
* The Website/PlatypusComix article "[[http://www.platypuscomix.net/kidzone/braver.html Braver]]" makes the ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'' episode "Girl's Knight Out" seem like a proto-''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'', albeit with a more courageous and rational TomboyPrincess in the form of Princess Calla.


[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* [[AuthorAvatar Pantsman]] of ''Webcomic/VGCats'' does this twice in [[http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=190 his rant]] about ''Manga/InuYasha'', first saying he liked it better when it was called ''FushigiYuugi'' and later calling it "''Dragon Ball Z'' for girls".


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* An early episode of TheSimpsons features Bart and Homer watching an episode of Disney's Dinosaurs, with Bart commenting: "It's like they took our lives and put them right up there on the screen!"