Genre Throwback

aka: George Lucas Throwback
Remember back in the day, when there was that prevalent, cheaply made form of entertainment that was So Bad, It's Good, or at least good but dated? Wouldn't you like to bring it back?

Well, if you're in Hollywood and you have a high enough profile, you can. And you can do it better with a brand-new franchise, better special effects, better actors, a better budget and (it is hoped) better writing. If the old form of entertainment has been Deconstructed, then this work will probably feature a lot of Reconstruction.

If especially successful, this can result in a game of Follow the Leader as everyone else begins mining the past (or, more frequently, ripping off the successful modern version) in the hope that lightning will strike twice. If these follow-ups are of poor quality, or if there's just too many of them (or both as is often the case), then it can result in the genre being thrown right back in the trash until someone else decides it's worth reviving.

If done especially well, it can hide the fact that it is a throwback. It is only upon reviewing its similarity to past incarnations that the connection is made. Compare Older Than They Think.

Note this should not cover instances of a specific franchise being brought back, e.g., the later incarnations of Star Trek or Doctor Who, or the Flash Gordon movie. This trope is much closer to a Spiritual Successor than an actual reboot.

Related: Affectionate Parody. Two-Fisted Tales is a subtrope. And nothing to do with Evolutionary Levels, we promise.

Compare Retraux, Genre Deconstruction.


    open/close all folders 

  • The hot dog based fast food chain, Wienerschnitzel, has been making a series of animated commercials that are this for animated ads of the 60's.

    Anime & Manga 

    Board Games 

  • Justice is Super Friends with the Camp and Token Minority Ethnic Scrappy characters removed.
  • In that vein, Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier, set in the 40s, 50s and 60s amidst the climate of the Cold War, nuclear testing and the civil rights movement.
  • Within Grant Morrison's Batman, the post-Final Crisis/Batman RIP series Batman And Robin has quickly established itself as something of a throwback to the Batman TV series.
  • Alan Moore loves these.
    • 1963, which is a sendup of early Marvel comics, especially those of Stan Lee (Moore was able to replicate Lee's Purple Prose and self-promotion abilities perfectly).
    • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen does this for several genres and periods, albeit with a darker edge.
    • The first six issues of Tom Strong each featured a flashback done as a pastiche of an earlier age of comics.
    • In Supreme Moore not only recreates the Silver Age Superman atmosphere, but also brings back all the different decades and styles including 80s grim n gritty, Captain Marvel Family and EC comics stories just to name a few.
  • In Planetary, Warren Ellis throws in pastiches of comic book genres that were popular in the 1950s (sci-fi, pulp adventure, western, horror, etc.) before being almost completely eclipsed by the superhero genre in The Silver Age of Comic Books.
  • Matt Fraction's Casanova is this for the psychedelic spy comics of the sixties.
  • Marvel had a whole small line dedicated to reinterpreting its properties including Spider-Man in Crime Noir and Pulp settings.
  • Sin City is a rare example of a cross-medium throwback. The series takes its cues from Crime Noir books and films, as well as Exploitation Films, despite being a comic book series. It was eventually made into a movie where the homages were perhaps more apparent.
  • Morning Glories: Genre Savvy teen-centered Horror from The Nineties.
  • The 2013 Captain America series was done in the style of 60's/70's Jack Kirby Silver Age comics, with plot points heavily connected to the Vietnam War, outlandish villains, and crazy technology.



    Live-Action TV 

  • The genre of Synthwave Electro (which includes such labels as Rosso Corsa Records and electro acts such as Kavinsky and Power Glove) is a genre throwback to synth-heavy '80s film soundtracks. The soundtracks to films such as Drive and games such as Hotline Miami and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (which are themselves throwbacks to '80s action films) provide very good examples.
  • She & Him (Zooey Deschanel's band) — '60s and '70s pop music.
  • Mark Ronson is also doing his damnedest to revive Motown-era singles.
  • Composer Erich Korngold was critically panned in Europe because his music was a throwback to the lush romantic era of classical music, while his contemporaries like Stravinksy were composing aggressive, challenging pieces like "The Rite of Spring". However, he found his place in Hollywood and with his film music, defined the lush sound of the movie soundtrack.
    • In the same vein, John Williams reintroduced the sweeping orchestral soundtrack to films with his Star Wars scores in the '70s.
  • The 12-member big band-style group (they call themselves a "little orchestra" instead) Pink Martini, who play jazz, lounge music and old-fashioned pop.
  • Kat Edmonson, whose music is very reminiscent of old-fashioned, Dusty Springfield-style country ballads.
  • Also, singers such as Duffy and the late Amy Winehouse, who have thrived on their "old-fashioned" sound.
  • John Barrowman's albums recall the days of Andy Williams and Dean Martin, with showtunes.
  • Wolfmother for '70s stoner rock and Heavy Metal.
  • Brian Setzer did one for rockabilly with The Stray Cats, and later one for swing music with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
  • Cee Lo Green's famous hit song "Fuck You!" is one towards '60s era Motown Soul music. (A throwback, not a fuck-you.)
  • Sweden’s Änglagård play a pastiche of early 70s prog rock that is surprisingly convincing, thanks in part to an almost slavish use of vintage 1970s musical instruments.
  • The Black Keys sound more at home in the late '70s than the early 21st century.
  • Likewise, The Darkness is an '80s-style glam metal band that broke into the mainstream around 2003.
  • The Reckless Love does much the same, its first album coming out a little later in 2010. The third album, Spirit, is as obvious a tribute to 80s glam as it gets.
  • Big Star: British Invasion-styled guitar pop at the height of Progressive Rock.
  • The whole 90s Swing Revival was an attempt to bring jump blues and Big Band swing of the 30s and 40s back to the mainstream by infusing them with modern pop elements. The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies were the big names in that scene, with the latter's "Zoot Suit Riot" being the biggest commercial hit. The movement fizzled out sometime in the new millennium, but several of the bands are still making music.
  • The Neo-Soul genre was a throwback to smooth '70s soul.
  • Speaking of Neo-Soul, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are a throwback to 60s/70s soul and funk.
  • Birdeatsbaby's music video "Feast of Hammers" throws back to Hammer Horror movies.
  • Ariana Grande's music (especially on her album Yours Truly) is a throwback to '90s R&B, of the likes of Mariah Carey.
  • The Heavy Metal genres Power Metal and Melodic Death Metal are both throwbacks to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal of the late '70s and early '80s.
  • Eminem's single "Berserk" is a throwback to old '90s rap — primarily the Beastie Boys, even using a rock-based sample, as the boys were wont to do (though the influences range from Public Enemy to NWA).
  • Bruno Mars' "Treasure" is a throwback to 70s funk and soul, especially Kool And The Gang, while "Locked Out Of Heaven", at least in its verses, recalls the late-1970s sound of The Police.
  • The "Confiteor" in J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor was written to evoke Gregorian Chant, which was already ancient by Bach's time, and late into the movement a Gregorian Chant-style cantus firmus appears, accentuated above the rest of the voices.
  • Dead Sara is a throwback to Grunge and 90s female-fronted Alternative Rock depending on the song.
  • Black Veil Brides is a new millennium Hair Metal band.
  • The music video for "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys is a throwback homage to 70's television show intros, including spinning scenery shots, people jumping over the hood of cars and cheesy moustaches.
  • Issues is a throwback to 90s R&B and Nu Metal, while mixed with modern Metalcore.

  • WhizBang Pinball's Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons was made by cannibalizing parts from a 1957 electro-mechanical pinball, then using the components in an all-new playfield design with original art and modern imaging techniques. The result is a boutique pinball table that plays like it stepped out of The Fifties but with a modern look.
  • Data East's Time Machine invokes this when the player reaches The Fifties — the dot-matrix display shows the scoring reels of an electro-mechanical pinball while the game plays analog sounds from a chimebox.

  • The current home park of Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, was built in 1992 as a throwback to stadiums built early in the 20th century, as opposed to more modernized stadiums of recent decades. The park was an instant hit, and sparked a trend in retro baseball stadiums for the next two decades.
  • Baseball jerseys as of the 10s feature buttons and simple color patterns. These originated in the 80s as throwbacks to earlier decades, and a deliberate contrast to baseball jerseys of that time.



    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Secret Saturdays (1970s Saturday morning adventure cartoons)
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold is an animated throwback to the Silver Age incarnation of Batman, where instead of being a grim loner he's a somewhat cheery fellow with a dry, ironic wit, closely resembling the Super Friends incarnation. Notable is the fact that Bruce Wayne almost never appears, and in comparatively serious episode "Chill of the Night!", where we actually see Bruce Wayne, face and all, he looks like his 1990s incarnation.
    • The trope is lampshaded in the Batmite episode where the little imp reads a "prepared statement" in response to some 4th wall breaking humor, explaining that this incarnation of Batman is just as legitimate and true to source material as the "tortured dark avenger crying out for mommy and daddy".
  • The Venture Bros. does a bit of this and a bit of parody with 1960s action shows like Jonny Quest and such, plus a hefty dose of increased badass. Instead of lame plots about random monsters, we get genuine nightmare fuel about a dead twin-brother still living inside his twin and eventually building a robot body for itself.
  • Fillmore! takes a lot of inspiration from 70s buddy cop shows, not that any kids noticed.
    • More specifically, those made by Quinn Martin Productions.
  • In Animaniacs: The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) can be taken as a throwback to The Golden Age of Animation and other comedies of the time like those of the Marx Brothers, especially considering that their backstory is that they were created in the Thirties. Also they stole many, many jokes from them.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show was like a tortured, horrifying version of Golden Age cartoons, complete with animation style and specific gags copied from Looney Tunes.
  • The House of Mouse cartoon "Mickey And The Goat Man" was done in the style of early 30s black-and-white cartoons.
  • Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones?: '70s/'80s vintage cartoons. Similar to the ones like School House Rock.
  • Black Dynamite: Is an obvious homage to blaxploitation films from the '70s.
  • Rob Zombie described The Haunted World of El Superbeasto as an attempt to make an R rated version of classic Looney Tunes.

Alternative Title(s):

George Lucas Throwback