Adaptations of old stories will frequently move them closer to the production in time and/or space, even if the original is only a couple of decades old, in a Derivative Works
kind of Creator Provincialism
Distinct from Recycled IN SPACE!
in that the purpose is to make the story more familiar and accessible, whereas that trope is often based around transplanting a story into a less
familiar setting. Also, by its nature, a Setting Update is typically made long after the original, whereas a Recycled Premise
is usually a Me Too
made to cash in on hot demand. Sometimes, especially with the more radical changes, it can be a genuinely clever analogy.
A Setting Update can still be described with IN SPACE!
style, though, since that usually isn't all that's changed.
Related to Comic Book Time
for long running series. Also related to Retcon
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- The Movie of The Honeymooners was WITH AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE MAIN ROLES!
- Disturbia is Rear Window WITH TEENAGERS!
- An early example: The Magnificent Seven was Seven Samurai IN THE OLD WEST!
- Then Roger Corman made Battle Beyond The Stars, which is The Magnificent Seven IN SPACE!! (It even has Robert Vaughn playing a character who's essentially and Expy of his character in the western version.)
- A classic three-way version: A Fistful Of Dollars is Yojimbo IN THE OLD WEST!, while Yojimbo was Red Harvest IN FEUDAL JAPAN!
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?? is Homer's The Odyssey IN THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES DURING The Great Depression!
- The Wiz is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz IN TWENTIETH CENTURY HARLEM!
- William Shakespeare gets this treatment a lotnote :
- The Onion has mocked this kind of behaviour.
- West Side Story was Romeo and Juliet IN TWENTIETH CENTURY NEW YORK CITY ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN! AS A MUSICAL!
- Gnomeo and Juliet is Romeo and Juliet WITH GARDEN GNOMES!
- Scotland, PA was Macbeth AS A DARK COMEDY SET IN A RESTAURANT IN 1970S AMERICA!
- The Lion King was Hamlet IN AFRICA! ANIMATED! DISNEYFIED! WITH A HAPPY ENDING INSTEAD OF A STAGE FULL OF CORPSES!
- 1996's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet is Romeo and Juliet IN THE MODERN DAY! WITH ALMOST THE EXACT SAME DIALOG! (They even had guns called "Sword 9mm"s.)
- Similarly, the 1995 film of Richard III is the play IN 1930s ENGLAND DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION ! WITH NAZI REGIME FORESHADOWING, ORWELLIAN PARALLELS AND DIESELPUNK AESTHETIC ! AND STARRING GANDALF IN THE TITLE ROLE !
- And the 2000 Hamlet is the play IN CORPORATE AMERICA!... featuring some of the most numerous and blatant product placements ever filmed. Who can forget the Ghost of Hamlet's father disappearing into a Pepsi machine?
- The 2008 Royal Shakespearean Company's Hamlet is also set IN THE PRESENT DAY with lots of surveillance cameras around, adding to the sense of oppression and claustrophobia. And featuring The Doctor as Hamlet and Captain Picard as Claudius! See it here courtesy of those nice people over at PBS.
- The 2006 Macbeth is the play WITH MODERN-DAY AUSTRALIAN DRUG LORDS! And WITH GOTH CHICKS! as the three witches, for good measure.
- 1996's Twelfth Night IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND!
- 2011's The Merchant of Venice IN LAS VEGAS! WITH SHYLOCK RUNNING A CASINO, THE Engagement Challenge AS A GAME SHOW, BELMONT SOMEWHERE IN MIDDLE AMERICA, A GAMBLING-ADDICTED ANTONIO AND AN ELVIS-IMPERSONATING LAUNCELOT GOBBO!0.
- 1999's A Midsummer Night's Dream IN 19TH CENTURY ITALY!
- There are also a bunch of films whose premise is William Shakespeare IN A MODERN DAY HIGH SCHOOL!
- Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood was Macbeth WITH SAMURAI!
- Akira Kurosawa's Ran was King Lear WITH SAMURAI!
- Akira Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well was Hamlet IN MODERN DAY JAPAN!
- Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres was King Lear ON A FARM IN IOWA! and from Goneril's (Ginny's) perspective.
- The 2002 movie King Of Texas was King Lear IN TEXAS! Starring Patrick Stewart, no less.
- Before the 2000 Hamlet, there was the black and white Danish film Hamlet Goes Business which was Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Tromeo And Juliet is Romeo and Juliet IN MODERN MANHATTAN AS A TROMA FILM! Instead of dying, the title characters run off and get married despite turning out to be brother and sister. It is a Troma film, after all.
- Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost is Love's Labour's Lost AS A MUSICAL SET IN THE 1930s!!!
- Branagh's Hamlet also has an updated setting; not all the way to the 20th century, but still several centuries after the play was written.
- He also did As You Like It set in 19th century Japan.
- My Own Private Idaho is Henry VI Part 1 IN PORTLAND OREGON WITH MALE PROSTITUTES, ONE OF WHOM IS NARCOLEPTIC. No really, it is: Scott is Prince Hal, and Bob Pigeon is Falstaff.
- Julie Taymor's Titus is Titus Andronicus IN AN Anachronism Stew OF ANCIENT ROMAN AND 20TH CENTURY ITALIAN SETTINGS!
- All Night Long is Othello IN THE WORLD OF JAZZ
- A 2010 PBS movie of Macbeth is set during the Russian Revolution, with Patrick Stewart in the lead role.
- 2011's Coriolanus is Coriolanus IN THE MODERN DAY!
- There was a movie called G that was The Great Gatsby WITH RAP STARS! "Black" versions of old stuff has become curiously common in recent years.
- Not really a new thing. Ever hear of The Hot Mikado or Carmen Jones?
- Clueless was Jane Austen's Emma IN A MODERN DAY HIGH SCHOOL!
- The War of the Worlds is particularly prone to this in adaptations, with the 1938 radio play, the 1953 film, the 1980s TV series, and two of the three 2005 films moving the setting to the present day from the novel's 1902. Jeff Wayne's Rock Opera adaptation (and the PC game based on it), along with the third of the 2005 releases, are the only ones that keep the original setting.
- The Film of the Book of Bridge to Terabithia moved from The Seventies to the Present Day.
- Someone forgot to tell the guy in charge of getting a school bus for the movie, though.
- Casino Royale (Notably, the 2006 movie had TEXAS HOLD-EM! in place of the 1953 book's baccarat.) In fact, most of the James Bond series qualifies, as each film is set during roughly the time period in which it was made.
- The film adaptations of The Bourne Series, which was written in the '70s, which also necessitated major changes to the plot since the Ripped from the Headlines villains of the books was no longer relevant in the 2000s (being just a teensy bit in prison for the rest of his life).
- The Saint and Mike Hammer have so far never appeared in film or TV adaptations in period pieces. The Armand Assante remake presented an updated story with Hammer as a Vietnam veteran instead of a Pacific Theater World War II veteran. Even though the last time Stacy Keach played Hammer aired over fifty years since the first appearance of Mike Hammer, it presented an updated story. Roger Moore's version of The Saint debuted over thirty years after the first appearance of the Saint in print in 1928, but presented an updated story, as did subsequent adaptations with Ian Ogilivy, Andrew Clarke, and Simon Dutton. The Val Kilmer film took place in contemporary times, arriving in theaters in 1997-almost seventy years after the Saint's debut.
- Usually, adaptations of comic book heroes, no matter how many decades after the character's debut, appear as contemporary stories. For example, the 2008 Iron Man 1 took place in contemporary times, even though it arrived 45 years after Iron Man's debut. (Exceptions, where the World War II roots of a property did appear in a TV or movie adaptation include Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman, which initially took place in World War II, and the Salinger Captain America film, whose early scenes took place during World War II.)
- Scrooged is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol IN THE 1980s! It works, though, because of the cleverness of using a Show Within a Show concept - the Scrooge analogue is producing a live TV adaptation of the original A Christmas Carol, yet clearly misses the point until it happens to him.
- The movie Guess Who? was a remake of the classic film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, updated to the modern day, WITH THE RACES REVERSED!
- The Warriors is Xenophon's Anabasis WITH GANGS IN MODERN NEW YORK! Though this is a borderline case: Only the vague plot and some character names are similar.
- Shortcut To Happiness is The Devil and Daniel Webster IN LAS VEGAS!
- Cruel Intentions was Les Liaisons Dangereuses WITH TEENAGERS IN MODERN NEW YORK!
- Swimfan was Play Misty for Me WITH TEENAGERS!
- Dagon is The Shadow Over Innsmouth IN A SMALL SPANISH VILLAGE!
- Bride and Prejudice is Pride and Prejudice IN INDIA IN THE MODERN DAY! AND A BOLLYWOOD MUSICAL! WITH LOTS OF SPARKLY COLORS!
- Apocalypse Now is Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness IN VIETNAM!
- This used to be commonplace for Sherlock Holmes movies. For instance, only the first two of the Rathbone/Bruce series in the 1930's-1940's took place in the Victorian era. Nowadays the world is different enough that setting them in the present day would drastically affect the concept, which is probably why it's no longer done as often. (That said, guess what Steven Moffat's latest project is...)
- Roxanne was a Lighter and Softer Cyrano de Bergerac Comically Missing the Point INAMERICA IN THE MID-LATE 1980'S! WITH STEVE MARTIN SWORDFIGHTING WITH A TENNIS RACQUET! AND HE AND CHRISTIAN ARE FIREMEN THAT
- Rear Window (1998) is Rear Window WITH A GENUINELY DISABLED ACTOR!!. While it's a well-made movie with an intense performance by Christopher Reeve, the gimmick factor was an Elephant in the Living Room.
- The Outrage is Rashomon IN THE OLD WEST! WITH WILLIAM SHATNER!
- The Faculty is Invasion of the Body Snatchers IN HIGH SCHOOL!
- Three O'Clock High is High Noon IN HIGH SCHOOL!
- Angels in the Outfield (1994) is Angels in the Outfield (1951) WITH A TEAM NAMED THE ANGELS! AND A KID! AND CHRISTOPHER LLOYD!
- Mean Machine is The Longest Yard IN BRITAIN WITH THE OTHER KIND OF FOOTBALL!
- Bridget Jones's Diary is Pride and Prejudice IN THE MODERN DAY!
- The Departed is Infernal Affairs IN SOUTH BOSTON!
- Mel Gibson's The Patriot is arguably Mel Gibson's Braveheart IN AMERICA!
- Braveheart is Mad Max IN SCOTLAND!
- One Crazy Summer is Better Off Dead IN NANTUCKET!
- Soul Plane is Airplane! WITH BLACK PEOPLE!
- Cast Away is Robinson Crusoe IN THE MID-LATE 90S WITH A VOLLEYBALL AS FRIDAY!
- Who's Your Caddy? is Caddyshack WITH BLACK PEOPLE!
- Three Kings is Kelly's Heroes DURING THE GULF WAR!
- Australia is Out of Africa IN AUSTRALIA!
- Armaan was Casablanca IN INDIA AND AS A BOLLYWOOD MUSICAL!
- She's All That is Pygmalion IN HIGH SCHOOL!
- The Made-for-TV Movie Carrie is the Brian DePalma movie and the Stephen King novel IN EARLY '00s!
- The TV movie Lost Voyage (2001) could be called Event Horizon NOT IN SPACE!
- I, Robot is essentially Armitage III AS A LIVE ACTION MOVIE!
- Accepted is pretty much Camp Nowhere IN COLLEGE!
- The 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is MODERN!.
- Mike Teavee's addiction is changed from gangster movies and westerns to violent video games! There are animatronic puppets that malfunction comically!
- Strangely enough, when Teavee is confronted with a video game setting inside the factory, he claims that it is "lame".
- Both Oliver & Company and August Rush are Oliver Twist IN MODERN-DAY NEW YORK CITY! The difference is that Oliver And Company adds to that WITH TALKING ANIMALS! and August Rush is WITH MUSICAL SKILL IN PLACE OF MONEY!
- There's an obscure movie called "Pinocchio 3000", which is Pinocchio IN THE YEAR 3000! WITH ROBOTS! AND A LOVE INTEREST! AND WHOOPI GOLDBERG AS THE BLUE FAIRY COUNTERPART!
- The two Allan Quatermain films with Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone moved Quatermain forward to the World War I era, not the 1880's and earlier setting of the H. Rider Haggard novels.
- Phantom of the Paradise was Phantom of the Opera and Faust IN THE HAIR-ROCK '70S!
- Easy A is The Scarlet Letter IN MODERN DAY AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL!
- The Lair of the White Worm was an old Bram Stoker novel updated to modern day for the film adaptation.
- The A-Team is The A-Team WITH IRAQ VETS!
- Death at a Funeral is Death at a Funeral WITH BLACK PEOPLE!!...AND THE SAME DWARF AS LAST TIME!!
- The 1998 film of Great Expectations is set in Florida and New York in the Seventies and Eighties, and Pip's name is changed to Finnegan Bell, among other name changes.
- The Natural is The Odyssey mixed with The Tale of Sir Perceval WITH BASEBALL IN 1939!
- Jindabyne is So Much Water, So Close To Home IN THE NEW SOUTH WALES HIGH COUNTRY!
- Click is The Magic Thread, an old French tale, set in the modern-day United States.
- The premise of a tv remote control that can control time is taken from an old Buster Comics strip called Vid Kid.
- Huck And The King Of Hearts is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn IN THE 1990s! WITH A TRUCK INSTEAD OF A RAFT!
- The original sci-fi story Who Goes There? was written in the 1930's. The Thing (1982) gave the year as 1982, the same year it was released.
- Hedda Gabler's 2004 American film adaptation moves the setting to present-day Wenatchee, WA.
- You've Got Mail is The Shop Around the Corner IN AMERICA AND WITH THE INTERNET! (It's even lampshaded with the name of Meg Ryan's bookstore).
- Variant: Django Unchained is a Western in the pre-Civil War Deep South instead of The Wild West.
- Shakespea Re Told [sic] was blatantly this:
- ITV did a TV production of Othello AS A MODERN DAY COP DRAMA, WITH OTHELLO AS A NEWLY PROMOTED POLICE COMISSIONER AND IAGO AS HIS JEALOUS FORMER PARTNER! Worth checking out for Christopher Eccleston emanating pure malice as
Iago Jago, before being cast as Doctor Who.
- Brazilian soap opera O Cravo e a Rosa (lit. "The Carnation and the Rose", after a local song) is The Taming of the Shrew IN 1920s SÃO PAULO!
- ITV's 2000 A Christmas Carol is ''A Christmas Carol WITH ROSS KEMP AS A London Gangster Scrooge!
- Spoofed in a Channel Four documentary about Hamlet, which reinvented it as AS A GLOSSY AMERICAN SOAP! to make a point. The Ghost was replaced by a Video Will, and the Oedipal undertones rapidly became text.
- The new NBC series Kings is basically the biblical story of King Saul and David IN SOME SORT OF PARALLEL UNIVERSE CLOSELY RESEMBLING MODERN AMERICA!
- House is Black Jack WITHOUT THE TEZUKA STAR SYSTEM AND MORE SURGEONS!
- Actually, a lot of people think it's more like "Sherlock Holmes AS A DOCTOR!" (lampshaded slightly when House is shot by Jack Moriarty)
- The whole series has dozens of references to Sherlock Holmes.
- The most obvious being House/Holmes and Wilson/Watson, but also the fact that there's a brilliant but reclusive person and a less-brilliant person who acts as their partner and sole friend.
- The Brothers Garcia is The Wonder Years WITH HISPANICS!
- Based on the premise, Stargate Universe may be Star Trek: Voyager... IN THE PRESENT!
- Heroes is X-Men IN THE REAL WORLD!
- There are two unrelated Russian TV miniseries, Graf Krestovsky (Count Krestovsky) and Favorsky, both of which are The Count of Monte-Cristo IN PRESENT-DAY RUSSIA! And now there's a third one, aptly named Montekristo...
- The New Odd Couple was The Odd Couple WITH BLACK PEOPLE!
- Cosmo And George is Mork and Mindy IN SINGAPORE! WITH MINDY AS AN INDIAN GUY!
- Stylista is The Devil Wears Prada AS A REALITY SHOW!
- Murder, She Wrote is Ellery Queen AS A WOMAN
- Castle is Murder, She Wrote WITH A HOT SINGLE FATHER!
- There's a BBC Macbeth, made in 1997 and starring James Frain and Ray Winstone, set in A PRESENT DAY SLUM!
- Sea Quest DSV was effectively Star Trek: The Next Generation OUT OF SPACE!, much more pronouncedly so after the end of TNG's run. (In the first seaQuest episode after TNG ended, an alien race arrives in a ship whose design was quite obviously lifted from that of the Borg Cube.)
- Currently making waves across east Asia, the Korean revenge drama Cruel Temptation is The Count of Monte-Cristo IN MODERN TIMES WITH GENDERFLIPS!
- Choujinki Metalder is Android Kikaider SET IN THE The Eighties WITH A World War II BACKDROP!
- Channel Four schools programmes about Shakespeare often did this: Julius Cesear AS A MODERN DAY POLITICIAN! WITH MARK ANTHONY'S FINAL SPEECH BEING TELEVISED!; Macbeth ON A COUNCIL ESTATE! WITH TEENAGE WITCHES ON ROLLERBLADES!; Twelfth Night WITH THE ROUND SUNG BY SIR TOBY AND FESTE AS A RAP! Since they only did a couple of scenes, they didn't have to maintain the concept for the whole play.
- Channel Four again, Macbeth IN MODERN DAY SCOTLAND, ONLY IT'S STILL AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY!
- Long before Shakepeare Re Told The BBC did a version of Twelfth Night IN THE MID 20TH CENTURY! WITH SEBASTIAN AND VIOLA AS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS!
- Sherlock is Sherlock Holmes IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY!
- Ditto for Elementary, which one-ups Sherlock by moving the action to New York and making Watson a woman (with no military background). To be fair, the creators originally wanted to make an American version of Sherlock, but the creators of Sherlock refused. They still maintain that Elementary is not a true adaptation of the novels.
- The 1991 prime time revival of Dark Shadows was essentially the same as the classic series with the modern story arcs updated from the mid-to-late 1960s/early 1970s to the early 1990s.
- The aborted 2004 WB version would have once again updated the modern portions of the series to the then present day.
- Law & Order: UK. With its episodes based off of episodes from the original series, not only did the dialogue need to be "translated" into British English, it needed to be updated to reflect modern times—technology, cultural references, etc.
- Basshunter's "Now You're Gone" is his previous "Boten Anna" IN ENGLISH! Ditto this for "All I Ever Wanted"/"Vi Sitter I Ventrilo Och Spelar Dota".
- d20 Modern is... well, Dungeons & Dragons IN THE MODERN WORLD! Especially the Urban Arcana setting.
- Delta Green is Call Of Cthulhu WITH SPECIAL FORCES! It doesn't make much difference.
- In-Universe example in a Transhuman Space sourcebook, where a review of a new production of The Tempest says "Over the last few years, Shakespeare's final complete play has suffered the most tragic fate which can overtake a classic text; it has become relevant. I swear, if I see one more InVid staging which transmutes Prospero's island into an L-5 station, with Ariel as an infomorph and Caliban as an experimental bioroid, I'll claw out my implant." Doesn't count as Recycled In Space, because it's the present day from the perspective of the reviewer.
- Pan, a play, was pretty much Peter Pan IN THE MODERN DAY, IN NIGHTCLUBS, ON NUMEROUS ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES! And it was performed in an abandoned power station.
- West Side Story was Romeo and Juliet IN TWENTIETH CENTURY NEW YORK CITY ON MANHATTAN'S UPPER WEST SIDE! AS A MUSICAL!
- There are a bunch of examples of Shakespeare in an unconventional setting WITH THE SAME DIALOGUE!
- Hobson's Choice (a play, later filmed) is King Lear IN A 19TH CENTURY INDUSTRIAL TOWN IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND!
- Orson Welles first did Macbeth WITH AN ALL BLACK CAST, IN HAITI!.
- Patrick Stewart starred in Othello IN AN AFRICAN STATE! WITH THE RACES REVERSED! because he wanted to play the role, but wasn't blacking up.
- Baz Luhrmann did Romeo and Juliet IN THE MODERN DAY! WITH GUNS!
- In 2012, Seattle's Intiman Theatre did a production of R & J in a present-day setting, but retaining some Elizabethan elements such as the sword fights.
- The 2011 Much Ado About Nothing production IN THE EIGHTIES AT A TASTLESS VACATION RESORT
- Shakespeare pulled one himself, Hamlet is basically Amleth WITH HAMLET AS A PRINCE INSTEAD OF A GOVERNOR'S SON!
- Miss Saigon is the Opera Madame Butterfly IN The Vietnam War, WITH A MORE SYMPATHETIC MALE LEAD!
- RENT is the Opera La Bohème IN THE LATE '80s, WITH AIDS, AND LGBT THEMES!
- In turn, the off-Broadway revival updates the setting to the "end of the millenium"(early 2000's).
- The Threepenny Opera is The Beggar's Opera IN GERMAN, in Victorian or Edwardian times AND Darker and Edgier!
- Other examples from Brecht's dramatic oeuvre:
- Die Heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe takes Schiller's Jungfrau von Orleans and transports her to the 20th century Chicago of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
- The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is the rise of Hitler WITH GANGSTERS IN CHICAGO.
- Schwejk im Zweiten Weltkrieg (The Good Soldier Shvejk in World War 2) is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- The Caucasian Chalk Circle takes an Chinese play based on a story of Judge Bao (which had already been translated into European languages, adapted into various plays and operas, and which Brecht himself had also transposed to his native Augsburg at the time of the Thirty Years' War in The Augsburg Chalk Circle) and transforms it into a play within a play performed just after the end of World War 2 in Georgia (the one in the Caucasus, obviously).
- Brigadoon borrows its plot (without acknowledgment) from the obscure 19th-century German short story "Germelshausen", setting it IN THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS!
- Oscar Hammerstein II adapted Carmen Jones from the opera Carmen, keeping the Bizet score but resetting the action IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH DURING WORLD WAR II WITH AN ALL-BLACK CAST!
- When Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musicalized the play Merrily We Roll Along, they reset the action between 1980 (about when the musical was produced) and 1955. (Kaufman and Hart's original play went from 1934, when it was written, to 1916, and was also Back to Front.)
- Hero, possibly the ballsiest adaptation on this list, is the friggin' story of Jesus Twenty Minutes into the Future!
- Jesus Christ Superstar is the Crucifixion of Christ IN WHATEVER MODERN SETTING THE DIRECTOR FEELS LIKE. (It tends to involve guns and drugs).
- Carousel is Liliom DOWNEAST!
- Inverted with the Sister Act musical, which was set in 1978, with Alan Menkin's disco-style songs.
- Thanks to censorship at the time, Rigoletto is Victor Hugo's Le Roi s'amuse IN ITALY and Un ball in maschera is the story of the assassination of king Gustav III of Sweden IN COLONIAL MASSACHUSETTS.