You have a TV show, and it's not very popular. Maybe it's on a low-profile channel, maybe it's on at a bad time, maybe it's just not that accessible.
And suddenly all that changes.
You get a full season order on a better channel, or the powers that be have dusted the old thing off, but for whatever reason, suddenly your show has popularity potential.
Here's the thing, though—the old version has a lot of good material nobody saw. A scene you're proud of or a plotline you now have the resources to do better. So what do you do? Remake it for the new version, of course! Who's going to notice? No one. So you can see why this seems to be common practice.
Remaking the pilot or similar such things don't apply—the show had to have been an actual, watchable show during both versions for this to take effect.
- The second season of Code Geass was completely reworked because, being very popular, it was moved from the midnight slot to a much more mainstream time, and a lot of the edgy stuff had to be removed. This is arguably the main reason why R2 had such hectic pacing. Pretty well confirmed by Word of God, as interviews have shown the staff felt beholden to do an introduction for the new viewers, which resulted in the infamous "vague rehash" in the first few episodesnote .
- There's a general tendency for a college newspaper comic that gets syndicated to simply redo old college material until the strip finds its feet. Bloom County borrowed a lot from The Academia Waltz, and Doonesbury also reused Yale-era gags for its early years. It's also common for an Animated Adaptation of a newspaper comic to recycle jokes from its source material.
- Charles Schulz borrowed a lot of the early gags in Peanuts from its predecessor strip Li'l Folks.
- Most of the first few gags in Garfield, including the very first one, were recycled from Jon, a strip that Jim Davis did for the Pendleton Times in 1976-78 before Garfield came to be.
- When Mystery Science Theater 3000 made the jump from local low-budget KTMA to the cable station Comedy Channel, they revisited movies from the KTMA era and reused some host sketches in their first season. Around season four they exhausted their stock of affordable KTMA-era films, and the repeat host sketches stopped by the second season.
- The Adventures of Pete & Pete was a series of advertisements for Nickelodeon before becoming a series. Many of the one-minute shorts were expanded into half-hour episodes throughout the show's run.
- When The Avengers market expanded to the US (it was previously an exclusively British show), many UK-only-era episodes were redone.
- Alien Ant Farm's first single was "Movies," but no one paid them any attention until they released their cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." So afterward, they... shot a new music video for "Movies" and released it again. The single flopped again, and Alien Ant Farm remained known as a One-Hit Wonder.
- Nirvana recorded and released a low budget music video for "In Bloom" while they were still with Sub Pop. "In Bloom" was later re-recorded for Nevermind, and a new video was released after the success of Nevermind.
- Zac Brown Band's Breakthrough Hit "Chicken Fried" was originally included on one of the band's early independent albums, and was re-recorded for their first Atlantic Records album The Foundation.
- Similarly, Gin Blossoms re-recorded "Hey Jealousy" (a song from their first independent release) for their major label debut.
- Toby Keith had originally recorded "Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine on You" independently in The '80s. After getting axed from both his first and second albums at the last second, it was included as the title track to 1996's Blue Moon and released as a single.
- Brothers Osborne originally included "Stay a Little Longer" on a digital EP. The song was re-recorded for their debut album, and this version was sent out as a single, becoming their Breakthrough Hit.
- David Bowie first recorded "Strangers When We Meet" for his 1993 studio album The Buddha Of Suburbia, which expanded on ideas from his soundtrack to the eponymous BBC miniseries. However, the album was subject to Misaimed Marketing, being labeled the actual OST album despite only including one song from the show, and flopped so badly that it was deleted from Bowie's discography for 14 years. Bowie, however, loved the album, and re-recorded "Strangers When We Meet" in 1995 for the much better-selling 1. Outside.
- When The Warriors was released in 1979, Joe Walsh recorded "In The City" for the soundtrack. Although the movie was reasonably successful, the soundtrack fizzled. Walsh's bandmates in The Eagles liked the song and encouraged him to record a new version for the group's sixth album, The Long Run. It has since become a popular album cut and a live staple.
- Metal Gear Solid is a Recycled Script based on Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, a 2D game from eight years prior that was released in Japanese alone for a computer system that was not that popular to begin with and was already obsolete at the time of the game's release. The plot is cosmetically different, but the games share similar level design, gameplay obstacles and even a few identical puzzles.
- Chrono Cross borrows elements from Radical Dreamers, originally released in Japanese for the Satellaview add-on. The Other Wiki states that director Masato Kato did Chrono Cross as an attempt to "redo Radical Dreamers properly."
- The concept of WarioWare was based on Sound Bomber, a side mode in the obscure title Mario Artist: Polygon Studios for the short-lived, Japan-only Nintendo 64DD. As such, the first game reused nearly all of the microgames from Sound Bomber.
- With the successful launch of the Nintendo Switch coming after the disappointing sales performance of the Wii U, Nintendo has seen fit to port many of their acclaimed Wii U titles to the Switch in order to ensure that they get the wider exposure they couldn't before.
- When Linkara transitioned Atop the Fourth Wall from text reviews to video reviews for That Guy with the Glasses, boosting his popularity tenfold, many such video reviews were simply him preforming the text reviews.
- When Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series began to hit its stride after the first few episodes, some of the older episodes were redone, making LK's Vocal Evolution very noticeable. He even did a live performance of the entire first episode from memory.
- What did Team Four Star do after finishing the first season of Dragon Ball Z Abridged? They abridged it again. Cue Dragon Ball Z Kai Abridged.
- Making Fiends remade the first episode as well as the "Vegetables" and scissor-puppy episodes when it became a show on Nicktoons Network, retaining most of the more memorable gags while otherwise restructuring them to fill seven minutes.