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 INSPACE
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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Anime & Manga
- Ikki Tousen is Romance of the Three Kingdoms AS A HIGH SCHOOL PANTY FIGHTER ANIME!
- KoihimeMusou is Romance of the Three Kingdoms AS A GENDER FLIPPED YURI FEST!
- Koutetsu Sangokushi is Romance of the Three Kingdoms WITH BISHONEN / HOYAY!
- And for the younger kids at home, BB Senshi Sangokuden is Three Kingdoms WITH ROBOTS!
- Dragon Ball is Journey to the West IN THE PRESENT! MAYBE!
- Shinzo is Journey to the West WITH COLLECTABLE CARD BASED CREATURES IN THE FUTURE!.
- Fist of the North Star is, at least in the beginning, Mad Max STARRING BRUCE LEE!
- Area 88 is The Count of Monte Cristo WITH FIGHTER JETS!
- The Borrower Arrietty is The Borrowers IN JAPAN!
- Sailor Moon Crystal is Sailor Moon IN 2014!
- Compared to the manga and original anime's 1992 setting, it features updated tech. Though a cellphone is seen in Act 1, it's much more noticeable in Act 2, where the computers are much more modern than those in the manga and 90s anime (in particular, Usagi has a pink laptop with a bunny decal on it). Crystal does retain the original Game Center Crown, (2003's tokusatsu version updated it to a karaoke bar) but though the industry is contracting, arcades remain relatively popular in Japan, unlike the west. However, the actual Sailor V video game is something of an aversion, looking like an early '90s platformer, which is somewhat odd considering the reason the game was created.
- Marvel Comics' Ultimate imprint is early(ish) Marvel Comics IN THE 2000s!.
- Earlier Marvel Adventures comics (formerly known as Marvel Age) were the same thing, only child-friendly, and they directly adapted older Marvel comics.
- Rapunzel's Revenge is "Rapunzel" IN A SCHIZOTECH OLD WEST!
- In Marvel Comics or DC Comics superhero lines, almost any retelling of a character's origin will fall into this category, especially as regards technology, the status of minorities and who the President is. The only exceptions are characters whose origins are fixed in history, e.g. Captain America. (That said, compare the versions of Cap's awakening in the modern day from the original in Avengers #4-10 (when he was only 20 years out of date), and the more recent Captain America: Man Out of Time miniseries for a perfect example of this trope.)
- Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds is Far from the Madding Crowd AT A WRITER'S RETREAT!
- Vertigo Comics' Greek Street is Greek Mythology IN MODERN LONDON!
- Each Tintin book is set in the year it was first published, despite the title character not ageing much, if at all. The result is that Tintin himself looks just about the same from 1931's The Blue Lotus right through to 1976's Tintin and the Picaros. Other recurring characters take it even further - most notably General Alcazar, who resembles a formal-style 1930s military dictator in 'The Broken Ear, but in Tintin and the Picaros'' his dress sense resembles that of Fidel Castro or Che Guevara.
- The Legend of Bagger Vance is the Bhagavad Gita IN THE JIM CROW SOUTH!
- The Movie of The Honeymooners was WITH AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE MAIN ROLES!
- Disturbia is Rear Window WITH TEENAGERS!
- 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 Loves Labours 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 IV 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!
- Joss Whedon filmed an update of Much Ado About Nothing in 2012 that updates the setting to the present. Interestingly this causes ambiguity as to what exactly the main characters are, the main suggestion is either spies or mafia soldiers. Given the power struggles involved, the second seems more likely. It is also notable for being able to highlight the nasty sexual politics of the original play.
- 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.
- Superhero films tend to do this, often taking characters and concepts created during the Golden and Silver Ages and transplanting their origins to a contemporary setting. For example, the 2008 Iron Man took place during The War on Terror rather than The Vietnam War, and the Fantastic Four reboot has the characters gaining their powers in 2015 rather than during the Cold War.
- 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!. In particular, 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!
- Kamen Rider The First and Kamen Rider The Next are remakes of Kamen Rider and Kamen Rider V3, but with the setting changed from the 1970's to the Turn of the Millennium.
- 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 The 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.
- Strange Brew is Hamlet AT A BREWERY IN A CANADA
- PCU is Animal House IN THE NINETIES!
- The Live-Action Adaptation of Dudley Do-Right was IN THE (NINETEEN) NINETIES!
- Weird Science was adapted from a 1950s comic book story and updated for THE 1980s HOME COMPUTER AGE!
- The 2014 version of Annie moves the setting forward from The Great Depression to The New Tens.
- The Universal Horror films Frankenstein (1931) and Dracula (1931) are both based on books written in the 19th century but the films take place in then-present day.
- 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".
- Peter Schickele claims to have updated for contemporary audiences the references in P.D.Q Bach's "Classical Rap," whose alleged original was about 18th-century Viennese yuppies.
- 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 examples in a Transhuman Space:
- In Teralogos News 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.
- Toxic Memes mentions a 2042 remake of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, in which Smith expresses the opinion that democracy is all a big con, and a 2097 remake of the German silent film Alraune under the title Mandrake, with the Things Man Was Not Meant to Know updated from artificial insemination to computer generated genomes.
- 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).
- Examples from Bertolt Brecht's dramatic oeuvre:
- The Threepenny Opera is The Beggar's Opera in Victorian or Edwardian times (and Darker and Edgier).
- 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.
- Schwejk im Zweiten Weltkrieg (The Good Soldier Shvejk in World War 2) transports Jaroslav Hasek's Good Soldier Svejk from World War One to World War II.
- 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.
- There was a 1994 Scottish tour of The Odd Couple IN 1990s GLASGOW!
- Similarly Neil Simon's own Felix & Oscar: A New Look At The Odd Couple is The Odd Couple IN THE 21st CENTURY!
- The 2013 stage musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory updates the story much the way the 2005 film adaptation did with regards to Mike Teavee's technology fixation, and updates Violet's vice of Pride to have her parlaying her non-talent of gum chewing into a lucrative entertainment career (ala socialites and certain reality show stars). That said, while it's set in The Present Day, Purely Aesthetic Era applies, with the songs drawing upon many different styles (and eras) of music — British music hall, jazz, disco, rap, techno, etc.
- Uncle Varick by Scottish playwright John Byrne (the one who did Tutti Frutti, not X-Men) is Uncle Vanya IN SCOTLAND IN THE 1960s!
- One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean is the Commedia dell'Arte play Servant of Two Masters IN BRIGHTON IN THE 1960s! WITH GANGSTERS!