->''"I think the best explanation for Ken Levine's career is that there's some kind of matronly school teacher standing behind him repeatedly going, 'Now do it again, but ''properly'' this time.'"''
-->--'''''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation''''' on ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite''

An author makes a big hit. Then he proceeds to write more stories with essentially the same plot as their first hit.

Compare SpiritualSuccessor, which is more angled toward sequels than rehashing. See also {{Expy}}, StrictlyFormula, RecycledPremise, and RecycledScript. Also see BetterByADifferentName and its more vitriolic sibling TheyCopiedItSoItSucks, both of which are about people thinking a creator has done this to someone else's work.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}''. Every incarnation has a [[KidHero group of kids]] (except ''Savers'') getting TrappedInAnotherWorld (except ''Zero Two'', ''Tamers'' and ''Savers''), where strange beings called Digital Monsters live. They find out [[TheChosenOne they're supposed to save that world from evil monsters]] and that the events taking place there have [[SaveBothWorlds some kind of connection to the real world]].
** Speaking of ''Digimon'', ''Anime/SummerWars'' is almost a ShotForShotRemake of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure: Our War Game'' at times, albeit with a lot of AdaptationExpansion. (The two films were both directed by Mamoru Hosoda.)
* The ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' movies are almost always guilty of this. They basically recycle the plot of whatever arc they are placed in the timeline and sometimes they don't even bother making the villains anything more than {{exp|y}}ies (Janemba to Buu etc). For example, ''Bojack Unbound'' is basically just a recycled Cell Games with Gohan beating Bojack in the exact same way he defeated Cell (going SSJ 2 and receiving moral support from the afterlife by Goku), ''Fusion Reborn'' is basically the MadeOfEvil demon [[strike:Buu]] ''Janemba'' being clobbered by the fusion [[strike:Vegetto]] ''Gogeta''. Even Garlick Jr. is basically just King Piccolo + Raditz...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* A lot of movies in the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon have direct-to-video sequels with storylines that boil down to rehashes of their predecessors.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''TheTwilightSamurai'' and ''TheHiddenBlade'' are both about a poor, extremely humble samurai who just wants to live a simple life. At the same time as he falls in love, he gets dragged into the violent world of politics against his will due to a rare technique of swordsmanship he possesses. Ultimately he uses his technique to escape from his predicament and gets married. Both films are written and directed by Yoji Yamada.
* Writer/director Kurt Wimmer admitted to rehashing many of the same concepts in ''{{Ultraviolet}}'' from his previous film ''{{Equilibrium}}''. Both are about a [[BoringInvincibleHero superhuman killing machine]] in a future {{dystopia}} who goes against a [[KnightTemplar quasi-religious]], fascist government that is built around fighting something (emotion/virus) that the hero possesses. The hero fights other superhuman enforcers in a number of [[CurbStompBattle Curb-Stomp Battles]] to reach the #2 man, who turns out to [[spoiler: A: have the same prohibited thing as the hero, B: be the real leader of the government, and C: be the toughest opponent of all.]]
* Two films written and produced by Creator/JohnHughes and directed by Howard Deutch in the late '80s, ''Film/PrettyInPink'' and ''SomeKindOfWonderful'', have essentially the same plot but with most of the genders reversed. A poor teenager (Andie/Keith) has an unrequited crush on a rich classmate (Blaine/Amanda), unaware that her/his quirky platonic best friend (Duckie/Watts) is deeply in love with her/him and facing retribution from said rich kid's evil friend/boyfriend (Steff/Hardy). The difference is that, [[FocusGroupEnding because the test audience didn't like the ending]], in ''Pretty in Pink'' Andie ended up with Blaine; Hughes wrote ''Some Kind of Wonderful'' because he was upset at the ExecutiveMeddling. ''Some Kind of Wonderful'' arguably ends up the better movie for it, too, since the story includes Hughes's personal appreciation for art and music, themes which were largely missing from ''Pretty in Pink''.
* Creator/RogerCorman's ''Film/TheLittleShopOfHorrors'' is essentially Corman's ''A Bucket of Blood'' for botanists instead of artists. It's also a case of Same ''Score'' Different Names; Corman commissioned the score for both movies, and a later movie, ''The Wasp Woman'', from the same guy. The composer, in the finest traditions of simply not caring, just handed over the score he wrote for ''A Bucket of Blood'' every time.
* TylerPerry receives a lot of criticism for this -- just look at his page quote. His movies usually have a black woman in an abusive relationiship (or who was in one) who is a single mom. She will meet a nice working class man, and hate him at first because of that, but they will grow to like each other. Meanwhile, somebody will have a problem with their baby mama, somebody will be on drugs, Madea will discipline some children and there will be some incest involved. But at the end, there will be a church scene where everyone finds Jesus and all is well. His first movie, DiaryOfAMadBlackWoman, actually received decent reviews, but his later movies [[CriticalDissonance have been poorly received by critics but made quite a bit of money.]]
* In ''Film/SingingInTheRain'', Cosmo suggests to Don Lockwood that they take the film they'd already celebrated, and simply slap a new name on it. It reminds Lockwood of something Kathy had said just earlier.
* Francise/{{Tarzan}} and JungleJim are the same story: a white NatureHero lives in the jungle. It wasn't helped by the fact that Creator/JohnnyWeissmuller starred in both of them.
* A lot of cinephiles say this about HowardHawks's films ''RioBravo'', ''ElDorado'' and ''Rio Lobo'', all of which had JohnWayne playing the lead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''JulianComstock'' and ''{{Spin}}''.
* DanBrown. Except for the settings and {{MacGuffin}}s of each story, they're all the same. ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode, Literature/AngelsAndDemons, Literature/DigitalFortress, Literature/DeceptionPoint'' -- all written by the same exact formula to a hundred details of specificity.
* Creator/AgathaChristie sometimes did this in short stories.
** The plot of "The Market Basing Mystery" (1923) was used to create its novella length DistaffCounterpart "Murder in the Mews" (1937).
** The short story "The Plymouth Express" (1923) was expanded and reworked into the novel ''The Mystery of the Blue Train'' (1928) with a change of killer and motive. (Ironically, both the short story and the novel were adapted into episodes in ''Agatha Christie's Series/{{Poirot}}''.)
** "The Submarine Plans" (1924) was expanded to create "The Incredible Theft" (1937).
** The plot of "The Kidnapped Prime Minister" (1924) was reused in "The Girdle of Hippolyta" (1939), with the victim changed from a male politician to a young schoolgirl and a corresponding change of motive.
** The central plot device of the [[Literature/TheMysteriousMrQuin Harley Quin]] short story "The Sign in the Sky" (1925) is also the key device in the Literature/HerculePoirot novel ''Taken at the Flood'' (1948).
** The plot of the Literature/MissMarple short story "The Blue Geranium" (1929) was reused in the Hercule Poirot short story "The Lernaean Hydra" (1939).
** "The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest" (1932) was expanded to create "The Mystery of the Spanish Chest" (1960).
** The Hercule Poirot short story "Yellow Iris" (1937) was expanded, reworked, and reused as the Colonel Race novel ''Sparkling Cyanide'' (1945) with a change of killer and motive.
** The plot of the Miss Marple novel ''The Moving Finger'' (1942) was reused in the Hercule Poirot novel ''The Clocks'' (1963) by replacing the letter with a telephone call and changing the victim from a maid to an office worker. [[spoiler:The anonymous letter plot was replaced with a mystery / espionage plot for ''The Clocks'']].
** In ''Cards on the Table'', [[AuthorAvatar Ariadne Oliver]] is asked if she's ever reused a plot, and Poirot instantly mentions "The Lotus Murder" and "The Clue of the Candle-Wax" - which from the descriptions are her versions of ''Murder on the Links'' and "The Adventure of the Submarine Plans".
* GordonKorman made his name with ''This Can't Be Happening at MacdonaldHall!'' featuring CrazyAwesome Bruno Walton and his OnlySaneMan roommate, Boots O'Neill. In addition to writing several sequels to the book, he also wrote several other "Crazy Awesome Guy and his Only Sane Man best friend get up to CrazyEnoughToWork schemes" books before eventually branching out. Such as:
** ''I Want to Go Home'' = summer camp version.
** ''Who Is Bugs Potter?'' and its sequel = this time they're musicians.
** ''Our Man Weston'' = with twins.
** ''Don't Care High'' = A Bruno and Boots-esque team at the world's most apathetic high school.
** ''A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag'' = this time, the Bruno Expy has the world's worst luck and is trying to finagle a trip to the world's luckiest island.
** Of course, some of his books he wrote in junior/senior high, which is a bit of an excuse.
* Almost all of the fantasy novels by L.E. Modesitt Jr., and even some of his science fiction novels, feel like the same story [[WorldBuilding with a different coat of paint]]. Luckily for him, it's still a pretty good story (and it's [[WorldBuilding really nice paint]]).
* Julian F. Thompson's big hit was ''The Grounding of Group Six,'' about five teenagers whose RichBitch parents paid a school to have them killed off. The guy hired to do the killing does a HeelFaceTurn when he realizes that the kids aren't the monsters he was told they were. Then they all run off and hide in the woods, form TrueCompanions, and PairTheSpares. He also wrote several other books on the "five or six kids get dumped by parents, run off together to the woods, form True Companions and Pair the Spares" theme, such as:
** ''Gypsyworld'' = takes place in another world, and some of the kids were gotten rid of by their parents and some were just stolen, but the gypsies won't tell them which was which. Otherwise, same as ''Group 6'' but with an eco-theme.
** ''A Band of Angels'' = kids on the run again from the government.
* Most of David Gemmels books feature and old hero who becomes a mentor to a young hero, a fiery damsel who is rarely in distress, a magical order, and a hopeless battle.
* Most of Creator/DavidEddings' work is like this, following a very clear HighFantasy outline with lots of Expys, LampshadeHanging, and snark (though he did tend to play around a bit with what personalities occupied what roles- in ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', for example, TheHero is a farmboy ChosenOne and the BigBad is a GodOfEvil in the traditional Satanic vein; in TheElenium, the roles are held by a KnightInSourArmor and an EldritchAbomination, respectively).
** There's a beautiful LampshadeHanging in The Mallorean (the sequel to ''Literature/TheBelgariad''), where the characters realise they're following ''the same prophecy again''.
* Jack [=McDevitt=]: Some {{Adventurer Archaeologist}}s find a clue leading them to a lost location full of ancient knowledge. There's probably a government or corporation messing things up, whether [[ObstructiveBureaucrat unintentionally]] or [[CorruptCorporateExecutive malignantly]]. Someone WILL [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice]] him or herself, either for their comrades or to protect the knowledge (sometimes this is by way of RedemptionEqualsDeath -- see the next item). There will be a FaceHeelTurn or a HeelFaceTurn. One or two couples will develop -- generally someone in one such will die, leaving their partner devastated. When they find the cache, some huge catastrophe will destroy all of what they find except when they can carry while running away, or they'll be an epoch too late. Either way, their discovery [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore changes everything]].
* ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}''. It's a given that the main character will be 12 years old, that they will be unpopular, and that they are doing at least one of the following things: moving to a new house, going to camp, visiting relatives, or working on a school project. They will encounter strange and spooky things but will make it out fine, until the last second where the surprise TwistEnding kicks in and they [[http://www.bloggerbeware.com/ turn out to be dogs or something]].
* Ken Follet's ''ThePillarsOfTheEarth'' and ''WorldWithoutEnd'' both take place in the same fictional priory in medieval England. They are both about a genius architect whose building project and love life are constantly threatened by conservative townsfolk, the church, politics, and petty rivalries.
** His novels ''The Eye of the Needle'' and ''The Key To Rebecca'' both feature elite German spies who have information that could turn the war in the favour of the Axis. Both are are handy with hidden blades.
* Creator/JodiPicoult's books all have the same (general) formula after she wrote ''Literature/MySistersKeeper'', which was (and still is) her most successful book: People (usually centering on the woman) living a normal life (in some New England town), something big happens/happened to them (i.e. husband is cheating, child is arrested) and there ends up being a court case either involving family members (i.e a family member committed a crime) or involving family members suing each other. Usually the court case involves children or teens. Expect one child to be severely ill and wiser than their years. The parents will/already did forget about the other child, if there is one. It is often a TearJerker, but is successful because of that (the judge/jury feels sorry for the defendant). Usually there is a Shocking Swerve near the end, and somebody dies. Examples include: ''Literature/VanishingActs, House Rules, Literature/HandleWithCare'', and more.
* Creator/SarahDessen's books almost always follow this formula: The girl has an annoying, messed up family situation (usually moves a lot), girl doesn't know how to deal with it, girl meets boy, boy fixes everything in girl's hypothetical world, and then there's always that moment when Girl and Boy are going to have a falling out, but they'll be back together by the end. Only some of her earliest novels (''That Summer'', ''Someone Like You'', ''Dreamland'') don't follow this formula.
** Her latest novel, ''The Moon and More'', does change up this formula some ([[spoiler:in that the main character doesn't end up with either of her love interests]]), and promptly got flack from fans for mixing things up too much.
* Karel Čapek did this with his play ''Theatre/{{RUR}}'' and the novel ''Literature/WarWithTheNewts''. The major difference was that in the one case, the RobotRebellion involved actual robots (well, sort of...) and in the other case, involved a strange race of sentient newts that were [[SlaveRace enslaved/treated like robots]]. Because of the different media, though, both works stand pretty well on their own (though R.U.R. is far more famous, if only because it [[TropeNamer originated the term "robot"]]).
* Vivian Vande Velde's ''Dragon Bait'' and ''Companions of the Night'' tell virtually the same story: a teenage female protagonist with a MissingMom suffers a false accusation due to coincidental circumstances, and subsequently both her and her father's lives are endangered. Enter a TallDarkAndSnarky ReallySevenHundredYearsOld supernatural male lead who offers to guide the heroine in her quest for vindication. Despite the man's general dangerousness and untrustworthiness, the heroine accepts because she has no one else to turn to, and she quickly finds herself growing attached to him as he leads her around. This culminates in the capture of both the male lead and the heroine by the main villain. The villain is killed in such a way that the heroine is not (fully) responsible. The heroine then saves the male lead from his one weakness - daylight - and the books end on an ambiguously positive note. The difference? The male lead in ''Dragon's Bait'' is [[OurDragonsAreDifferent a dragon]]; in ''Companions of the Night,'' he's a much more marketable vampire.
* Children's books by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond hardly even bother with different names. Start with Literature/IfYouGiveAMouseACookie, then try If You Give a Bear A Brownie. If you liked that, you're sure to like If You Give A Cat A Cupcake!
* Creator/CassandraClare. So far, both of her series have been about an ordinary teenage girl who learns she has [[SecretLegacy magical powers]] her conveniently absent parents hid from her. Unable to go home, she finds herself living at the local ExtranormalInstitute and gets into a [[BettyAndVeronica love triangle]] between a DeadpanSnarker and a NiceGuy. The villain, who has mysterious ties to her parentage, aims to TakeOverTheWorld with the help of her evil older brother.
** It's also worth noting that most of the characters in ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'' are {{exp|y}}ies from ''Fanfic/TheDracoTrilogy'', her ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fanfiction.
* Creator/PGWodehouse admitted to this trope several times, at one point complaining that a reviewer had "called attention to the thing I try to hush up – viz., that I have only got one plot and produce it once a year with variations."
* ''MercedesLackey'' has several series that are just the same story happening two or three times in a row. For instance, the Mage Storms trilogy.
* Quite a number of ''RaymondFeist's'' books follow the plotline of (1) one or two misfit boys get in trouble, (2) they randomly come across the ongoing battle against that evil wizard who keeps reincarnating throughout the series, (3) they get recruited by the shadow council, a group of powerful magicians, (4) they end up in a magical resort where EverybodyHasLotsOfSex, (4) the powerful magicians oppose the evil wizard, (5) the misfit boy(s), despite being way out of their league, happen to influence a key event causing victory, and (6) evil wizard escapes again.
* ''DeanKoontz'' novels, especially the ones from the 80's and 90's, will have a highly competent, basically good hero who is slightly depressed and withdrawn because of bad experiences in his past, who in the course of the plot will meet a woman who is either very confident and outgoing or extremely shy and sheltered but who also has enormous inner strength, they're always both very Christian and end up in a relationship. The villain is usually a pure evil monster with a scientific explanation, or a human man who believes himself to be a new god or somehow superior to the rest of the world. Then there's a choice of cute kid, noble (or actually magical) handicapped person, or cute, noble, highly intelligent dog (always a lab or golden retriever), or some combination of the above.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Many television shows have [[StrictlyFormula basically the same plot]] in every episode.
* Creator/VanKootenEnDeBie: Their TV show had several different names over the years, but was always known as ''"Van Kooten en De Bie"'' and essentially the same format: the duo discussed what was in the news that week and then showed sketches or pre-recorded interviews with their characters in between.
* ''DoctorWho'': 1970s-era script editor Terrance Dicks once complained about writer Terry Nation that, while he told an excellent story, it was always the ''same'' story (his Pertwee-era contributions, "Planet of the Daleks" and "Death to the Daleks" were blatant rehashes of the first Dalek story, except on a different planet, with different characters, and with a different Doctor). This led to what many fans consider his masterpiece: "Genesis of the Daleks."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The critically/fan-acclaimed albums for Music/{{Metallica}} tend to be down to an 8-9 song formula. ''Ride the Lightning'', ''Master of Puppets'', ''...And Justice For All'', and ''Death Magnetic'' all follow a similar structure to the music, with varying music lengths based on how advanced CD/LP technology is at the time. Each opens with a song that sounds like most of the rest of the album that also has an unusual intro (acoustic, fade-in, heartbeat) before the album's title track if it has one. Track four is generally lighter or slower ("One"[[note]] ''...And Justice For All''[[/note]] and "The Day That Never Comes"[[note]]''Death Magnetic''[[/note]] have identical song structures) and the peniltimate track is an instrumental.
* KingCrimson tends to cycle with two-three albums sounding similar to each other, followed by a NewSoundAlbum. Examples being the similarities for ''Lark's Tongue in Aspic'', ''Red'', and ''Starless and Bible Black''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* The Kabuki plays of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, a man regularly referred to as the 'Japanese Shakespeare'. ''Courier for Hades'', ''Love Suicides at Amijima'', and ''Love at Sea'' all follow the same plot: a man (usually poor or made poor at the beginning of the story) is in love with a courtesan, but doesn't have enough money to pay her ransom. The protagonist has a rival, who wants the courtesan for himself, and so the protagonist steals money to pay the ransom. '''None''' of the characters in any of these plays live happily ever after. Oh Monzaemon, you really know how to work a crowd.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''[[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]]''. Almost all of his 2d games have the same plot: the princess has been kidnapped. Cross a bunch of levels to reach Bowser's castle and save her. Sometimes, this is introduced as a plot twist (in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros3'', you're saving {{Baleful Polymorph}}ed kings and the princess is safe at home until the final world).
* The ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' series includes the most infamous {{Mission Pack Sequel}}s in Video Game history, especially considering how the second half of the original NES games (''Mega Man 1 - 6'') used the exact same plot. While [[ExcusePlot simple and generic]], the first three games had a not-horrible progression of intensity: [[VideoGame.MegaMan Wily betrays Light]], [[VideoGame.MegaMan2 Wily's Revenge]], [[VideoGame.MegaMan3 Wily's False Reform]]. Games 4-6 (and, while we're here, VideoGame/MegaManAndBass, VideoGame/MegaMan9, and VideoGame/MegaMan10) all involve the apparent BigBad making way for [[HijackedByGanon Wily to steal the endgame]]. 9 at least is honest enough to admit it's Wily behind the scenes upfront.
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' tells the story of Dr. Eggman discovering a SealedEvilInACan, trying to use it to build his evil empire, and finding out at the end that EvilIsNotAToy. Switch the title and you have the plot of the next half a dozen games in the series across consoles and handhelds.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGear2'', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'', and (to a slightly lesser extent) ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearGhostBabel'' have extremely, extremely similar plots, events and setpieces, with only the names/justification changed (although the similarity between ''[=MGS1=]'' and ''[=MGS2=]'' is lampshaded/deconstructed by the story). ''VideoGame/MetalGear'', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'' have suspiciously similar plots to each other as well, although it's not as clear as with the first four. ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' had its own plot, and, coincidentally or otherwise, it's [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks more often than the others considered by fans to be really incoherent and bad]].
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearAcid'' and its sequel have very similar stories, events and setpieces to each other, too. (Snake infiltrates a laboratory performing experiments on children due to the urging of a general keeping information from him, gets a blond female MsFanservice assistant, develops a rivalry with an enemy [[TheBrute Brute]] who is [[WorthyOpponent actually a pretty]] [[PunchclockVillain nice guy]], is [[StalkerWithACrush stalked somewhat homoerotically]] by the lead scientist in the base, is constantly plagued by the suspicion that his memories may be lies and he may just be the TomatoInTheMirror, and ends up in the thrall of the manipulations of an extremely powerful little girl with the spirit of a dead person living on inside them.) The similarity between them is lampshaded in the story with a couple of obvious {{Nostalgia Level}}s, but not justified at all. They also both do callbacks to ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' with levels where you have to go out of your way to get sniper rifles.
* In every main series ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' game there's this [[KidHero kid]] who just got his/her first Pokémon. He/She goes traveling around the world and [[ToBeAMaster eventually becomes Pokémon Champion]]. He/She somehow manages to get in issues with Team Rocket/Magma/Aqua/Galactic/Plasma/whatever and foil Giovanni/Archer/Maxie/Archie/[[spoiler:Cyrus]]/[[spoiler:N]]/[[spoiler:Ghetsis]]/whoever's evil plans.
[[/folder]]

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