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"The '90s saw a wave of middle-brow adaptations of The Bard's plays, often taking them to new and interesting territory. There was Henry IV with rent boys, a Fascist Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew in High School, Hamlet with lions, Romeo and Juliet with seizures..."
Kyle Kallgren, while reviewing another Shakespeare update, Tromeo and Julietnote 

Adaptations and Remakes of old stories will frequently move them closer to the production date in time, space or both, even if the original is only a couple of decades old, in a Derivative Works kind of Creator Provincialism. Some updates bring an ancient or medieval story into the modern day and set it in America.

Distinct from Recycled In Space in that the purpose is to make the story more familiar and accessible (as well as cutting production costs), whereas the Recycled In Space trope is often based around transplanting a story into a less familiar setting such as a moon colony or alien galaxy. Also, by its nature, a Setting Update is typically made long after the original, whereas a Recycled Premise is usually a copy made to cash in on hot demand. Sometimes, especially with the more radical changes, it can be a genuinely clever analogy. As well, if the source work has Zee Rust or dated offensive references, this is a good time to update these too.

Please do not describe examples in the Recycled In Space style. Also, please do not just state the name of the work, as that is a Zero-Context Example, and zero context examples are not allowed on the Wiki. Please explain how the example demonstrates this trope.

Related to Comic-Book Time for long running series. Also related to Retcon. Compare Adaptational Location Change. Contrast Revival which continues the story with updated elements. Super-Trope to Modern AU Fic, which is a sub-trope of this applied to fan-works. Attempted aversion of this trope sometimes results in Present-Day Past anyway.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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. Maybe it's supposed to be Retraux in-universe?
  • While Hunter × Hunter isn't set in any discernible time period (since it's a fantasy series), the 2011 remake features updated technology. Flip-phones are changed to smartphones, and VHS tapes are changed to DVDs. It's extremely noticeable when comparing it to the 1999 adaptation and earlier parts of the manga.
  • This happens whenever a manga from The '70s or The '80s gets new adaptations. For example the Dear Brother manga is from the early 70s, while the TV series is from the early 90s; the "Oniisama" Takehiko Henmi is seen writing his thesis in a typing machine in the manga, but he uses an early desktop computer (floppy disks included) in the anime.
  • A very subtle one in Death Note where the anime is set three years later than the manga, only really noticeable through the use of dates in the series.
  • The anime adaptation of Parasyte has the characters using modern technology such as laptops and touch-screen phones and wearing modern hair/clothing styles. The original manga was serialized from 1988 through 1995, while the anime aired in 2014-2015.
  • Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace is Ranpo Edogawa novels in 2015.
  • Black Jack:
    • Young Black Jack is Black Jack AS A BISHOUNEN IN THE 60s! (Note this one zigzags this trope by going backwards chronologically, but specifically changing the protagonist to make it marketable by the 2015 trend of female Fanservice.)
    • The series of the late 90's already used this trope, being set in these years and using technology to match like the internet, smartphones, computers, etc. i.e., a case involves two ill boys lying to each other about their accomplishments, which they did through letters in the original and through e-mails in the 90's series.
  • The Wandering Son anime changes the story from the mid-to-late 2000s to the early 2010s. It's not that noticeable besides cellphones being more common and some technology changes. For example, Nitori and Mako recording their voices using a tapeplayer is changed to them recording their voices on their cellphones.
  • The New Adventures of Gigantor takes place in the early 21st century while the original takes place shortly after World War II.
  • The Sgt. Frog anime updated the manga's setting from 1999 to 2004. And the English dub of the anime updated it from 2004 to 2009. Notably, this changes Angol Mois' time for waking up from right on schedule to five to ten years late.
  • To celebrate the Case Closed anime's 20th anniversary, there was an one-hour anime special re-telling the first episodes. It included some changes to reflect the actual times, like Sherry (the still-not-shrunk Ai Haibara) using a very modern computer to analyze the effects of the Fountain of Youth drug or Gin taking pictures with a smartphone rather than an actual photo camera.
  • The Laughing Salesman second anime adaptation, Laughing Salesman NEW, is set around 2015 note  as the original adaptation didn't have computers or smartphones. NEW also retells some of the episodes from the original and places them in a modern setting with some changes.
  • Durarara!!: The original light novels are set in the early 2000s, when the first few novels were published. The anime updates the setting to the early 2010s.
  • Devilman: The manga takes place in the 1970s, while DEVILMAN crybaby, one of the more faithful adaptations, updates the setting to 2018. And as a cautionary tale of war and man's capacity for cruelty, it still resonates just as strongly.
  • The Banana Fish anime takes place in The New '10s rather than 1985 when the manga began.
  • Minor example in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Reflection, which takes place about 15 months later than Gears of Destiny did. Of course, the movie takes place within an already established timeline, so they could only move it so far forwards.
  • Manga Romeo and Juliet is Romeo and Juliet set in 2000s JAPAN!
  • The Japanese novel Run with the Wind was published in 2006. The 2018-9 anime adaptation is appropriately set much later and incorporates the use of modern technology into the story, such as using mobile phones to video-call each other and the creation of their internet homepage.
  • The F-Zero games take place in the 2500s but F-Zero: GP Legend takes place in 2201.
  • Pokémon: The Series hints at this by Pokémon Journeys: The Series, where Ash is given a smartphone to double as his Pokédex. Before then, calls were usually done at Pokemon Centers and telephone booths. This is lampshaded by Team Rocket, who are shocked to learn that Goh has no clue what a telephone booth is despite being the same age as Ash when he started his Pokémon journey back in 1997.
  • Digimon Adventure: (2020) updates the setting to 2020 instead of 1999, which means smartphones are everywhere and Izzy's signature laptop now doubles as a tablet.
  • The Wonderful Galaxy of Oz is set in the mid-21st century instead of in the early 20th century.
  • Tokyo Godfathers is John Ford's 3 Godfathers relocated to modern-day downtown Tokyo, with three homeless people replacing the Western outlaws.
  • The original Japanese edition of AKIRA sets the date of Tokyo's destruction to December 2, 1982, which happens to be the date in which the manga itself made its debut on Weekly Young Magazine. In the English adaptations this was moved to 1992 in order to keep the story futuristic. As a result, the actual date of the story was also moved from 2019 to 2029.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Downplayed. The 2022 remake of the series follows up on the story and seems to still be set in the 80s, however, the OP of the series is distinctively upgraded to reflect The New '20s, featuring things like Ataru using Tinder and Lum making TikTok videos, as well as dressed in modern fashion.

    Asian Animation 
  • Hello Jadoo: The original manhwa was set somewhere between the year 1978-1980. The animation is apparently set in a more modern time since a computer (though not an advanced looking model) can be seen in the opening.

    Comic Books 
  • Ultimate Marvel imprint is early(ish) Marvel Comics in the '00s. Earlier Marvel Adventures comics (formerly known as Marvel Age) were the same thing, only child-friendly, and they directly adapted older Marvel comics.
  • 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 most of the changes to the world would have been at least just barely understandable), and the Captain America: Man Out of Time miniseries for a perfect example of this trope.)
    • DC and Marvel update their universes gradually since they've been publishing comics continuously for decades, and because the Marvel Universe doesn't reboot as often its continuity is maintained in Broad Strokes, sometimes resulting in modern stories where characters recall events from issues written in the 1960s. It's generally accepted by readers that most of the stories from both companies take place during the time they were written, unless noted otherwise.
  • Jeff Lemire's The Nobody is The Invisible Man transplanted to The '90s.
  • The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios) comic is a Broad Strokes adaptation of the original TV show, but with the setting changed from the early 90s to 2015.
  • Each Tintin book is set in the year it was first published, despite the title character not aging 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.
  • Little Orphan Annie had a reboot in the early 2010s that updated the series to taking place in modern times.
  • Jem and the Holograms (IDW) is a reboot of the very 80s Jem that takes place in the 2010s (particularly 2015 at the start).
  • Archie Comics uses Comic-Book Time, however the 2015 reboot modernizes the series in a way even the newer 'classic universe' comics don't.
  • Tamara Drewe is Far from the Madding Crowd at a writer's retreat.
  • By the same author, Gemma Bovery is Madame Bovary with a British ex-pat in modern France.
  • Vertigo Comics' Greek Street was Classical Mythology in modern London.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • The Toll of the Sea is a silent movie adaptation of Madame Butterfly, which is set in early 1900s Japan. The film moves it to the 1920s and relocates it to China.
  • The War of the Worlds is particularly prone to this in adaptations, with the 1938 radio play, the 1953 film, the 1980s TV series, the 2005 film by Steven Spielberg and the 2019 TV series 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 2007 film adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia changed the film from taking place post-The Vietnam War to being in contemporary times. This caused a lot of the film to be changed in order to fit 2000s standards. For example, Jesse's living conditions are changed, Leslie's design was revamped completely because her original look wasn't that "weird" anymore, Jesse was no longer Mistaken for Gay by his parents for being an artist, and a lot of the Values Dissonance was removed or edited. Despite the plot and character changes, the slang is still dated, someone forgot to tell the guy in charge of getting a school bus for the movie that it wasn't in The '70s anymore, and a few odd elements don't match well in a modern-day setting (Jesse's teacher going on a trip with him alone, Leslie's parents letting her run around in the woods unsupervised, the way Janice's abusive dad is glossed over, etc). Word of God is that they were going for a timeless feel, and as such, the movie doesn't have much that would date it to the 2000s.
  • Casino Royale (2006) takes place in The New '10s instead of during the Cold War. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the use of Texas hold 'em instead of baccarat due to the rise in popularity of poker at the time. It also helps that Texas hold 'em is a simpler game, more skill-based, and more directly competitive.
  • The Bourne Series necessitated major changes to the plot of the original books, which were written in the 1970s, since the Ripped from the Headlines villains of the books were no longer relevant in the 2000s (one 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 Ogilvy, 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 has Tony Stark kidnapped by an Afghan terrorist group instead of the Viet Cong, while the Fantastic Four reboot has the characters gaining their powers in 2015 rather than during the Cold War.
    • The Spider-Man Trilogy is heavily inspired by the original Lee/Ditko run and stays true to the campy Silver Age tone of those comics, except instead of being set in the 1960s, it's the early-to-mid 2000s.
      • The Spider-Man films update the technology but also address the changes in society since the initial publication of its source material, specifically in the way they handle Peter Parker; since being geeky isn't stigmatized like it was in the 1960s, the films (outside of the Spider-Man Trilogy since nerdiness still wasn't in the mainstream at the time) have changed Peter's social status accordingly, with The Amazing Spider-Man, which is set in 2012, initially portraying him as a moody, cool loner to retain his original misfit depiction from the comics, while Spider-Man: Homecoming, set in the late 2010s, mostly eschews the misfit thing entirely, portraying him as an easygoing kid who doesn't have as much trouble interacting with his peers and is even respected and valued for his smarts (as seen with his participation in the academic decathlon). Likewise, Flash Thompson goes from being a Jerk Jock who beats Peter Parker up, to an Academic Alpha Bitch who still bullies him, just not in a way that involves violence or physical strength. Another change to the setting is that Peter's school, and New York itself, is much more racially diverse than the nearly all-white Monochrome Casting of the classic comics, and instead of the Daily Bugle newspaper, J. Jonah Jameson spreads his anti-Spider-Man propaganda through a controversial news site, TheDailyBugle.Net.
  • 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 analog is producing a live TV adaptation of the original A Christmas Carol, yet clearly misses the point until it happens to him.
  • Spirited (2022) is a version of A Christmas Carol set in the modern day, albeit with the main difference being the latter is a musical.
  • This used to be commonplace for Sherlock Holmes movies. For instance, only the first two of the Rathbone/Bruce series in the 1930s-1940s (the 20th Century Fox ones) took place in the Victorian era, with the twelve Universal films ("The Baker Street Dozen") set firmly in World War II and later the post-war era.
  • Carrie is set in the '70s but received two remakes that did this.
    • Carrie (2002) is a Made-for-TV Movie that updates it to 2002, with the teen characters using cell phones and emails to communicate. Carrie uses the internet to research her powers, rather than books in the library, the testimonials from Carrie's peers are filmed with video cameras rather than transcribed from tape recorders. Additionally, the film adds a small detail where the culprits who killed the pigs get busted with CCTV footage.
    • Carrie (2013) addresses cyberbullying, with Chris recording a video of Carrie's traumatic first period and later playing it at the prom — the video later being used to discredit Chris's father's attempted lawsuit. It's also said that social services stepped in to stop Margaret from home-schooling Carrie.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: 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".)
  • 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 1970s to the Turn of the Millennium.
  • The two Allan Quatermain films with Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone moved Quatermain forward to the World War I era, not the 1880s and earlier setting of the H. Rider Haggard novels.
  • Phantom of the Paradise is The Phantom of the Opera and Faust in The '70s.
  • The Lair of the White Worm was an old Bram Stoker novel updated to modern-day for the film adaptation.
  • The A-Team is an adaptation of the original series with Iraq veterans.
  • The 1998 film version 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.
  • 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 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 1930s. 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.
  • Cast Away is Robinson Crusoe in the mid-late 1990s with a volleyball as Friday.
  • You've Got Mail is The Shop Around the Corner in modern-day America. (It's even given an Inspiration Nod with the name of Meg Ryan's bookstore.)
  • The Live-Action Adaptation of Dudley Do-Right was updated to The '90s.
  • Weird Science was adapted from a 1950s comic book story and updated for The '80s' home computer age.
  • Annie (2014) is set in The Present Day rather than The '30s, averting the Politically Correct History of Annie (1999). This produces several other changes, such as Miss Hannigan running a foster home instead of an orphanage.
  • D-Day was a remake of Commando with the setting changed from 1985 to 2008. As such, some scenes were changed around, for instance a scene in the original where a henchman is desperately looking for a pay phone was swapped to a water park so the remake's henchman was in swimming trunks and doesn't have a phone on him.
  • 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 the then-present day.
  • The 2001 Made-for-TV Movie Murder on the Orient Express is the original novel transplanted to the Turn of the Millennium.
  • Matilda is the original novel transplanted to 1990s America. Miss Trunchbull, however, remains British.
  • The Children's Hour is subtle in its update from the 1930s to the early 1960s. The major difference is that television exists.
  • Jem and the Holograms (2015) is a very loose adaptation of the 1980s Jem cartoon taking place in the 2010s.
  • Apocalypse Now is a loose adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, which is set during the Scramble for Africa period in the Congo, showing the savageries carried out in the name of imperialism. The film updates this setting to The Vietnam War when the U.S. intervened in Southeast Asia, showing that War Is Hell.
  • The 2004 adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate is set in the time period during and after the first Gulf War, as opposed to the original Korean War setting.
  • A 1998 Made-for-TV Movie of Through the Looking-Glass on Channel 4 had a contemporary setting, although the nature of Looking Glass Land is such that this was only obvious in the Framing Story (where Kate Beckinsdale's Alice is a grown woman reading Through the Looking-Glass to her daughter) and the costuming decisions.
  • Inverted in Mary Poppins, which moves the story back in time from the 1930s to the 1910s. Mary Poppins Returns takes place 20 years after the first movie, meaning the stories it adapts actually take place in the same decade featured in the books.
  • She (1965) updates the story from "18—" to 1918 and makes the heroes a group of recently-demobbed British soldiers.
  • Not that it matters much (since the updated setting is destroyed), but in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Arthur is from an era of videophones rather than one when people "still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea".
  • Inverted with Blood of Beasts, which is Beauty and the Beast in Norse times.
  • Ivansxtc is a loose adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel The Death of Ivan Ilych. The original was set in 19th century Imperial Russia, the film is set in 21st century Hollywood.
  • Wonder Woman (2017) inverts this, changing the setting from World War II to World War I.
  • The original book It, written in 1986, has "The Losers Club" meeting in 1957 as teenagers, then reuniting in 1984 as adults. It (2017) has them meeting as teenagers in 1988, with a Sequel Hook at the end identifying the movie as It: Chapter One. Considering the entity "It" is supposed to awaken every 27 years, It: Chapter Two takes place in 2015.
  • Harry Potter takes place in the '90s, but the film adaptations ignore this and set them in the years they were made. For example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is set in 2000-2001. It becomes noticeable from the third film onwards, in which the fashions are those of the early 2000s rather than the '90s, Mr. Weasley is fascinated by an Oyster Card reader (established in 2003), and the Millennium Bridge features in the sixth film.
  • The Magnificent Trio is a very loose adaptation of Hideo Gosha's Three Outlaw Samurai, but the setting has been updated from feudal Japan to Ming Dynasty China.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was set in the '90s. The Continuity Reboot Power Rangers (2017) sets it in The New '10s.
  • The Paddington Bear books were written in the 1950s and '60s. Paddington (2014) is set in the modern day, although it leaves the exact time period vague. The biggest change involves Mrs. Bird; she's a live-in housekeeper in the books. Naturally not likely for a modern middle-class English family, so she's said to be a relative.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer is based on a book that was written in the 1970s, but the film takes place in the late '90s... not that this is the only difference.
  • Bride and Prejudice is naturally Jane Austen's novel in modern-day India. The Culture Clash between the Bennets and Bingleys is achieved by making the Bennets Indian, while the Bingleys are second-generation Indians in England. Darcy becomes an American WASP.
  • It's a testimony to how long ethnic Russians have been fighting the peoples of the Caucasus that Prisoner of the Mountains, set in the 1990s First Chechen War, is actually an adaptation of a 120-year-old Leo Tolstoy short story, "Prisoners of the Caucasus".
  • Both adaptations of Red Dragon — 1986's Manhunter and 2002's... erm... Red Dragon — update the story from 1979 to an ambiguous point in the mid-'80s. In the case of Manhunter, this was simply a case of making the plot more contemporary, though not without the minor anachronism of Dolarhyde still seeking out his victims from the 8mm and 16mm home movies he develops for them, which revolved around a method of technology that was quickly rendered obsolete by the rise of camcorders around the same time. In the 2002 film, the change in setting is more to preserve continuity with the 1991 film adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs, which itself also changes the setting to 1990, the intended year of its release before it got pushed back in favor of Dances with Wolves (the book version of Lambs never specifies when it's set but is quietly implied to take place in or just before its publication year of 1988). The 2002 film also better updates the story to fit the new setting by changing the circumstances of Dolarhyde's job so that he now edits families' camcorder recordings onto a single tape.
  • A Little Princess is set during Victorian England. A Little Princess (1995) sets it in New York during World War I. As a result, the reason Sara's father leaves her with Miss Minchin is to fight in the war. Becky in the book is a Victorian-era cockney maid but becomes an African-American slave instead.
  • Who Censored Roger Rabbit? takes place in a Retro Universe version of The '80s (when the book was published), however, its 1988 film adaptation inverts this trope by placing it in The '40s.
  • Pan takes place during World War II as opposed to the original play and book's Edwardian setting. As this is an origin story for Peter, those events took place in Victorian times.
  • Ebenezer (1998) transplants A Christmas Carol to the Canadian frontier.
  • Summer Camp Nightmare adapts The Butterfly Revolution to take place in The '80s, complete with music and technology from that era.
  • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, in addition to being an Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation, is set in the present day with Dorothy as a would-be pop star, a nightclub called Poppyfields, the Wizard as a Hollywood effects guy, and so on.
  • An American Christmas Carol transplants the setting from 1843 London to Depression-era America.
  • All the Troubles of the World: References to Baltimore and DC have been removed, creating a more timeless story that would translate better to other areas.
  • Whilst the Mortal Engines books were implied to take place roughly 10000 years or more from the present day, comments from the film adaptation's production designer place the movie at approximately 1700 years from now.
  • Pet Sematary (2019) has Gage and Ellie watch an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants instead of The Muppet Show.
  • William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet does Romeo and Juliet in the modern day... with guns.
  • About a Boy's literary counterpart is set in the 1990s, but the film adaptation is in the 2000s. This majorly changes the last part, which in the book deals with Kurt Cobain's suicide.
  • A 2000 adaptation of Hamlet by Michael Almereyda updates the Shakespeare play to the year 2000, with it now concerning a business empire.
  • Inverted in Dumbo (2019). The original animated film was made and set in the 1940s (there's even a brief gag referencing World War II), but the live-action remake takes place in the 1920s.
  • Shortcut to Happiness is a setting update of The Devil and Daniel Webster, with the action moved to the publishing world of modern-day Manhattan.
  • The Who's Tommy is set in pre-WWI, but the movie changes it to post-WWII — explicitly shown by the song "1921", being changed into "1951".
  • King Ralph was loosely based on a novel by Emlyn Williams titled Headlong. The book took place during the 1930s, while the movie took place during its time of release in 1991.
  • The Fly (1986), being an In Name Only adaptation of the 1957 short story anyway, is set in the then-present day of 1986, with many of the various technological, scientific, and social advances that happened in the interim proving key to the plot. For instance, the main character is genetically fused with an insect in a Teleporter Accident rather than having his head and hand proportionally swapped with it, and his love interest's videotapes of his work come in handy at one point. When the film was given a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation into an opera in 2008, the trope was inverted in its original Paris and Los Angeles stagings to reset the story in the 1950s, although the libretto is vague enough that it can be set in The Present Day without alterations (as a later staging in Germany did).
  • The original Cats musical is depicted as taking place contemporarily to the production (which means it was originally set in The '80s). The 2019 Cats film is set in the Genteel Interbellum Setting of the original poems.
  • Scarface (1983) upgrades Scarface (1932) swapping The Roaring '20s Chicago and The Mafia with early 1980s Miami and Cubans.
  • Roxanne is Cyrano de Bergerac relocated to small-town America in The '80s, with C. D. Bates (Cyrano) and Chris (Christian) as firemen.
  • The Italian Job (1969) has a British heist crew organized in London to pull off a caper in Turin. The Italian Job (2003) has an American heist crew pull off a caper in Venice only to be betrayed by one of their members. They follow him to Los Angeles to perform another caper out of revenge.
  • The 2002 film adaptation of Tuck Everlasting moves the setting from the book’s year 1880 to 1914 in order to make the movie closer to the present day. Among the changes included are the Fosters owning a Ford Model T, Winnie having to wear a corset (which was outdated by then) and going on a tour of the world. Unfortunately, this last-mentioned change is very problematic, as World War I was just around the corner...
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) moves the events of the original novel to the then-present day of the 1990s. Among other things, tech like radios, computers, and ceiling fans in use; the music used; Edward Douglas (Edward Prendick in the book) working for the UN; and (in an element shared with the 1977 film) going with genetic engineering for the creation of the hybrids.
  • Shredder Orpheus takes the Orpheus and Eurydice myth from Ancient Greece to a futuristic American dystopia with 1980s flair.
  • The 1978 film adaptation of The Big Sleep moves the setting from the 1940s to the present day.
  • Dark Heritage moves the action of The Lurking Fear to the Present Day (i.e., 1989) and changes the locale from Lovecraft Country to The Savage South.
  • Fire Island is a modern, gay retelling of Regency romance Pride and Prejudice.
    • The Bennet family is reimagined as a five-man friend group of gay men and their lesbian friend/mother figure Erin. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley are now Will and Charlie, rich guys who are staying in a huge house on Fire Island. The desire for Jane to marry Bingley translates to Howie wanting and getting a genuine connection with Charlie, even as Elizabeth analog Noah just wants Howie to get laid and get it over with.
    • The subplot of Lydia's defilement by Wickham becomes Luke getting a sex tape uploaded to the internet without his consent by Dex, which Darcy analog Will solves with his legal expertise rather than a Shotgun Wedding.
  • The Red Shoes was set in 19th-century Denmark. The 1948 film adaptation by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger moved the setting to post-WWII Europe.
  • From Les Visiteurs to its remake Just Visiting, the medieval part is changed from early 12th century France under Louis VI the Fat to late 12th century England under Henry the Second, and the modern-day part from early '90s France to the United States in the early 2000s.
  • Coriolanus changes the setting from Ancient Rome to the present, and evokes the Balkan wars without being specifically set during them.
  • Quasimodo d'El Paris is a comedic version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and moves the story from the 15th century to The '90s.
  • Both film adaptations of Leo Tolstoy's The Death Of Ivan Ilyich move the setting from 19th century Russia to the early 1950s and move the location to match where they were produced. The first, Ikiru, takes place in Tokyo, while the second, Living, takes place in London.
  • Inverted with The Blue Lagoon (1949), which constitutes a notable departure from its source material, presenting a distinct alteration in a temporal context. While the original literary work emerged and unfolded within the contemporary milieu of The Edwardian Era, encompassing an extensive timeframe spanning from 1896 to 1907, the film uniquely transposes the chronology by over five decades. Specifically, the movie relocates the narrative's temporal scope to a duration of eleven years commencing from 1841 and culminating in 1852. This deliberate temporal shift marks a departure from the temporal milieu of the original novel.

  • Stephen Fry's The Star's Tennis Balls is The Count of Monte Cristo IN 1990s BRITAIN!
  • James Joyce's Ulysses is The Odyssey IN DUBLIN WITH ORDINARY PEOPLE! And REALLY CONFUSING!
    • And Jacob M. Appel's The Biology of Luck is Ulysses IN NEW YORK!
  • Harry Turtledove's Confederacy series Timeline-191 is The Great Patriotic War IN AMERICA! Featherstone is Hitler, Houston/Kentucky is Austria/Sudetenland, Morrell is Rommel, and Pittsburgh is Stalingrad.
  • Jane's Smiley's A Thousand Acres is King Lear ON A FARM IN IOWA! FROM GONERIL'S POV!
  • The Green Mile, according to Word of God, is the story of the execution of Jesus IN A 1930s PRISON
  • Reginald Hill's Pictures of Perfection is Pride and Prejudice Oop North IN THE 1990s! AS A GAY ROMANCE!
  • Will Self's Dorian is The Picture of Dorian Gray IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
  • Older Than Print: The Middle English poem Sir Orfeo is Orpheus and Euridyce IN MEDIEVAL WESSEX, WITH THE KING OF The Fair Folk INSTEAD OF THE GOD OF THE DEAD AND A HAPPY ENDING!
  • The Austen Project is all Jane Austen's novels (but not Lady Susan or Love and Freindship) IN 21st CENTURY BRITAIN! Starting with Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, which is Sense and Sensibility WITH SOCIAL MEDIA!
  • Looking Glass Girl by Cathy Cassidy is Alice's Adventures in Wonderland WITH ALICE IN A COMA FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT (OR WAS IT?) AT A SLEEPOVER! Written for the 150th anniversary of Alice.
  • Conversational Troping in "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" by Jorge Luis Borges, which declares Menard's identical-to-the-original version of Don Quixote to be a far superior reinterpretation than "those parasitic books which situate Christ on a boulevard, Hamlet on La Cannebière or Don Quixote on Wall Street".
  • Area 51: The 2012 e-book version of the first book updated references to reflect time passing since it was published in 1997. Turcotte reference 9/11, and Von Seeckt no longer states that his birth year was 1918-while fairly plausible then as 79, he'd be 94 when the e-book came out. Of course, the reference to joining the SS in 1940 remains, so if he'd been younger it raises questions. There's only so far a character's age can be pushed (yet the next book says his birth year is 1918 anyway).
  • A rare example of an author doing this with her own work, Lois Duncan started writing in the 50s and her books were usually Unintentional Period Pieces. As they were aimed at the YA demographic, she opted to give most of her stories an update in the 2000s - changing the slang and fashions for the most part. She incorporated modern technology, while still finding reasons for characters not to have anything that would have broken the plot.
  • Minor example with Goosebumps, when the series was re-released. The Time Travel book Cuckoo Clock of Doom originally took place in 1995, while the protagonist's younger sister was born in 1988. The newest edition changes those dates to 2015 and 2008, respectively. Nothing else is changed, though, so for some reason only one of the family's computers has internet access.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Moon Lovers is Scarlet Heart IN GORYEO-ERA KOREA!
  • Mr. Queen is Go Princess Go IN JOSEON-ERA KOREA!
  • Miss S is Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries IN 1940S CHINA!
  • Shakespea Re-Told [sic] is 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 the Doctor in Doctor Who.
  • A lot of Agatha Christie adaptations reverse this trope — Christie kept publishing into the late 'sixties, and in many of her stories describes contemporary clothes, etc., but most adaptations have a 1930s design sensibility.
  • Too Many Suspects, the pilot film for Ellery Queen, is set in 1946 despite being based on a 1965 novel — The Fourth Side of the Triangle—set roughly in the present. While both book and movie have a solution deriving from the victim's TV set, it's more of a novelty in the latter that she even has one.
  • 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!
  • Spoofed in a Channel 4 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.
  • 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...
  • Cosmo and George is Mork & Mindy IN SINGAPORE! WITH MINDY AS AN INDIAN GUY!
  • There's a BBC Macbeth, made in 1997 and starring James Frain and Ray Winstone, set in A PRESENT DAY SLUM!
  • SeaQuest DSV is 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!
  • Chōjinki Metalder is Android Kikaider SET IN THE The '80s WITH A World War II BACKDROP!
  • Channel 4 schools programmes about Shakespeare often did this: Julius Caesar 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.
  • Sherlock is Sherlock Holmes IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY!
  • Elementary, one-ups Sherlock by moving the action to New York and making Watson an Asian woman.
  • Daimajin Kanon is a remake of the original film, but with the setting changed to The New '10s.
  • 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.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon still takes place in Tokyo, but in 2004 rather than 1992 like in the original manga. As such, the technology and fashion are updated accordingly, with the communicators and Disguise Pen replaced by magical cell phones that served the same purpose. The original anime had the Local Hangout as an arcade, which had fallen from popularity in the 2000s, so Crown becomes a karaoke parlor, with the girls getting mission briefings from a private room.
  • With Law & Order: UK's episodes being based off of episodes from the original series, not only did the dialogue need to be "translated" into British English, but it also needed to be updated to reflect modern times; technology, cultural references, et cetera.
  • Smallville is the original Superboy comics with a Hotter and Sexier tone and the setting changed from the 1950s to the Turn of the Millennium (The Present Day when the series was made).
  • In-Universe example in the Red Dwarf episode "Better Than Life":
    Lister: They've remade Casablanca! Philistines! How can you remake Casablanca? The one starring Myra Binglebat and Peter Beardsley was definitive!
    Holly: I saw that. Knockout. "Of all the space-bars in all the worlds, you had to rematerialise in mine."
  • Selfie is My Fair Lady set in a modern-day pharmaceutical company. Lowly flower girl Eliza Doolittle is now Eliza Dooley, a self-absorbed Plucky Office Girl obsessed with social media, while Prof. Henry Higgins becomes PR spin doctor Henry Higgs, who takes it upon himself to make Eliza into a better person.
  • Only a borderline example as the original is very vague about when it's set, but The Day of the Triffids (1981) moves the setting from "20 Minutes into the Future from the perspective of The '50s" to Next Sunday A.D. in The '80s. The Day of the Triffids (2009) might also count, although it also diverges so far from the source material that it's probably beyond the remit of this trope.
  • The Father Brown stories were written and set between 1913 and the mid thirties. The 2013 TV series is set in the fifties.
  • Paul Merton in Galton and Simpson's... was Hancock's Half Hour and Comedy Playhouse IN THE 1990s!
  • When the character of Harry Bosch debuted in novel The Black Echo in 1992, he was a Vietnam veteran. 23 years later, when the TV series Bosch premiered, Harry Bosch was a Gulf War and Iraq War veteran.
  • Agatha Christie's The Clocks is originally set during the Cold War. The ITV adaptation moved the year back to a pre-WWII era to keep the setting in line with the previous episodes, which were explicitly set in the 1930s. Likewise Third Girl; the central concept of the 1966 novel was "Hercule Poirot meets Swinging London", but the TV version is, again, set in the thirties.
  • The BBC adaptations of the later Miss Marple novels. At Bertram's Hotel (1965) is an interesting example; the hotel is specifically described in the book as determinedly old-fashioned, so moving the setting back a few decades doesn't require altering it much, it just becomes somewhat less old-fashioned in context.
  • The Arrowverse series are decades-old comic books adapted for The New '10s. Smartphones are ever-present (Supergirl even somehow manages to carry one around in her suit), popular brand names are mentioned (such as Barry having to call for an Uber when his powers fail). Social media is also key, and Iris West now publishes online articles instead of physical newspapers. Even the nature of Barry's powers is changed from Lightning Can Do Anything to a Magical Particle Accelerator.
  • The Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe series are updates of comics that premiered decades ago. The shows that faced the most challenges with this were Daredevil (2015) and Iron Fist (2017). Daredevil had the problem of taking place in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, which at the time the comics were written was a Wretched Hive full of crime and gang violence; however, today the neighborhood has long since gentrified. The show explained the crime as being due to the events of The Avengers (2012) destroying Hell's Kitchen and causing an increase in crime. Iron Fist faced this at a more meta level, as major criticism even before the show came out was the Mighty Whitey plot (some critics even calling for a Race Lift to an actual Asian), with some critics noting that this premise was acceptable when the comic first came out in the '70s, but now seems dated.
  • The Handmaid's Tale updates the 1985 book to the 21st century, although it's unclear if it's an alternate present, Next Sunday A.D., or 20 Minutes into the Future. Modern technology is mentioned, for example, Offred (then known as June) meets her husband Luke when Moira randomly stops him on the street to ask what he thinks of Offred's Tinder profile.
  • Sons of Anarchy is deliberately structured as Hamlet as an outlaw motorcycle gang!
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Season 1 was set in World War II with Wonder Woman posing as Yeoman Diana Prince to get leads on where she was needed. Season 2 and 3 were in the 1970s and focused on Agent Diana Prince fighting Mad Scientists, Corrupt Corporate Executives, and other contemporary foes.
  • The PBS special An Empire of Reason updates the setting of the time the Constitution was signed to the present day — in a sense, at least. Despite the modern-dress updates to the characters that appear, and the format resembling segments from television broadcasts of the aptly-named fictional Continental Television Network (CTN for short), the setting remains the late 1780's, with present-day public affairs personalities such as celebrated anchorman Walter Cronkite, ABC World News This Morning anchorman Forrest Sawyer, NBC journalist John Chancellor, NBC weatherman Al Roker, NewsHour host Robin MacNeil, NBC chief congressional correspondent Andrea Mitchell, syndicated talk show host Phil Donahue, and Firing Line host William Buckley interacting with period players such as Alexander Hamilton and Robert Livingston.
  • ITV's A Christmas Carol, made in 2000, is A Christmas Carol WITH ROSS KEMP AS A LONDON GANGSTER SCROOGE!
  • James Garner described his character in The Rockford Files as a modern-day Bret Maverick, echoing his role in the latter.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a Period Piece set in The '60s. In contrast, its live-action adaptation is set in a Retro Universe.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): Inverted in "Sandkings". While the 1980 novelette of the same name by George R. R. Martin takes place on the planet Baldur hundreds of years in the future, the adaptation takes place in the United States in the present.
  • In His Dark Materials, Lyra's world is the same Retro Universe as the books, but Will's world has been updated from 1995 to 2019, with the first thing Lord Boreal does on crossing over being to check his smartphone.
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: The original novel and the movie are set (initially) in The Edwardian Era. The series is set in the (then) present day: the late 1960s.
  • The Vampyr: A Soap Opera is Der Vampyr WITH YUPPIES! AND SEX!
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "A Message from Charity", Peter Wood's native time is 1985. In the short story by William M. Lee, it is 1965.
    • "Night of the Meek" takes place on Christmas Eve 1985 and features an unflattering depiction of yuppies in the store owner Mr. Dundee. The original episode takes place on Christmas Eve 1960.
    • "Devil's Alphabet" takes place from November 2, 1876 to November 2, 1898. The short story "The Everlasting Club" by Arthur Gray is an account of the activities of the titular society from 1738 to 1766.
    • In "Lost and Found", Jenny Templeton is visited by two 22nd Century time travelers in her dorm room in 1986. In the short story by Phyllis Eisenstein, Jenny's native time is 1979.
    • Inverted in "The Cold Equations", which takes place in the late 2050s. The short story by Tom Godwin takes place in 2178.
  • Good Omens was set around the late 1980s/very early 1990s (being published in 1990) while Good Omens (2019) clearly takes place in 2019. The ubiquity of computers in The New '10s makes Newt Pulsifer’s Walking Techbane tendencies an even bigger problem. The show also has to justify Crowley using a cassette tape answering machine since it's too plot-important to be replaced by something more modern. A more subtle change is that in the original book, the New Aquarian was a photocopied amateur zine, but in 2019, that would be a website, which you can't lend to someone, so it's a glossy Fortean Times type publication.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): While the literature franchise takes place in whichever years the books were published (the late 1980s to early 2000s), the Netflix adaptation is set in 2020 and so includes a lot of modern updates, such as the girls owning mobile phones and the frequent use of the internet.
  • Hannibal takes the plot and lore of the Hannibal Lecter franchise and updates it for the first half of the 2010s, which results in the show's take on Red Dragon being far removed from both the original book and the film adaptations as a result of the newer technology. Among other things, Freddie Lounds now writes for a blogging site instead of a tabloid paper, smartphones are ever-present, and Dolarhyde is now established to be one of the only people left who still knows how to develop film, thanks to it being an even more specialized field in 2015 than in 1986.
  • Cursed, a retelling of the Arthurian legend, though it's more noticeable to history buffs. Most Arthurian adaptations (unless they go full-scale epic fantasy and take place in another world) seem to take place in the 5th or 6th centuries (the historical figure or figures that may have inspired the Arthurian legends is believed to have lived around this time and fought the Saxons). Cursed appears to take place a few centuries later, after the Viking raids began in Britain in the late 8th century but before the Norman conquest in 1066. As such, there are several Viking characters who play large roles in the story, such as Cumber and the Red Spear, who either have no counterpart in the legends or deviate greatly from the source material. Uther is also described here as being the king of England; the Kingdom of England was founded in 927 AD by King Aethelstan, which would put the time period in the 10th century.
  • When Michael Connelly debuted the Harry Bosch novels with The Black Echo in 1992, Bosch was a Vietnam veteran. For the Amazon adaptation of Bosch that debuted in 2015, the series has been moved up 20 years, and Harry is now a Gulf War veteran who re-enlisted after 9/11. In both versions, Bosch is a Tunnel Rat.
    • The novel Angels Flight was published in 1999, and concerns the death of Howard Elias, a civil rights attorney who is about to bring a lawsuit to trial against several LAPD detectives who tortured a man wrongly suspected of being involved in the kidnapping and murder of a young girl. When the novel was adapted for the fourth season of Bosch in 2018, police departments in the United States were falling under public scrutiny for several high-profile police-on-black shootings. This tension was thus written into the season, with a subplot involving a Black Lives Matter protest going on outside the police station where the investigators for the Elias murder are working.
  • The Worst Witch received two; the first was an ITV series in 1998 that updated the book's 1970s setting to the present day, even inserting an original character who has the most up-to-date technology and is constantly at odds with the traditional Miss Hardbroom. The second was a CBBC/Netflix series, now incorporating things like iPads and other 2010s media.
  • Sparkhouse is Wuthering Heights in mid-21th century Yorkshire.
  • The modern day stories in the Netflix adaptation of The Sandman (2022) take place in the 2020s as opposed to the late 1980s-early 1990s, the time period the comic book was first published in.
  • She's Gotta Have It: The series starts out in 2016, thirty years on from the original film. Gentrification in Fort Greene is a recurring theme, while modern events like the election of Donald Trump or Black Lives Matter are featured too. Additionally, Nola Darling is now pansexual, and a woman is among one of her many lovers.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): The past scenes in the book begin in 1791, but in the series, they start in 1910. The show also invents a second interview between Daniel Molloy and Louis de Pointe du Lac, so the Framing Device is set in 2022 (the COVID-19 Pandemic is ongoing In-Universe) instead of 1973.
  • The Last of Us (2023): In the original game, the Cordyceps outbreak took place in 2013 and was originated in South America with the main events occurring twenty years later in 2033. In the show, the first outbreak is moved back ten years to 2003 in Jakarta, Indonesia, such that the main events will occur in 2023 instead.
  • All of Us Are Dead: The webtoon happens in 2011, while the show happens in 2021. Therefore, characters make mentions of events like the COVID-19 Pandemic and Train to Busan.
  • The Power (2023): The original book came out in 2016. In the series, the COVID pandemic was mentioned as having occurred, setting it past 2019 and probably into the present day now.
  • The ABC miniseries The Beautiful Lie: Anna Karenina IN SUBURBAN AUSTRALIA CIRCA 2015, starring Sarah Snook, Rodger Corser, Benedict Samuel and Sophie Lowe.

  • 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.
  • !HERO: The Rock Opera sets the story of Jesus' first coming in an alternate early 21st century with a One World Order known as I.C.O.N. subbing for the Roman Empire and New York City as the setting's metaphorical Jerusalem.
  • Fall Out Boy's cover of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" covers events from 1989 (when the original song was released) to 2023 (when the cover was released).

    Music Videos 


  • The BBC Radio 4 series of Afternoon Plays New Metamorphoses was Ovid's Metamorphoses IN MODERN BRITAIN!
  • The BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour drama The Way We Live Right Now, was Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now RIGHT NOW!
  • The Green Hornet was The Lone Ranger IN MODERN TIMES!
  • The BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play The Patience of Mr Job was the Biblical story of Job IN MODERN AFRICA! WITH "FAITH" IN FREE-MARKET ECONOMICS INSTEAD OF GOD!
  • The BBC Radio 4 comedy series Brian Gulliver's Travels is Gulliver's Travels WITH THE SATIRE UPDATED TO BE ABOUT MODERN BRITAIN!
  • The BBC Radio 4 series of Afternoon Plays (they like this trope) Arabian Afternoons is Arabian Nights IN THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST!
  • The BBC Radio 4 serial The Mumbai Chuzzlewits is Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens IN MODERN INDIA!
  • The BBC Radio 4 Stanley Baxter's Playhouse episode "Two Desperate Men" is "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry (1907) IN 1930s PERTHSHIRE!
  • The BBC Radio 4 comedy special The Twelfth Night Show was supposedly made by stitching together clips of various performances of Twelfth Night from the archives, including a Film Noir and a cheesy 80s musical called The Chick Wears Pants.
  • The BBC Radio 4 series of Afternoon Plays Fault Lines: Money, Sex and Blood is Les Rogugon-Macquart by Emile Zola IN MODERN BRITAIN! (The novel series was adapted more directly in the same slot as Emile Zola's Blood, Sex and Money. Both versions star Glenda Jackson.)
  • Radio 4 did a series of William Shakespeare plays like this, keeping the dialogue and changing the setting (for example, The Merchant of Venice set in London during the 2008 financial crisis). Being radio, this largely consisted of sound effects like mobile ringtones. They also kept the dialogue the same when it didn't really make sense (the aforementioned The Merchant of Venice kept all the Italian place names and talks about ducats rather than pounds), making it all seem rather pointless.
  • The 2021 Radio 4 adaptation of The Jungle Book is set in present day Mumbai, with all the animal characters turned into humans with Animal Motifs. Mo's adopted parents are members of a crime gang called the Wolves, Tiger Khan is a powerful politician, and so on.
  • Pleasant Green Universe: The Lovecraft Investigations subseries are setting updates of Cthulhu Mythos stories, from the perspective of a true crime podcast called The Mystery Machine.
  • Dead Ringers:
    • The BBC's habit of doing this is spoofed with one continuity announcer asking the audience if they've ever wondered what the Nativity would look like on a 70s council estate. "Me neither."
    • One sketch has a new version of Murder on the Orient Express which thanks to crippling rail strikes has become Murder on the Replacement Bus Service.
  • The Charles Paris Mysteries novels by Simon Brett began in 1975. The Audio Adaptation began in 2006, not in the same order, and with the setting updated to the time of recording. There's a bit of a a Mythology Gag on this in the 2023 adaptation of the second novel, set at the Edinburgh Fringe, where Paris claims that the last time he did the Fringe was in the seventies, with much discussion of how things have changed since then.

    Tabletop Games 
  • d20 Modern takes the basic rule system of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition and applies it to a modern setting. The base setting is strictly mundane things, but Shadow Chasers adds D&D monsters to the modern setting, while Urban Arcana is straight-up Urban Fantasy, allowing characters to learn spells and use magic items much like D&D.
  • Delta Green is Call of Cthulhu WITH SPECIAL FORCES! It doesn't make much difference.
    • Delta Green is receiving an overhauled edition, with specialized rules. Additionally, the game will update the setting from where it began in the 1990s to modern times; as the players are federal agents and federal law enforcement has changed dramatically since then.
  • 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.

     Stand Up Comedy 

  • In general, many Gilbert and Sullivan productions have extra/altered lines inserted into their songs to make them more relevant to a contemporary audience. One of the most popular examples is adding an extra verse to the Major General Song that pokes fun at whatever is currently newsworthy.
  • Pan was Peter Pan in the modern day, in nightclubs. And it was performed in an abandoned power station.
  • West Side Story was a musical that retold the story of Romeo and Juliet in 20th century Manhattan.
  • There are a bunch of examples of Shakespeare plays portrayed in an unconventional setting, but 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.
    • Avid to play the main role but not willing to blacken up, Patrick Stewart starred in Othello in an African state and with the races reversed.
    • 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 80s, at a tastless vacation resort.
    • These Paper Bullets! is Much Ado About Nothing in 60s London, with Benedick as the lead singer of a popular The Beatles spoof band, and Don John as their embittered former drummer.
  • Shakespeare pulled one himself; Hamlet is Amleth, but the protagonist is a prince, rather than a governor's son.
  • Miss Saigon is the Opera Madame Butterfly during the The Vietnam War (and with a more sympathetic male lead).
  • RENT is the Opera La Bohčme but in the late 80s, with AIDS and LGTBQ themes. In turn, the off-Broadway revival updates the setting to the "end of the millennium" (early 2000s).
  • 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 story of Jesus 20 Minutes into the Future!
  • Jesus Christ Superstar is the Crucifixion of Christ in whatever modern setting the director feel 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 1960s Scotland.
  • One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean is the Commedia dell'Arte play Servant of Two Masters in 1960s Brighton. With gangsters.
  • Sondheim's The Frogs is Aristophanes's The Frogs updated to the 20th or 21st century, with the shades of George Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare instead of Euripides and Aeschylus.
  • The Wiz is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the 1970s. Except for The Wiz Live, which seemed to be based in the early 20th century.
  • The musical version of School of Rock takes place in the early 2010s instead of being in the early 2000s like the film.
  • One English-language translation of Die Fledermaus, first produced by Opera Australia in 1997, moves the action from 1870s Vienna to Manhattan in The Roaring '20s.
  • The Green Pastures is a series of Bible vignettes (Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, etc) staged in modern-day (that is, the 1920s) Louisiana with an all-black cast.
  • Stupid F%&$ing Bird is The Seagull in the 21st century, with No Fourth Wall and lots of swearing.
  • The 2016 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire with Gillian Anderson keeps New Orleans as the setting but updates it to the post-Katrina present.
  • Shakespeare in the Park does an annual summer show of Julius Caesar with Jules as the current President of the United States of America!
  • The 2017 opera Fausto is Faust with Virtual Reality and artificial intelligence.
  • The Musical of Mrs. Doubtfire updates the setting from the pre-Internet '90s to The New '10s, with contemporary technologies such as Wi-Fi, PlayStation, Facebook, iPads, and Google Assistant, along with one of the kids mentioning Shrek at one point.
  • Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats is a 1931 book. The 1981 Cats musical updates it to The '80s.
  • Eric Idle starred in a made-for-TV version of The Mikado, updated to a 1930s English seaside resort.
  • Harlem Duet, written by Canadian playwright Djanet Sears, is a modern re-telling of the love story from Othello, and takes place in three settings: modern (late 1990s/early 00s) Harlem, a cotton plantation in 1860, and Harlem in 1928.
  • Some productions of L'Orfeo are set in contemporary times or the recent past, often with anachronistic clothing, sets, and instruments to enhance the timeless feel.
  • Some Orfeo ed Euridice productions are set in modern or semi-modern times, often replacing Orpheus's lyre with a guitar and mixing clothing from different eras.
  • Eurydice is implied to be set sometime in the 1950s rather than Ancient Greece.
  • Many adaptations of Orpheus in the Underworld place it in the modern day or close to it, with humorous additions like Mercury arriving on rollerskates and Juno displaying photos of Jupiter's many lovers.

    Video Games 
  • Bioshock is System Shock UNDERWATER, IN THE 1950S!
  • Age of Empires : Civilization + Warcraft IN A REAL, SPECIFIC TIME PERIOD !!!
  • Cossacks series is Age of Empires IN 17th/18th CENTURY EUROPE!
  • Jade Empire is Knights of the Old Republic In a World… THAT RESEMBLES ANCIENT CHINESE MYTH!
  • Fallout 3 has a lot of similarities with Bethesda's previous game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, both of which were made with the same game engine. Although the former is post-apocalyptic sci-fi and the latter is Medieval European Fantasy, the games are structured similarly. The main quest of both games involves the player starting in an area they need to escape from and find a certain character, with this character making a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat a major villain late in the story. Most indoor areas in both games function as either towns to restock supplies and sleep or as "dungeons" where the player fights enemies of a specific faction and finds loot. Each game also has a variety of skills that determine how good the player character is at nearly everything there is to do in the game, from talking to NPCs to using specific types of weapons.
  • Earthbound Beginnings is Dragon Quest SET IN THE 80S, WITH PSYCHIC POWERS!
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is essentially Call of Duty IN THE PRESENT DAY!
  • Heavenly Sword is God of War IN ANCIENT CHINA, WITH A GIRL!
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines is Castlevania IN THE 20TH CENTURY!
  • Armed Police Batrider is Battle Garegga IN A MORE MODERN SETTING AND WITH LESS BROWN!
  • The Konami arcade game M.I.A. (unrelated to the Chuck Norris movie of the same name) can be described as Rush 'n Attack/Green Beret IN VIETNAM.
  • Metal Gear Solid features the same premise and events as the first two Metal Gear games for the MSX2, but moves the setting to early 21st century Alaska.
  • Strikers 1999 (aka Strikers 1945 III) is Strikers 1945 IN 1999!
  • The SNK arcade game P.O.W. Prisoners of War is Double Dragon IN A PRISONERS' CAMP!
  • The obscure arcade game from Konami Combat School is Track & Field IN A MILITARY BOOT CAMP!
  • The Japanese PC-FX game Battle Heat is Fist of the North Star IN A EUROPEAN MEDIEVAL SETTING!
  • Pokémon takes place in a world parallel to our own world, with the setting usually being 20 Minutes in the Future to when the games are released. The remakes typically modernize the clothing and technology, though they keep the games place in the overall timeline stationary. For example, the remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire replace your player character's Nintendo Gamecube with a Wii U. However, it's still canonically concurrent with the remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue that were released just after the original Ruby and Sapphire. There are heavy implications that ORAS is in an Alternate Universe from the older FRLG continuity though.
  • The Batman: Arkham Series and Batman: The Telltale Series indulge in this a bit, which is especially noticeable since the 90s animated series, a touchstone for most modern Bat-fans, famously made Gotham an anachronistic hodgepodge of contemporary and early 20th century styles to evoke the early comics.
    • Arkham: Most noticeable in Origins, where Riddler employs cybercrime, Anarky resembles modern street protestors, and on and on.
    • Telltale: Instead of their more classic personae as gangsters, Two-Face and Penguin are reimagined as a borderline-fascist politician and a terrorist who spouts class warfare rhetoric, respectively.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown is X-COM: UFO Defense set fifteen years later.
  • Xenonauts is another adaption (this time spiritual) of X-COM: UFO Defense set in the late early 80s. This change have some gameplay implications: the starting aircrafts are much more short ranged and your soldiers starts with conventional Cold War firearms. However, this is compensanted by the widened roster of enemies. Early ufos are small fighters and light scouts, while the aliens are mostly non-combatants armed only with sidearms.
  • The original Japanese PC versions of Snatcher, which were released in 1988, had the Catastrophe (an event in which the 80% of the Eurasian population was destroyed) occur on June 6, 1991, and the present date of the game's story as December 2042. Later Japanese console ports tend to keep these dates as Zeerust Canon, but the English-localized Sega CD port released in 1994, changes all the dates in the story by five years, moving the Catastrophe to 1996 and the present year to 2047.
  • Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dreams Don't Dry, moves the setting of the Leisure Suit Larry games up to the 21st century, with Larry having to deal with modern culture, modern technology, and his utter refusal to accept that no one wears leisure suits anymore.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Urban Legends which last long enough will often see their details updated to fit the times. For example, the legend about the woman with spiders in her bouffant hairstyle began during the 1950s, when the Beehive Hairdo was popular. Thus, early versions portray the victim as a young fashionable woman, perhaps a High School student. As the years went by, later retellings changed her into an older woman with an outdated hairstyle. Once that stopped sounding credible, new variations were introduced, including one where the victim is a man with dreadlocks.


Video Example(s):


Richard III

In the opening of this retelling of the Shakespearean play -set in the mid 20th century- the titular Villain Protagnist carries out a ruthless attack while wearing a gas mask.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / VaderBreath

Media sources: