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"An island kingdom, a long unseen princess locked away, horse/reindeer playfulness, wild-scoundrel love interest... I swear to god this movie and Tangled started out as the same script."
CinemaSins, about Frozen

Sometimes rather than just a brief reference or homage to some other work of fiction, a work will actually be a full-blown recreation of something else's story. This is usually done in sitcoms, and likely a spoof to at least some degree.


Sub Tropes:

See also Homage, Foreign Remake, Fountain of Expies, Characteristic Trope, and Recycled In SPACE... sometimes with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.


Expect it to reference/parody the original's Signature Scenes.

Tropes Are Tools — a story can serve as a reference or re-mixed version of another one without just ripping it off. Clever parodies put a lot of their own creative thought in while still referencing the original.

Compare Parody Episode, Whole Costume Reference (the clothing version) and Recycled Script (internal recycling). May be a Twice-Told Tale. For when this is subverted, see Not His Sled. The opposite would be a Shallow Parody, which claims to be a parody but has almost no real references to either the plot or any other aspect of the target.


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    Comic Books 
  • The European western graphic novel series McCoy once did a remake of the movie Comanche Station called Mescalero Station. Everything in the movie was in the graphic novel, including the twist ending.
  • Batman: Son of the Demon takes the plot of On Her Majesty's Secret Service practically whole cloth and applies it to Batman. A hero allies with the head of a known criminal organization to stop a mutual enemy. The hero marries his criminal ally’s beautiful daughter as part of their pact (but also because he kind of wants to). Due to the machinations of the villain, the marriage quickly ends in tragedy.
  • "Leavetaking", a story in the Batman Black and White anthology series, reprises the parable of the Good Samaritan, with Batman in the role of the gravely injured man whom nobody will stop to help. In this updated version, the passersby include an African American teenager, an alcoholic, and a policeman who refuses to help because he doesn't want to deal with the paperwork he'd have to do. In the end, this being Gotham, there is no good samaritan, and Batman has to summon up his heroic willpower and drag himself to an emergency room.
  • X-Men Fairy Tales is a series of these, casting the X-Men in the role of characters from various fables. Followed up by Spider-Man Fairy Tales and Avengers Fairy Tales.
  • Sometimes in The Spirit Will Eisner would create new versions of fairy tales, set in the 1940s.
  • Górsky & Butch do a brief Matrix parody in their first book. In the third one, they do a more extended parody: Butch makes a Face–Heel Turn, joining the agents of Comix, in hope of achieving his goals and finally ending the senseless plot so he can star in a 'real comic'. In the meantime Gorsky leads the resistance under the guise of Morfinius, attempting to destroy the Comix by making Jerry (the heroes Butt-Monkey sidekick) the main character. They also do Aliens at one point: the whole section of the comic is the movie but it turns out to be an illegal copy with borked subtitles: all sorts of whacky hijinks result from it, most importantly the aliens getting replaced with sheep because their name have been misspelled (makes sense in Polish) - the marines discover a nest with missing colonists hanging on the walls in oversized wool sweaters.
  • The comic book version of PvP did a homage/parody of The Matrix called "The Comix".
  • There's a Star Wars Expanded Universe comic featuring Luke's childhood friend Janek "Tank" Sunber, who'd joined the Empire, become a lieutenant, and ended up stationed on a planet of tribal aliens. The plot of that handful of comics is essentially Zulu, with Imperials desperately fighting wave after wave of aliens and being worn down.
  • Judge Dredd did this quite a bit in the late 80s and 90s, with parodies of such things as The Wizard of Oz, Twin Peaks, Edward Scissorhands, and many more.
  • The whole Hellfire Club section of the X-Men's The Dark Phoenix Saga is basically Chris Claremont's riff on The Avengers (1960s) episode "A Touch of Brimstone", in which Mrs. Peel becomes the Hellfire Club's Queen of Sin under the "authority" of John Cleverly Cartney.note  Claremont even gives Mastermind the real name Jason Wyngarde, after Peter Wyngarde, who played Cartney, and Jason King, Wyngarde's most famous role.
    • Similarly, the famous Claremont & Byrne issue where Kitty Pryde has to survive against a demon for a night is self-consciously, deliberately just the two creators riffing off "the last fifteen minutes of Alien."
  • The story of Steve Rogers' return to the land of the living, Captain America: Reborn, is an extended reference to Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • The plot of the Marvel Comics villain miniseries Identity Disc is taken directly from The Usual Suspects.
  • The plot of Avengers Arena bears more than a passing resemblance to works like Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and Lord of the Flies, which the writer gleefully owns up to in the first issue. Additionally, the covers of the first few issues are all homages to the movie posters and book covers of the above-mentioned stories.
  • Several DC Comics Elseworlds do this. Most of them are very obvious about it (JLA: Island of Dr Moreau is based on, well...), but one that plays it a bit more subtly is the Legion of Super-Heroes Elseworld Castles in the Sky, which is a 30th century riff on the legend of King Arthur, with Cosmic Boy as Arthur, Saturn Girl as Guenevere, Lightning Lad as Lancelot, R. J. Brande as Merlin, Lightning Lord as Mordred, Mordru as the Fisher King, the flight rings as Excalibur (only Rokk can pull the Nth metal from the ruins of Thanagar), and the Miracle Machine as the Holy Grail.
  • The first four issues of Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy are a specific parody of the original Police Academy.
  • Many reviewers have noted a similarity between the first couple issues of All-New Wolverine to Orphan Black, to mixed reception. Though to be fair, Laura herself being cloned has been a plot thread almost as long as she's been in the books, and it's a major reason why the Facility has spent the better part of a decade (both real-life and in-universe) trying to get her back.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Some select stories homage other works in their entirety. For instance, one Italian one was based on Fahrenheit 451, just with the Ducks living in a dystopia where all music is forbidden. There's also a Danish one based on The Shining, though obviously with less ax-murder.
  • Camp Lazlo: A story features a lake monster and Lazlo treats the case like a Scooby Doo mystery. There's a "Mystery Latrine" with a sign painted the same style as the Mystery Machine, Lazlo and his friends split up ("Tradition dictates that we all split up and explore!", Lazlo says), someone theorizes the "monster" is some Corrupt Corporate Executive wanting the land for mining rights and, when the monster is revealed to be the squirrel scouts just out for a midnight boat ride, Lazlo remains convinced that Patsy is someone wearing a mask.
  • Marvel's original Conan the Barbarian run adapted one of his creator's short-stories The Shadow of the Vulture, which was based on historical events rather than taking place in Hyboria, set during the Great Turkish War where the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent sets one of his best hunters to kill a knight for offending him and he teams up with a red-haired swashbuckler known as Red Sonya to survive. Conan replaces the knight, Suleyman is replaced by an Turanian warlord and Red Sonya is transformed into Red Sonja, who actually debuted in this story.
  • The final battle of Miracleman is basically a Played for Drama riff on the classic MAD story Superduperman. A Superman Substitute with a loser alter-ego and heavy Unscrupulous Hero tendencies faces off against an Expy of Captain Marvel, who has turned evil for the sake of using his powers for his own gain. The hero fails to damage the villain due to them being equally invulnerable, and the battle wrecks most of the city. Eventually, the hero manages to circumvent the villain's invulnerability by exploiting his powers, but in the aftermath, he ends up alienating his Love Interest.
  • Issue #4 of Saladin Ahmed’s run on Miles Morales: Spider-Man is titled “Miles Morales’ Day Off” and features Miles, his friend Judge, and his love interest Barbara faking a sick day to skip school, with the overly intense Vice Principal Lyle Dutcher in the role of the Dean.
  • Batman and the setting of Gotham wears its Zorro influence on its sleeve, to the point that the movie that the Waynes had gone to see the night of Thomas and Martha's murder is typically The Mark of Zorro.
  • Spidey Super Stories had a two-fer with Star Jaws, which combined A New Hope and Jaws by having Dr. Doom pilot a space station whose goal is to literally eat the Earth.

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    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • 12 Angry Men is another stock plot that's been much copied. It's been done on The Odd Couple, Happy Days, and The Simpsons just to name a few. The former is interesting in that series star Jack Klugman was in the original film. While it might not be the original example, many examples of the Rogue Juror trope will probably call upon this in some way.
  • Shows recreating The Breakfast Club in an episode:
    • A whole episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation was dedicated to parodying the movie, ending in the "bad boy" and "basketcase" ending up together in the end, with the "pretty girl" and "jock" ending up together. Toby didn't end up with anyone, though... like Brian.
    • Lizzie McGuire also did an entire episode based on that plot. Three kids (including Lizzie) were brought together because they were accused of starting a Food Fight.
    • Victorious also has an entire episode taken from it.

By Series:

  • The 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Citizen Solomon" includes a plot based on a portion of Citizen Kane. Oddly, it's the "B" story which is based on Kane, not the "A" story. In the episode, Tommy is Kane, Alissa is Susan and August is Leland.
  • One episode of 30 Rock is an extended reference to Amadeus with Frank as Salieri, Tracy as Mozart, and Tracy's porn video game as the masterpiece.
    Frank: I've devoted a lifetime to porn, and he masters it in one day?!
  • Season 4 of Arrested Development sees George Michael seeing the software called Fakeblock that he developed in his college dorm become a runaway hit that strains his relationship with his friends, turns him into a bit of a Jerkass, and causes his former friend and peer to sue him, all because Michael Cera, when asked if he is generally recognized more for Arrested Development or Scott Pilgrim, replied that he's usually recognized for The Social Network, which he wasn't in.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow:
      • Arrow loves referencing The Dark Knight Trilogy. The first season ends with a villain connected to the League of Shadows/Assassins trying to destroy the crime-ridden Gotham/Glades. The third season centers on a super-strong criminal warlord who takes over Gotham/Glades and forces all police and other government services out; it's even resolved in an all-out clash on the street.
      • The episode "Public Enemy" is basically the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Over the Edge" without the All Just a Dream twist: a cop finds out his daughter is dead, blames the hero despite because the hero kept this from him, the cop finds out who the hero is, and he does everything he can to go after the hero and his allies.
    • The Flash redoes the origin of Gorilla Grodd. Due to the show's mythology, he isn't an intelligent gorilla from the technologically advanced Gorilla City. Instead, he is very much straight out of the new Planet of the Apes films, a gorilla who was experimented on and suffered abuse from humans save for one. The explosion that turned several people into Metahumans granted him his psychic powers which allow him to communicate telepathically.
    • The Legends of Tomorrow episode "Phone Home" is, as the title suggests, one massive homage to E.T., with Young Ray as Elliot and a baby Dominator as E.T.
  • The A-Team:
    • In its final season, the series has an episode called "The Spy Who Mugged Me", which plays out like a James Bond film (complete with an intense card game, killer sharks, etc.).
    • The episode "The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair" from the same season is essentially a Darker and Edgier episode from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with the Team being support for Napoleon Solo (or rather, General Stockwell — still, the episode milks the Actor Allusion for all it is worth).
  • The original Battlestar Galactica and its sequel, Galactica 1980, succumbed to this several times. It wasn't so much homage or parody as... wholesale plot theft, usually in response to the Dreaded Deadline Doom. Example: "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero" came from The Guns of Navarone.
  • Baywatch episode "Princess of Tides" is Roman Holiday with some extra drama thrown in. Mitch has to protect and rescue the titular princess from assassins.
  • Big Wolf on Campus had an episode called "The Manchurian Werewolf". Can you guess?
  • The Black Mirror episode "Playtest" is all about an American guy named Cooper Redfield being dropped into a spooky mansion by an full-immersion horror video game. Then the game shifts gears and gets personal with him.
  • The entire second season of Californication is a Whole Plot Reference to The Great Gatsby, with Hank as Nick and Ashby as Gatsby.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did one with "The Monkey's Paw", where Dawn and Spike try to resurrect Joyce.
    • "Older and Far Away" where people who enter the Summers' home are unable to leave references the exact plot of Luis Bunuel's The Exterminating Angel.
  • The Castle episode "The Lives of Others", like Rear Window, has Castle stuck at home with a broken leg. While watching his neighbors through binoculars, he sees something that looks like a murder. It was staged by Beckett as an elaborate way to get him to a surprise party.
  • Charmed:
  • When Cold Case isn't basing its episodes off of Real Life cold (and "hot") cases, it often does this. "Blood on the Tracks" = The Big Chill, "Disco Inferno" = Saturday Night Fever, "Detention" = The Breakfast Club, etc.
  • Community has done a few of these. An easy one to spot is Abed's birthday dinner with Jeff which is a reference to My Dinner with Andre. The twist is that Abed deliberately set it up to be so — he wanted to take a break from being the Meta Guy and have a real conversation, and aping that film was the only way he could think of to try and do that. Jeff points out the irony that it's possibly the most meta thing he's ever done.
  • CSI: Miami had an episode called "Dude, Where's My Groom?" which was, essentially, The Hangover with a murder mystery thrown in.
  • The third episode of the 1980s Degrassi Junior High is based on the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. The resident High-School Hustler sells "hallucinogens" (actually vitamin pills) at five bucks a pop. Because nobody wants to admit they aren't "cool," his clients pretend to trip and even go through placebo highs.
    • The Degrassi: The Next Generation film called Degrassi: Las Vegas borrows heavily from the movie Indecent Proposal, with one character even lampshading it by mentioning it to wave off a character's suspicions, only to later offer an "indecent proposal". However, as this is a teen soap things play out differently and the boyfriend is not involved in agreeing to the deal.
  • Doctor Who:
  • The backstory of Sully, the white man gone native love interest and eventual husband of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is virtually identical to that of Dunbar of Dances with Wolves, while Kathleen from the episode "Another Woman" is a virtual Expy of Stands With A Fist—a white woman abducted by the tribe at so young an age that she has zero memory of her old life and can barely speak English.
  • Early Edition had an episode with a plot that strongly resembled the classic movie Roman Holiday. Princess gone missing, officials covering her while she meets a down to earth man and they enjoy the American city together; and they both end on much the same note.
  • Eerie, Indiana: The Series Finale "Reality Takes a Holiday" is one to The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "A World of Difference".
  • The Endeavour episode "Rocket" has the dysfunctional Broom family, whose names, plotlines, and dialogue reference the bickering Plantagenets of The Lion in Winter (as a Genius Bonus/ Bilingual Bonus, the name Plantagenet supposedly derived from the broom plant- Planta Genista in Latin- on their coat of arms).
  • Eureka later used the TNG episode "Remember Me" as one for the episode "Games People Play". Which was the point, since it was the 100th episode.
  • The Father Ted episode "Speed 3" is a WPR to Speed, with a bomb on a milk float that is primed when it goes above 4mph and goes off if it dips below.
  • A number of people have noted quite a resemblance between The Fixer and Callan. Both are ITV shows, so copyright isn't an issue here.
  • Frasier:
    • An episode titled "My Coffee with Niles" was essentially a love letter to My Dinner with Andre.
    • Also, in another episode, Frasier and Niles meet a writer who wrote one amazing book and not another word for 30 years, who was going to publish a new novel. They read the manuscript behind his back when he’s away and are amazed by it, noting the homage to The Divine Comedy in its structure; the writer thinks his book is actually a rip-off of Dante and throws the manuscript off the balcony, thanking them both for pointing out that he’s a hack, and leaves, frustrated and angry.
  • Whether unintentional or a deliberate reference, the Fringe episode "White Tulip" (2x18) borrows heavily from the plot of ''The Broken Bride'' by the band Ludo: A scientist creates a time travel device to go back in time to the day in May when his fiance/bride was killed in a car accident with the intention of saving her life. Minus about 14 years, pterodactyls, a dragon and a zombie apocalypse. It even ends with the time traveler realizing he cannot save his bride and getting in the car to die alongside her.
  • Despite it being far more inspired by the 1993 film, several episodes of the 2000 revival of The Fugitive were based off of episodes of the original series.
  • General Hospital: In 1996, Carly came to town and rapidly insinuated herself into Bobbie's life—and into the bed of Bobbie's husband. No references to the movie All About Eve were ever made, but most critics cited the film as the likely inspiration for the storyline.
  • Good Eats
    • A send-up of Misery in the episode "This Spud's For You Too", and a sequel (featuring an amnesiac A.B.) "Ill-Gotten Grains". Of course, the first is about making potato dishes, while the second is about wheat-grain dishes; both are, by far, more family-friendly.
    • Good Eats does this all the time; the episode about scallops, for example, is a spoof of Jaws. An exhaustive list of examples would be too long.
    • A particularly audacious one was "Oh My, Meat Pie", which was based off Sweeney Todd, with thinly veiled references to the ultimate source of the meats. Yes, on a cooking show.
  • The Goodies had an episode called Punky Business. It seemed like it was going to be a spoof on punk, and then it turned into Cinderella.
  • The whole premise of Grimm; set in contemporary Portland, OR, the main character is a police detective who is also the last living descendant of Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm, who in turn were part of a group of people who had the power to see supernatural creatures that appeared human to those without such an ability. The creatures were the inspiration for several fairy tales and folk takes around the world, Grimm or otherwise. Most episodes at least partially reference the original story.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys pulled a double:
  • The underlying storyline of Heroes' fourth season is Carnivàle with abilities.
  • House: Done with the Season 6 opener, "Broken," wherein House is a patient in a mental hospital: did somebody say One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Why, yes we did. Subverted in that while the references are played up, everything was the opposite of One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest: the nurses and psychiatrists are actually trying to help, and House's attempt to "liberate" one of the other patients ends badly. Really badly. Turns out House isn't living the plot of Cuckoo's Nest, he's actually in Girl, Interrupted.
  • The JAG episode "Rogue" goes beyond a retelling of the Rogue Warrior novels: it goes to the point of having lookalikes for most of the series characters replete with their personalities, similar conflict with the brass and even Marcinko's and Raglin's justification (stop Osama bin Laden from committing a terrorist attack) are exactly the same.
  • Just Shoot Me! pulled a neat trick when it set an episode up so that it could suddenly turn completely into King Lear.
    • They also have a Christmas episode parody of The Grinch, with song and everything.
  • The Leverage episode "The San Lorenzo Job" is a beat-for-beat and twist-for-twist adaptation of The Stainless Steel Rat for President, right down to the fake assassination.
  • Lie to Me made a similar reference. The psychiatrist running the place clearly has it in for Cal (which makes perfect sense) but when he's shown the evidence that Cal's symptoms are coming from ergot rather than schizophrenia he lets him and the other victims out without hesitation.
  • MacGyver (1985):
    • "Countdown" is either a rare example played entirely straight, or a cynical attempt to rip off the plot of a film (Juggernaut) most of MacGyver's audience wouldn't have seen.
    • "Trumbo's World" went so far as to use footage from The Naked Jungle, the movie it was ripping off.
    • "Thief of Budapest" cribbed the footage from the climactic Car Chase of The Italian Job (1969) almost whole-sale (only with footage of Mac and his friends of the week instead of Michael Caine's thief crew). To be fair, in that case the plot surrounding and justifying the car chase was significantly different.
    • "Hellfire" is William Friedkin's Sorcerer with the change that Mac's regular on-the-spot inventiveness and general Lighter and Softer approach makes its ending unambiguously happier.
    • "Kill Zone" was essentially The Andromeda Strain just replacing the virus' effects from instant blood clotting to Rapid Aging and changing the climactic self-destruct sequence from trying to stop it to having Mac and Pete pulling an Outrun the Fireball.
  • Magnum, P.I. does this once with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Lampshaded by Magnum spending the whole episode racking his brains as to why it all seems so familiar. It hits even closer to home Tom Selleck was considered to star as Indy, but was unable to get out of his contract with Magnum, thus paving the way for Harrison Ford.
  • The entire first season of Mr. Robot can be seen as one to Fight Club with the disenchanted main character joining up with a subversive group to destroy major corporations and "free" the people. In both cases, the subversive group is led by a charismatic man who turns out to be a figment of the main character's imagination. The main difference is cyber-terrorism instead of domestic terrorism.
  • My Name Is Earl, the episode "Get a Real Job" features Earl's plotline being a reference to Rudy, featuring Charles S. Dutton and Sean Astin from the movie in supporting roles, with Earl trying to prove he can be a salesman and not just a stock worker, it features the same speech by Dutton and a scene at the end similar to the 'I believe I am' from Rudy.
  • NewsRadio did at least two - "Sinking Ship" (S4) spoofed Titanic, and "Flowers for Matthew" spoofed Flowers for Algernon/Charley.
  • The Not Going Out episode Life on Mars Bars is a half-hour reference to Life On Mars.
  • One Life to Live's famous gang rape storyline was lifted from the plot of The Accused, right down to the guilt-ridden bystander who failed to intervene. Although in the movie's case, he had the decency to run and call for help, whereas in the show, he was bullied into participating. A follow-up storyline in which the lead rapist stalked his lawyer was clearly lifted from Cape Fear — seeking vengeance for sabotaging the case when she realized he was guilty, and Wait Until Dark — she was blind following brain surgery.
  • Once Upon a Time has incorporated nearly every fairy tale known to man at this point, as well as a few things that aren't usually considered fairy tales, albeit in a manner that doesn't generally qualify for this trope. Which makes it all the more unexpected when the initial plot of the Season 3 finale turns out to be one gigantic reference to Back to the Future, of all things.
  • The Only Fools and Horses episode "Fatal Extraction" parodies Fatal Attraction with the twist that the woman isn't stalking Del; it's all in his head.
  • The Outer Limits did "haircuts" (as the production team called them) of Beauty and the Beast ("The Man Who Was Never Born") and Macbeth ("The Bellero Shield"). Coincidentally, both episodes starred Martin Landau.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • "Starcrossed" is basically Casablanca with aliens instead of Nazis.
    • "Abduction" is essentially a sci-fi retelling of The Breakfast Club with a Sadistic Choice thrown in for good measure. Five students - a jock, the hottest girl in school, a nerd, a deeply religious girl and an outcast - are abducted by an alien and are told that they must decide which of them will die. If they refuse to make a choice, they will all be killed.
    • "Vanishing Act" is a sci-fi version of Rip Van Winkle.
    • "Abaddon" is one to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Space Seed".
    • "Lithia" is one to the 1984 Polish science fiction film Sex Mission as it involves a soldier, Major Jason Mercer, waking from cryonic suspension decades later than planned to find that the world is populated entirely by women as all men have died.
    • "Monster" is one to Forbidden Planet.
    • "The Shroud" is a sci-fi version of the Nativity of Jesus as it involved a woman named Marie Wells being impregnated with a clone of him who was created using DNA samples taken from the Shroud of Turin. The episode lampshades this as Reverend Thomas Tilford, who orchestrated the clone's creation, compares Marie's husband Justin to Joseph. In turn, Justin asks what would that make Tilford with the implication being that he would be King Herod the Great, though this parallel is less exact than the others.
    • "Patient Zero" is one to 12 Monkeys.
  • Numerous episodes of Psych do this, typically with heavy Lampshading from Shawn and Gus.
    • The appropriately titled 100th episode, "100 Clues", abounds with references to Clue, even including three of the actors and multiple endings.
    • The episode "Last Night Gus" is based on The Hangover.
    • "Shawn and Gus in Drag...Racing" actually manages to be a Whole Plot Reference to both Point Break and The Fast and the Furious. Shawn and Gus infiltrate a group of adrenaline junkie car thieves when one of their members is murdered, but the two of them conflict over whether the leader is a charismatic but dangerous criminal like Bohdi (and the killer), or an Anti-Hero like Dom. Turns out he was the killer.
    • "The Head, The Tail, The Whole Damn Episode" is one to Jaws with the twist that their Quint Expy was the killer, not the shark.
    • "Heeere's Lassie!" for The Shining, with Lassiter in the role of Jack.
  • Red Dwarf: "Back to Earth" becomes this to Blade Runner around halfway in, and most of Queeg is based on The Caine Mutiny. Also, "The Last Day" is based on the Jack Nicholson film The Last Detail.
  • Remember WENN did this twice, with Casablanca and Sunset Boulevard.
  • An In-Universe example is in Remington Steele. The main character, a classic movie buff would always find a film plot that matched the week's case. Several episodes did it outright, including The Sting and And Then There Were None.
  • Revenge does a Gender Flip of The Count of Monte Cristo but otherwise uses roughly the same plotline.
  • The Sam & Cat episode "SuperPsycho" is a parody of The Silence of the Lambs.
  • A proposed Sesame Street special titled "A-B-Chorus Line", intended to commemorate the show's 10th anniversary, was going to be this to A Chorus Line (but minus the angst, of course). This was scrapped and a more conventional retrospective called "A Walking Tour of Sesame Street" was produced instead.
  • Sisters:
    • A storyline has oldest sister and talk show host Alex hiring a personal assistant who simply lived to wait on her hand and foot. She made herself so indispensable that when Alex was trapped in an elevator, she was able to take over her hosting duties and did such a good job that the producers decided to make them co-hosts. At this point, Alex wised up and realized that the girl was really a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who was out to get her job—driving the point home, her name was Evelyn, making it quite obvious what film this story was based on.
    • Another one had second-oldest sister Teddy's husband being killed via Car Bomb (he was a detective preparing to testify against a drug lord). By the following episode, his Ghost appeared to her both to console her and to protect her from his killer, who was now stalking her. It concludes with them sharing a final dance, much like in the movie.
    • This also often happened during the fantasy sequences.
  • Smallville: For a show about a young Clark Kent, the show did sometimes like to take the idea of "What if (Movie Plot) with Superman as a side character?".
    • In the episode "Roulette", Oliver's storyline is blatant rip-off of the 1997 Michael Douglas film The Game, right up to the male lead having suicidal tendencies.
    • They also dished out "Fortune", a rip-off of The Hangover.
    • "Void" has Lana living the first half of Flatliners
    • "Mercy" doesn't even try to pretend that it's not stealing the entire plot of Saw.
  • Spaced did this several times, with prominent examples being parodies of The Matrix and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
  • Stargate SG-1:
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation's "QPid", the Costumer part, anyway, is pretty much The Adventures of Robin Hood, down to a fight between Robin/Picard and Guy of Gisborne on a staircase. Which makes Vash's absolute refusal to play Marian a whole lot funnier. (Though someone somewhere seems to have gotten Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff confused, because Q is clearly playing Basil-Rathbone-Guy but calls himself the Sheriff, and Guy more resembles the dim-witted, rotund Sheriff of the movie.)
    • This is Dathon's plan in the episode "Darmok", recreating the story of Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. It also seems to be a massive advantage of the Tamarian language (which is built on metaphors and cultural references); he gets across the entire multi-day plan to his crew just by saying the title. Unfortunately, what he fails to realize is that the episode is also a retelling of Gilgamesh with him as Enkidu.
    • "The Naked Now" is this to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Naked Time".
    • "Brothers" is a rehash of the story of Jacob and Esau from Genesis 27.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Alice" is Christine with a spaceship.
  • St. Elsewhere: "Their Town" is based on the 1938 play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Taking place in the small town of Peterborough, New Hampshire, it explores the different life challenges being faced by Donald Westphall, his children Lizzie and Tommy, Mark and Ellen Craig and Carol Novino in much the same way as the play explores the lives of the residents of the fictional New Hampshire town of Grover's Corners. Wilder based Grover's Corners on Peterborough. Furthermore, Dr. Westphall addresses the audience directly several times in the episode, as the Stage Manager does in the play.
  • An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody features the class putting on a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. When couples are cast in the wrong parts - Cody plays Bottom, his girlfriend Gwen gets cast as Hermia and Zack is Lysander - it causes a massive Love Dodecahedron, which one character lampshades as being similar to the play.
  • While The 10th Kingdom is a Fractured Fairy Tale featuring many subversions and deconstructions of classic fairy tales, it does contain one subtle Whole Plot Reference - the romance between Virginia and Wolf, who is a werewolf that undergoes a Heel–Face Turn because of his love for her. Notice that Beauty and the Beast is the one tale that isn't mentioned directly?
  • Tin Man is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz in a Science Fantasy setting. In fact, it's technically set in the actual Oz from the original film - just with a few hundred years of technological advancements.
  • Like the MacGyver example mentioned above, the T.J. Hooker episode "Blue Murder" - in which Hooker goes up against a group of uniformed cops under the direction of a superior officer executing criminals that got away - was what can be charitably called "inspired" by Magnum Force, even down to both having a scene with our hero on a practice range. Biggest difference: budgetary and time restrictions kept the vigilante cops down to two (in the movie it was four).
  • In Toby Terrier And His Video Pals, I Love Lassie is one to the chocolate episode of I Love Lucy only with dog biscuits instead of chocolate.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): "The Gift" is a sci-fi version of the story of Jesus. Williams is an alien visitor who has arrived on Earth with a gift for humanity, a Cure for Cancer, but he is killed and the gift is destroyed. The parallel is made clear when the doctor says that the bartender Manolo, who has told the Mexican Army of Williams' presence, should have been christened "Judas."
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • "Her Pilgrim Soul" is one to Portrait of Jennie. Dr. Kevin Drayton falls in love with the spirit of the long dead Nola Granville, who grows older every time that he sees her.
    • "Personal Demons" is one to "The Elves and the Cobbler". The hooded creatures appear to Rockne O'Bannon so that he can cure his Writer's Block by writing a story about them.
  • Vagrant Queen: The episode "No Clue" is one to Clue. Most of the deaths play out similarly to those in the movie, many of the film's most memorable quotes are incorporated, and the heroes even end up fighting the murderer with more high-tech versions of the murder weapons.
  • Wonder Woman: "Judgement from Outer Space" is basically The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) set during WWII and with Andros taking the place of Klaatu. There's even a scene at the Lincoln Memorial.
  • Several X-Files episodes were constructed this way.
    • "Eve", which begins with two men who live on opposite sides of the country and have identical daughters being murdered in an identical fashion at the exact same time, is a re-working of The Boys from Brazil (1978). The episode's debt to the movie is most apparent in the reveal of the clones: in both cases, the investigators think they are investigating murders, and are taken aback half-way through when they realise the kids have more than family tragedy in common.
    • "Beyond the Sea" is structured like The Silence of the Lambs (1991), with Scully in the role of Clarice Starling and Boggs as Hannibal Lecter.
    • "Unusual Suspects" is a play on The Usual Suspects (1995). Like the movie, it begins with the cops arriving at a crime scene where it's not clear exactly what has happened. One of the suspects arrested at the scene begins to tell the story. But can he be believed?


  • The Cool Kids Table game All I Want for Christmas is a riff on the plot of Jingle All the Way. Jake claims that the two stories actually take place at the same time, just in different cities.
  • On Chapo Trap House, the tabletop roleplaying storylines are retreads of funny political scandals In the Style of... H. P. Lovecraft. The first campaign is the (Republican) Pizzagate conspiracy theory; the second is based on Eric Garland's (Democrat) "game theory" conspiracy theory.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The d20 Modern adventure A Funny Thing Happened At Carousel #5 is pretty much a Choose Your Own Adventure version of What's Up, Doc?, even having Expies of most of the cast as Non-Player Characters (and one of them even being named after director Peter Bogdanovich!)
  • One of the adventure paths of Pathfinder had the Player Characters going to a middle-of-nowhere town to retrieve a MacGuffin and pretty much riding into the Seven Samurai.


    Video Games 
  • Corruption of Laetitia: The credits and collectable books make no secret that the setting is based on various Vocaloid songs, such as "Daughter of Evil" and "Boss Death". Some of the dialogue quotes the songs word for word.
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a remake of Journey to the West.
  • Chapter 3 of Bully is basically the plot of S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is very similar to the 1980s, Al Pacino-starring remake of Scarface. A criminal, exiled from his old stomping grounds in The '80s, winds up in (a) Miami(-like city) and builds up a criminal empire, including an opulent mansion, but gets betrayed by a partner who ends up seeking his death, culminating in a Last Stand at said mansion. The way the protagonists end up is different, though.
  • The first third of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is basically Juice mashed together with Boyz n the Hood. The last two thirds of the game are basically the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo with a brief interlude to reenact Ocean's Eleven
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy is a WPR to Poltergeist. Comes with a lot of Shout Outs.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 pretty much lifts the entire plot of The Rock for one mission.
  • Red Dead Revolver, as a game where the Showdown at High Noon is a frequent occurrence, has a quickdraw tournament in the vein of The Quick and the Dead.
    • Earlier in the game, there is a stage where the player must blow up a bridge on a battlefield by wading into the water and placing explosives on the pillars, much like in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: The latter part of Arthur Morgan's story follows the plot of The Seventh Seal, albeit in a less spiritual/metaphorical way. After years as a good soldier in Dutch van der Linde's libertarian crusade, Arthur learns he's dying of a disease, and after a lot of soul searching he tries to help his fellow outlaws find better lives rather than stay and be killed by the encroaching forces of law and order. Arthur eventually sacrifices himself to ensure that a family can escape and start a new life.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2, Thane's loyalty mission, where he tries to make his son go down a different path than the one he took, and to make up for not being a part of his son's life is basically a whole plot reference to Harry Chapin's song "Cat's In The Cradle," to the point where the achievement for completing the quest is named after the song.
    • While it has more than enough original elements to keep it fresh, the story of Tali's loyalty mission is overall very similar to the episode "Sins of the Father" in Star Trek: The Next Generation. See the shout-out page for more detail on that.
    • The Mass Effect 3 mission "Rannoch: Geth Fighter Squadrons" has Shepard get Brain Uploaded into a very TRON-like computer world, where Shep has to fight bad code.
  • World of Warcraft was always big ont the Shout Outs, from single NPCs to entire quest lines, but two zones in the Cataclysm expansion brings it to a new level. The Redrige Mountains are all about Rambo, while around half of Uldum consists of Harrison Jones fighting for an ancient relic against Nazi goblins.
  • Devil Survivor 2 has a series of Eldritch Abominations, utterly immune to conventional weaponry, attacking Japan, which only a handful of special people have the potential to stop, is a Crapsack World, has major break and Kill the Cutie, Order Versus Chaos themes, a white haired Bishōnen who loves humans (and happens to secretly be one of said abominations) and viciously deconstructs all tropes related to its genre. Where have I heard this before...?
    • Persona 3 also fits this nicely for very similar reasons, also by having 12 major enemies followed by a 13th one who has a human appearance (and has an affinity towards humans).
  • Persona 4 stars a group of Ordinary High School Students gifted with the power of Summon Magic, and use that power to stop a Serial Killer with the same power run rampant on the small, rustic town they inhabit. Hmmm...
  • The Spore mission It Came From The Sky is this to The Thing (1982).
  • The Clan War missions of Borderlands 2, in which you instigate a clan war between the redneck Hodunks and the Irish Zafords and play both sides against one another are a reference to Yojimbo, A Fistful of Dollars and Last Man Standing. The only difference is that you are forced to side with one family in the final encounter rather than wiping all of them out.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: The quest "A Night to Remember" is this to The Hangover; the Dragonborn wakes up after a drunken stupor and has to find their missing drinking buddy, all while cleaning up the mess they left behind throughout Skyrim. They even got married in all the drunkenness - to a Hagraven, no less.
    • The whole Civil War plot borrows a lot from the main conflict of Fallout: New Vegas. The Empire is a well-intentioned but corrupt and ineffectual government that's hated by a good number of the locals, much like the NCR. Ulfric Stormcloak acts as a stand-in for Mr. House - an ambitious and cunning leader who wants to kick out the government and forge an independent nation under their own rule. On the horizon is the Aldmeri Dominion, a nation of barbaric Nazi elves who once warred with the Empire and plan to do so again, eradicating both sides and claiming the province as their own for a further conquest of the Imperial homeland, exactly the same as the Legion. In the middle of this huge mess is the player, who is in a position to play the sides off against each other for their own personal agenda, or join up with a faction and bring them a decisive victory.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: The relationship between Battler and Beatrice is this towards The Divine Comedy with Beatrice waiting for Battler to find the truth referencing the eternal lady waiting for Dante at the top of Mount Purgatory. Several other names in the series also references this and fulfill the same roles.
    • First of all we have Virgilia, who guides Battler towards the truth, taking the role of Vergilius who guided Dante.
    • In Ep 7 we also have Clair vauxof Bernard, the reader of that Episode who reveals the truth to Will, Lion and the players. Clair takes the role of Bernard of Clairvaux as both are the final guides of the stories after Beatrice has gone to her eternal rest.
    • Then finally we have the name of the metaworld where Battler is trapped, Purgatorio. Here Beatrice wants Battler to remember his sin of six years ago just as Dante had to recognize and acknowledge his sins before ascending to Heaven.
    • The book and the similarities are references in Ep 5 just when Battler does reach the truth:
      ''Vergilius guided Dante to Mount Purgatory, ... and brought him below the feet of the eternal lady who waited at the top, Beatrice. Therefore, ... the innermost depths lay not at the bottom. ... but at the peak of Mount Purgatory. The eternal lady... had been waiting there for Dante... the whole time... And then... I... knew.
  • Soul Sacrifice revolves around horrific creatures that were once men (and animals) born from profane magic, which is spread by a shining, innocent-looking entity. The only way to kill said monsters is to use said magic, which will end up transforming YOU into a monster eventually for others to kill in an endless cycle. Souls, despair, and hope are all central to the story, as despair is what triggers the transformation from man to beast. The main storyline also involves a Ho Yay -filled relationship between two sorcerers, one of which locks himself into an endless loop in order to save his 'dear friend'. Yeah, it's that kind of game.
  • The Wonderful 101 features Platinum Robo, a Humongous Mecha that secretly contains the soul of the pilot's mother, a brilliant scientist thought to be long dead.
  • A mission in H.A.W.X., "Operation Whitehorse" has the player defend a space shuttle launch pad and the shuttle itself, carrying a super weapon to even the playing field in the war against enemy attack. First, the enemy sends wave after wave of airborne-dropped tanks, dropped from cargo planes. Then they begin sending jets to try and kill it. When all else fails, they start firing cruise missiles at it. A near-identical mission appears in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, "White Bird Part I".
  • Metal Gear:
    • Large chunks of the plot of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake are taken from the J.C. Pollock novel Crossfire.
    • Metal Gear Solid:
      • The main plot is a total retread of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake but with a dark conspiracy subplot as well. All of the setpieces are the same - finding a female soldier in the women's bathroom, Gray Fox warning you about mines using an anonymous radio frequency, a key that's a 'shape memory alloy' that changes with heat, punching the Evil Counterpart to death after losing your inventory, a cyborg ninja turns out to be a character from the previous game, a mysterious woman is revealed through dramatic irony to have a tragic part in Gray Fox's life, there's a battle with a helicopter using missiles, and many, many more. Unlike the retread in 2, none of the characters remark on this, as this was intended as a Soft Reboot of the franchise, allowing it to serve as a Video Game Remake of its previous entry as well.
      • An outrageously cool Anti-Hero named "Snake" is captured against his will and ordered on a mission to retrieve a nuclear device and rescue the daughter of a shifty authority figure in return for having his criminal past forgotten. He's also infected with a genetically engineered virus on his way. This is very similar to Escape from L.A..
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:
      • The basic plot is The Rock with the serial numbers filed off (New York instead of San Francisco, nukes rather than bioweapons) down to the occasional Homage Shot and Harry Gregson-Williams doing the music in the same style - but also incorporating bits of pomo novel The New York Trilogy.
      • A major plot point revealed near the end of the game is that it's also an intentional, in-universe retread of the first Metal Gear Solid - an isolated island facility that's actually the testing ground for Metal Gear taken over by ex-special forces, having taken hostages and demanding a ransom, threatening the US government with a nuke if the demands aren't met, a lone FOXHOUND soldier sent in to stop them, both main hostages dying not long after they're located, the presence of a cyborg ninja who assists via radio, the lone soldier getting his gear (and clothes) taken away near the end - though, ironically, right around when this reveal happens is when things have started going off the rails into... well, something different.
      • While Escape from New York elements are prominent in the aesthetics of the game, the Carpenter movie referenced in the plot is Big Trouble in Little China, particularly towards the game's second half where a character named Jack (Raiden) is rescuing a woman by leading her through flooded green tunnels and fighting long-haired, knife-throwing enemies with magic-based powers drawn from Chinese martial arts. The game also borrows Big Trouble's themes of focusing on a protagonist who thinks he's the main character and isn't, with both Snake (who borrows his name from a different Kurt Russell character and is redesigned to resemble Kurt Russell) and Raiden (whose real name is Jack, like Russell's character in Big Trouble) both being marginalised as protagonists (Snake is Demoted to Extra after the prologue, and Raiden is a Pinball Protagonist forced to watch as Snake takes care of the story without him).
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:
      • Snake's first mission is to rescue his old war buddy who is being tortured by the Russians for providing arms to the Mujahadeen - Rambo III.
      • Eli's plotline, about a privileged English schoolboy who ends up the leader of an insane tribal society of warring children until a military man comes and gets him, is clearly a reference to Lord of the Flies.
      • The game contains a subplot that is a Whole Plot Reference to Neon Genesis Evangelion of all things. Huey and Strangelove have built Metal Gear Sahelanthropus, a world-ending giant robot that can only be piloted by children. The three pilot candidates are a clone (Eli), a European Child Soldier (Tretij Rebenok, Russian for "Third Child"), and the child of the creators (Hal Emmerich). Later events wind up with Strangelove dying inside Sahelanthropus's AI Pod, and so it literally contains Hal's dead mother. Just like one of his Japanese animes indeed.
    • Metal Gear Acid 2 also references Neon Genesis Evangelion. Dr. Kopplethorn has cloned his dead wife Lucinda into a child, planning to use her mind as an OS for Metal Gear. However, due to being its OS, Lucy now feels Metal Gear to be her true body. Upon activating Lucy's consciousness, she becomes enormously powerful and kills Kopplethorn before synchronising fully with Metal Gear and attempting to kill Snake.
  • Take the classic literary tale of Beowulf, and change the presentation of the story from an epic tale to Professional Wrestling. You just described the entire concept of the character Beowulf from Skullgirls.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: The first level in Yuriko's campaign is about a severely traumatised Japanese schoolgirl who rips out of her restraints at a secret research facility and rampages around the place, messily killing the guards with her psychic powers.
  • DEFCON - Everybody Dies is based on the climax scenes of WarGames, where civilization is imploding in a global thermonuclear war. However, unlike the movie where it's just a computer simulation, it's actually happening in DEFCON and your goal is to ensure the communists/capitalists die in a nuclear fire. Introversion's previous game, Uplink, featured a Shout-Out to Wargames in an Easter Egg.
  • Resident Evil 2 has two parallel plots. Claire's story has a lot in common with Aliens. Last time around, a small group of people stumbled onto something horrible. Now, thanks to the greed of an evil Mega-Corp, that same horror has overtaken an entire community in part because everyone failed to heed the warnings of the survivors. A tough young woman stumbles into the mess and befriends a little girl who's been surviving on her own by crawling through places too small for anyone or anything else, and who initially tries to run away. Incidentally, the little girl's father is kinda sorta responsible for the whole mess. The little girl falls into a sewer and almost gets used to breed a baby monster, but she's rescued by the tough young woman at considerable personal risk, just as the helpful Computer Voice warns her that everything is about to explode. Our heroes escape an exploding facility in the nick of time, but the biggest, baddest monster of them all is Not Quite Dead and has hitched a ride on the escape vehicle. The "references" to Aliens even go into meta territory: Resident Evil 2 was a sequel that managed to be even more successful than its predecessor.
  • Resident Evil 3 has an Action Girl Badass fending off a unstoppable beast using a ATM Hardballer, grenade launcher, minigun and Western 1887, which she cocks one handed. Hmmm...where have we seen this before?
  • The EarthBound ROM Hack EquestriaBound is this to the original game. The main thing that makes it this instead of a simple texture swap like Pony Fantasy VI is the fact that doesn't follow the EarthBound plot to an exact letter. In addition to the characters remaining faithful to the FiM roots, the plot is similar, but not exact. Some minor differences and such do pop up, in addition to the new areas added to the game, as well as a ton of new bosses and features.
  • Discworld Noir: To The Maltese Falcon, Farewell, My Lovely and The Big Sleep. All happening at the same time, and with one character playing the roles of all three Femme Fatales. And then part way through, where it turns out to also be a Discworld version of the investigation plot of Illuminatus!, with Eris and the Apple of Discord Expys, conspiracies within conspiracies, a Eldritch Abomination trapped in a polygon shaped building, and Malaclypse ranting.
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a DLC titled Justine that was released as part of the Potato Sack bundle. As a result, the plot of the DLC, a woman being put through hellish 'tests' by another for her amusement, is a subdued reference to Portal, of all things.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The plotline in Final Fantasy VII concerning Cloud's rivalry with Sephiroth is based on Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro.
    • The plot of Final Fantasy XV was largely inspired by Hamlet, though the more explicit plot points from it somewhat dissolved during the director changeover. It was also influenced by William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, though retains little from this other than some aesthetics.
    • Dirge of Cerberus references Metal Gear Solid extensively, and its sequel slightly. Vincent's a retired war hero who is sent to stop a terrorist group made up of genetically-enhanced military personnel. He fights a ranting shirtless rival dead set on surpassing him in a helicopter. He meets a sexy lady scientist whose sibling has been turned into a cybernetic ninja that thinks of nothing but war, but who also contains the memories of Vincent's lost friend. He fights a psychic in bondage gear. Vincent turns out to have a biological superweapon implanted into him, intended to kill all of the terrorists. Like in Metal Gear Solid 2, it turns out the real villain is an AI preserving itself through the Internet. This is just the beginning of the similarities.
  • The Talos Principle: The plot of the game is basically the Garden of Eden story with AIs.
  • Chaser closely follows the plotline of Total Recall (1990), right down to the Twist Ending.
  • Stellaris:
    • The War in Heaven event chain in the Leviathan expansion pack is a plot reference to Babylon 5. Two hyper-advanced and scarily dogmatic Precursors clash in a titanic war across the galaxy, leaving the more primitive races to take sides or stay the hell out of the way.
    • In Utopia, making a Covenant with the End of the Cycle will lead to you reenacting the Fall of the Eldar from Warhammer 40,000. You use your advanced technology and psychic powers to become the undisputed masters of the galaxy, only to unwittingly give rise to an Eldritch Abomination which obliterates your empire and your race, leaving only a small handful on a far-flung world, despised by all.
  • In the children's story "Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back" by Shel Silverstein, a hunter shoots at the titular character only to find that his rifle is not loaded, and then Lafcadio eats the hunter. This is very similar to the tutorial section of The Sexy Brutale where a hunting rifle is used to kill Sixpence, who kills the staff member if Lafcadio Boone puts a blank in the rifle. Moreover, Lafcadio-the-lion forgets that he's a lion until he returns to Africa and another lion reminds him of his true identity. The lions and the hunters try to convince him to join their respective sides, but Lafcadio-the-lion rejects both of them and walks off into the distance never to be heard from again. The story of Lafcadio Boone, forgetting his identity as Lucas and being forced to choose the side of either the hunters or the hunted, follows this basic plot.
  • Half-Life takes place in a secret base where teleportation experiments are being carried out. Despite initial successes, horrifying creatures from a different dimension soon come streaming out of the portals, overrun the facility, and turn the humans into mindless monsters. A lone man fights through the chaos, enters the alien dimension through a teleporter, and kills their leader by shooting it in its exposed brain. Sound familiar?
  • Gekitotsu Dangan Jidousha Kessen: Battle Mobile, an obscure Super Famicom game by System Sacom, has the story where a violent gang trying to kill a couple. The male survives, and come back for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge using a Weaponized Car. Sounds familiar?.
  • Yumina The Ethereal starts off as a light-hearted school romance game with significant foreshadowing and a few serious moments and later becomes a serious sci-fi story about fighting aliens with mechs where people can and will die. Sounds a lot like Muv-Luv, doesn't it?
  • Marco and the Galaxy Dragon is about a human, who was kidnapped by aliens as a child and raised to become a thief, stealing a cosmic stone which grants tremendous power to whomever wields it. The thief narrowly avoids the agents of an evil alien overlord, who sends his daughter—a skilled assassin who secretly hates him—to hunt the thief down and retrieve the stone. Both the thief and the daughter are eventually thrown in prison, where they team up with the last surviving member of a race that the overlord exterminated in order to bust out, and end up working together to keep the stone out of the overlord’s hands. Sounds an awful lot like Guardians of the Galaxy, doesn’t it?
  • The first game of the Detectives United series, Origins, has what seems to be a WPR to Avengers: Infinity War. The Big Bad intends to unravel reality as we know it with a snap of his fingers, once he's assembled the necessary Plot Coupons.
  • The Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown DLC campaign is basically the plot of The Hunt for Red October with an enemy captain who commands a nuclear submarine going rogue and necessitating a massive search for him. Count even jokes that it would be easier to find the sub if the whole crew started singing.
  • The plot of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 seems to be heavily inspired by Granblue Fantasy. Both play in a World in the Sky and feature a Mysterious Waif as the secondary protagonist who links her life force with The Hero to safe him, and in both games the aim is to reach a legendary destination (Elysium in Xenoblade, Estalucia in GBF) that is unreachable by normal means. Both games feature an antagonistic empire, which is fairly standard for a JRPG ... But both games also feature an inseparable duo of goofballs (Zeke & Pandy / Sturm & Drang) who get in the way of the party at various points and an enigmatic enforcer (Morag / The Black Knight) interested in capturing the Mysterious Waif, all of whom aren't really evil and end up joining the party at some point.
  • In The Outer Worlds, you play as the charismatic captain of a rustbucket star freighter crewed by a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits including a cute mechanic girl, a snarky good-looking doctor and a Badass Preacher with a mysterious past, travelling from job to job between frontier towns in a lost star system ruled by corrupt corporate authorities. This is the closest we'll ever get ot a Firefly video game.
    • Later on you find out the people of the future are gormless buffoons who endlessly parrot corporate slogans and are causing a famine through their own gross incompetence and mismanagement, and it's up to you, the unfrozen everyman, to maybe save these people from themselves. Your Firefly game just became an Idiocracy video game.

    Web Animation 
  • The first season of Nomad of Nowhere is a western/fantasy/anime mashup that follows two women, the tough-as-nails Captain Toth and her cute-as-a-button companion Skout, hot on the heels of the Nomad, an enigmatic individual with mysterious powers, the largest bounty in the world on his head and a surprisingly gentle nature. It's basically Rooster Teeth meets Trigun.
  • Speaking of Rooster Teeth, Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy initially seems to be setting this up in regards of Star Wars, with the idea of La Résistance vs. The Empire, evil white-armored soldiers, an antagonistic Darth Vader Clone, one of the main heroes using an Energy Blade, and even the name of the planet (Chorus/Coruscant). However, this is completely subverted halfway through the arc in Season 12. From then on out, this trope is actually played (relatively) straight in regards to The Magnificent Seven.
  • Episode 3 of Tomorrow's Nobodies is essentially the plot of Half Baked mixed with Daddy Day Care.
  • Ollie & Scoops: "Old Crumplecranks" is based on certain Fleischer Studios cartoons, especially Minnie the Moocher and The Old Man of the Mountain. Poopsie and Rudy decide they don't like living in the city and decide to run away to Mount Cattywumpus. The other cats warn the two about an evil, murderous cat named Old Crumplecranks who lives there, but the two cats ignore the warnings and go to Mount Cattywumpus anyway. Old Crumplecranks shows up and sings a Villain Song introducing himself, . To hammer it in, the Inkblot Cartoon Style and jazz music are used frequently in the episode, and some direct quotes, like the Old Man of the Mountain's "[I'm] gonna do the best I can," are used in the episode.

    Web Comics 
  • PvP did a series of strips echoing the plot of Watchmen when the movie came out, but due to the difference in mediums, Scott Kurtz used syndicated cartoon characters and called it "The Ombudsmen". They mapped onto the Watchmen superheroes (Dagwood for Dr. Manhattan, Dilbert for Ozymandias, etc.) surprisingly well.
  • Jane's World's current arc is literally The Last Star Fighter with lesbians.
  • Just Peachy does this in one story arc with the movie Singin' in the Rain. They even reference the movie in this strip.
  • Many Sluggy Freelance parodies cobble together from different works in a genre, but the "Torg Potter" storylines were mostly whole plot.
  • Rhapsodies had an episode about the adventures of the house band in Casablanca. A later Halloween Episode blends the The Rocky Horror Picture Show with A Chinese Ghost Story.
  • Zortic before the reboot consisted almost exclusively in this.
  • Pastamonsters has some heavy references to Gravity Falls. Most notable are "Not What He Seems" and the Bill Cipher episodes, with Zalgo in Bill's place.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
  • The plot of Season 2 of Noob is basically The Lord of the Rings: an unexpected and weak character (Frodo / Sparadrap) gets a cursed item (the One Ring / the hacked staff) and has to travel to a hostile area at the end of the world to get rid of it. One member of his party betrays him to steal the item and use it himself (Boromir / Omega Zell).

    Western Animation 

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fable Remake


BB - Dead Chefs Society

In Season 4 "Bob and Deliver", the episode references "Dead Poets Society" with Bob being the teacher who inspires his students, and they even have the kids standing on their desks in support of their teacher.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / WholePlotReference

Media sources:

Main / WholePlotReference