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  • Our Miss Brooks: Many radio scripts were reworked and adapted for television.
    • i.e. "The Auction", "Aunt Mattie Boynton", "The Birthday Bag", "Blue Goldfish", "Bones, Son of Cyrano", "Business Course", "The Cafeteria Strike", "Clay City Chaperone", "Cure That Habit", "The Embezzled Dress", "Fisher's Pawn Shop", "The Hawkins Travel Agency", "The Hobby Show", "The Honest Burglar", "The Hurricane", "June Bride", "Madison Mascot", "The Magic Christmas Tree", "Marinated Hearing", "Monsieur Leblanc", "The Model Teacher", "Old Marblehead", "Red River Valley", "Secondhand First Aid", "Spare That Rod", "Suzy Prentiss", "Thanksgiving Show", "Trial by Jury", "Trying to Pick A Fight", "Two-Way Stretch Snodgrass", "Wild Goose", "The Wrong Mrs. Boynton", and "The Yodar Kritch Award".
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  • Little House on the Prairie: A number of episodes throughout the run use recycled Michael Landon-written scripts from Bonanza, or heavily use themes from those episodes. Examples are "A Matter of Faith," "Someone Please Love Me," "The Silent Cry," the first part of "He Was Only Twelve," "Little Lou" and "The Older Brothers."
  • Science Fiction writer Ib Melchior wrote and directed The Time Travelers, which ends with the protagonists returning to the lab where everything started, discovering that time seems to be standing still but is actually moving imperceptibly slowly, and having to Move in the Frozen Time. Soon afterwards, Melchior co-wrote an episode of The Outer Limits (1963) titled "The Premonition", which takes the climax of The Time Travelers and develops it into a hour-long story.
  • This trope was the basis for the early 2000s NBC show called The Rerun Show in which a group of actors took actual scripts of old shows such as Bewitched and Married... with Children, and used the same exact dialog, while spoofing the show with props and actions.
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  • The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman shared a fair number of scripts. The most obvious of these was a plot involving a crash on a remote island, stranding the bionic individual with a lot of extras plus a coworker from OSI (Oscar for Steve, Rudy for Jaime). The coworker is seriously injured, but there is a doctor among the survivors who can save him despite the primitive conditions; to help him do so, though, Steve/Jaime must cut open a finger on their bionic hand and bare two wires so that the doctor can cauterize a blood vessel.
  • Not the same show, but from the same writer: Kenneth Johnson wrote the two part The Six Million Dollar Man episode introducing Jaime, who was to be married to Steve until her bionics (recently acquired in the course of the two-parter's first half) malfunctioned and she ran amuck during a tropical storm, after which she died from her condition. A couple of years later Kenny would write the season two opener of The Incredible Hulk, where David Banner fell in love with a doctor with a terminal brain disease — that causes her to run amuck in a tropical storm until she died.
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  • The Bionic Woman and Gemini Man once shared a script about a lookalike for the title character infiltrating the agency where she/he works despite being ignorant of the main character's superhuman abilities. They are an assassin, targeting the main character's superior. At the climax, the hero(ine) and the double are both claiming to be the real deal; the hero(ine) proves his/her identity by using their special abilities — one by bionic-jumping to the top of a tree, the other by turning invisible.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century had a script, "Journey To Oasis", which was very nearly identical to the original Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel". Actor Mark Lenard even appeared in both, playing very nearly the same character.
  • In what is probably a specialized case, The New Odd Couple recycled eight scripts that were written for the original version of The Odd Couple. ABC did this intentionally in order to have a series with 'fresh' episodes as the industry headed into a writer's strike.
    • The Odd Couple 2015 recycled the play/movie plot (Oscar takes Felix in, throws him out, and Felix moves in with the sisters living in the apartment) for the show's pilot. On a talk show Matthew Perry (Oscar) said, "As a co-writer of the pilot it hurts me to say this, but the funniest joke in the script is one we lifted from the play — 'You keep leaving little notes...We're out of corn flakes, F.U. ... It took me three hours to realize F.U. Was Felix Unger!"
  • An episode of Step by Step had a similar plot to an episode of Happy Days. A character is dating a woman. Another character suspects that the woman may secretly be a popular stripper. They notice that the woman has a very distinctive laugh. So they hire the stripper in order to make her laugh and prove her identity.
    • Another episode had a plot that is more or less like an episode of Family Ties, where the family's eldest child wants a more mature birthday party and has one behind the mother's back. After being caught by the mother, the two have an argument until she realizes that it was the exact time she had her first-born child.
  • Similarly, Star Trek: The Next Generation recycled two scripts ("The Child" and " Devil's Due") that had been written for Star Trek: Phase II, the original proposed sequel series to Star Trek: The Original Series (they decided to do movies instead). The Next Generation also recycled some scripts that were used in the Original Series (most prominently "The Naked Now", which also referenced the episode it was recycling, "The Naked Time").
    • About the first half of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Future Imperfect" was suspiciously close to the G.I. Joe episode "There's No Place Like Springfield," written by the same authors. Just swap Riker for Shipwreck and...
    • After three years of the original series and eighteen years for its spin-offs, scripts began to be borrowed and recycled from within each show and across the franchise as a whole. For example, the basic script for the original series episode "Elaan of Troyius" was recycled twice. It got particularly bad with Enterprise, which was accused of being a recycle of Voyager as a whole set in the past.
    • The Enterprise episode "Doctor's Orders" is virtually identical to the Voyager episode "One".
    • The ending of Star Trek: Nemesis was the ending of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And the first half of Nemesis was the first half of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
    • Not only was Star Trek: The Motion Picture's plot based on the script for the cancelled Phase II pilot, but it bore a striking similarity to an episode from the original series, "The Changeling".
    • The Enterprise episode "Home" was similar to the Next Generation episode "Family". Both dealt with the Enterprise returning to Earth and the crew going on shore leave to visit their families and friends. Both were done so the characters and viewers could recover from the previous episodes, which had been emotionally trying for everyone ("Best of Both Worlds" for Next Generation, the entire Xindi arc for Enterprise). However, "Home" did serve a higher purpose, introducing three plot elements that would be expanded upon later (T'Pol's political problems and arranged marriage, human xenophobia, and the character of Erika Hernandez, captain of the starship Columbia). Short version: "Home" was "Family" with a few Chekhov's Guns.
    • "Oasis" from Enterprise was extremely similar to "Shadowplay" from Deep Space Nine, both being about isolated societies that turn out to mostly consist of holograms created by the one real person to stave off loneliness after the people they're based on were all killed. "Oasis" even brought back Deep Space Nine cast member Rene Auberjonois, who immediately pointed out the similarity.
      • This also served as the plot of a short story in the Star Trek manga anthology.
    • Enterprise also has the episode "Chosen Realm", an obvious redo of the original series' "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Both deal with aliens who are at war over a trivial matter reflecting society at the time (having different colored skin, or a trivial religious debate), who ultimately return to their planet to discover that everyone has long since killed each other.
  • Star Trek: Voyager was often considered just a recycle of Star Trek: The Next Generation. For example, the Next Generation episode "Lonely Among Us" featured an Energy Being that is able to possess people and machines, and takes over the ship. Voyager's " The Haunting of Deck Twelve" used almost exactly the same plotline, but with the Framing Device of having Neelix telling the story of what happened to some children. By chance (probably), the Voyager episode ended up airing back-to-back with a repeat of the Next Generation episode when it was shown on BBC2.
  • 24 scripts on Bewitched were recycled scene by scene. One was recycled twice. Most of these were episodes featuring the first Darrin that were recycled with The Other Darrin while others were black and white episode remade in colour. Since some were two-parters, this means a total of 55 of the 254 episodes, 22% of the entire show, weren't unique. In addition to these completely recycled scripts, there were also many that had similar premises but were different in the particulars, and many individual scenes and gags that were recycled in otherwise original episodes.
  • The Married... with Children episode "Wabbit Season" is a Denser and Wackier rehash of "Build a Better Mouse Trap", in which Al tries to thwart a small animal bothering him. How much wackier? It leads to the Bundy house blowing up.
  • Disney does this a lot in their live-action shows. Boy Meets World and That's So Raven both had a Very Special Episode about racism. In both, the black friend gets denied a job because he's black, and video evidence is used to get the word out.
  • The Good Luck Charlie Two-Part Episode "Special Delivery" is similar to the Full House two-parter "Happy Birthday Babies", where the youngest daughter (Charlie and Michelle respectively) have a birthday on the same day that the new baby characters are born (Charlie's brother Toby and Michelle's twin cousins Nicky and Alex).
  • Stargate Atlantis has reused a few scripts from Stargate SG-1, usually with a Lampshade Hanging. In the Atlantis episode, "The Intruder", McKay comments on how the SGC faced a similar situation before (in the SG-1 episode "Entity"). The SG-1 episode "Grace" has a sister Atlantis episode "Grace Under Pressure". There was even a week in which the two shows, airing back-to-back, featured very similar, yet unrelated enemies haunting each team's base: SG-1 had to deal with Anubis in "Lockdown", and the Atlantis team faced an alien being in "Hide and Seek". Both enemies took the form of inky black Energy Beings and were disposed of the same way — through the stargate.
    • In a plot spanning several episodes, the home base has been infiltrated and all but conquered by a ruthless enemy; simultaneously, a cataclysm outside is threatening to destroy the base if the conflict cannot be ended quickly enough. Stargate Atlantis ("The Storm") and Stargate Universe ("Incursion").
  • Two episodes of Stargate SG-1 several years apart both featured O'Neill being implanted with an Ancient Omniscient Database that gave him access to tremendous lost wisdom but was slowly killing him. In both episodes, his fading language ability was a serious obstacle, and in both episodes, the solution depended on him using his newfound mysterious knowledge to activate some powerful Applied Phlebotinum to reach the Asgard for help. However, this was more of a twist or deconstruction of the Recycled Script trope rather than playing it straight, because differences between the episodes highlighted how the show had changed over the years. The first time, downloading the Omniscient Database was by accident and O'Neill had to MacGyver the Phlebotinum from scratch to reach the Asgard, who they barely knew anything about at this point, and that was the whole point of the episode. The second time, downloading the database was a last-ditch attempt to resolve the season's Plot Arc, so actually finding a cure wasn't as important as finding something else in the database. The team had access to a fair amount of alien technology of their own by this point, and Daniel could even speak a bit of Ancient to translate for Jack.
    • The SG-1 episode "Arthur's Mantle" rehashes the plot of the much earlier episode "Crystal Skull". Sam and Cam, after being moved to an alternate dimension, immediately realize the similarity and try to skip straight to the solution: talk to someone who had also been to an alternate dimension. Unfortunately, it turns out their dimension is different from the one Daniel went to so they have to figure out another method of communication.
    • Writer Katharyn Powers's first episode of SG-1, "Emancipation", was a recycled script of an episode she wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Code of Honor". Both episodes are considered some of the worst episodes their franchises ever produced.
  • Mission: Impossible:
    • The late-1980s remake recycled four scripts from the original series virtually verbatim. The show did debut right in the middle of the 1988 Writer's Strike. (Which didn't prevent two of the writers taking their names off the remakes.). One episode improved on the original when Greg Morris guest starred as a retired Barney who gets wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey instead of the original episode's random victim-of-the-week.
      Barney Jim?!? Is that you? Hell, you retired before I did!"
      Jim Phelps Do any of us really retire?
    • Incidentally, the original series reworked some episodes in its final season (compare "Two Thousand" to season one's "Operation Rogosh," both of which involve men plotting to wipe out millions of Americans and a plan to unmask the scheme by making the villain think it's the future).
  • The X-Files:
    • They reworked season one episode "Ice" (about a group of scientists trapped in Alaska who deal with a parasitic alien that caused its victims to turn psychopathic and eventually die) into the season two episode "Firewalker" (you can probably guess the main difference). Both were based, in turn, on the classic John W. Campbell short story "Who Goes There?".
    • "One Breath" and "Audrey Pauley", aired seven seasons apart, are almost exactly the same episode, just with a different partnership in the spotlight. Both involve the female half of the team (Scully and Reyes, respectively) falling into a coma after a traumatic event, and eventually being declared braindead. While in a coma, they have their own sub-plot on a different plane of existence. Meanwhile, the male half of the team (Mulder and Dogget, respectively), run around trying to figure out the paranormal aspect of the episode, as well as try to find a way to bring the female half of the team out of the coma and threatening bodily harm to those who attempt to shut off life support. There are a few minor differences: "One Breath" was part of the show's Myth Arc while "Audrey Pauley" was season 9 filler, "Audrey Pauley" had a more clear-cut paranormal aspect to it, and the causes of the coma are quite different. However, the scripts are so similar that in some scenes, Doggett repeats Mulder word-for-word. This also brings about a few Funny Aneurysm Moments. While "One Breath" was meant to show the deepening bond of Mulder and Scully's friendship, "Audrey Pauley" was used explicitly to showcase Doggett and Reyes' romantic relationship. Using almost the exact same script. It also makes Scully's unsympathetic nature towards Doggett rather ironic—she is the one making the arrangements to take Reyes off life support and donate her organs, and thinks Doggett is crazy for trying to save her. It's justified in that she was in a coma for almost all of "One Breath" and didn't see Mulder do the exact same thing, but it's still makes her seem like that much more callous.
  • The Avengers occasionally recycled its own scripts during the Emma Peel seasons, when Cathy Gale scripts would be given an overhaul. For example, "The Joker" is a creepier version of the Gale story "Don't Look Behind You," and "The £50,000 Breakfast" is a remake of "Death Of A Great Dane."
    • Likewise the New Avengers episode "Complex" is essentially a remake of the original series episode "Killer".
  • The plot of the Thunder in Paradise episode "Endangered Species" (a wolf child turns out to be the heir of a murdered co-owner of an aviation company, and the other co-owner wants to finish the job) was also featured in an episode of The Wizard with the same title. Before that, it was an episode of Manimal, "Female of the Species". The same writers - Michael Berk and Douglas Schwartz - are credited for all three.
  • One episode of The Brady Bunch in which Bobby pretends he's sick in order to get a visit from his favorite professional athlete, Joe Namath, was later re-used on Diff'rent Strokes with Muhammad Ali.
  • After Curly Howard's stroke, The Three Stooges attempted to get the audience attached to his replacement Shemp by making several of their old shorts over again with Shemp in the Curly part. Results were less than successful.
  • Both Out of This World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch did episodes where a hurt finger prevented the protagonist from using her magical powers at a key moment.
    • And where the magical protagonist used her powers to catch someone paying off a shady character, and deciding that the "only possible explanation" was that they were involved in illegal activities, only to later have to undo the damage to their reputation when it turns out that they were actually doing charity work while trying to protect the privacy of the charity recipients.
    • Sabrina recycled one of its own ideas: Sabrina and her friends are magically given musical talent in order to gain fame, which threatens to destroy their friendship. The two episodes were several seasons apart, and the details were different, but the basic plot is the same.
  • Not exactly the entire script, but when Adam West guest starred on The Big Bang Theory, many of his lines were recycled from his previous guest appearance on The Simpsons.
  • USA High seemed to rip off quite a few Saved by the Bell premises and plots (mainly because both shows shared the same producers and writers).
  • The Twilight Zone tended to run into this somewhat, especially considering that it is An Aesop as discussed in the main article. Particularly interesting is that two episodes of the same recycled script will end with the Family-Unfriendly Aesop version of the other's moral.
    • Most noticeably "Mr Bevis"/"Cavender is Coming" (though in fairness, both were written by Rod Serling - and both were prospective pilots for a series about guardian angels, which didn't fly. It would be a while before CBS managed to pull it off) and "The Dummy"/"Caesar And Me".
  • Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda was rife with this. First off, several basic concepts for the series were recycled from other aborted Gene Roddenberry TV projects. The character of Dylan Hunt, complete with name, was borrowed from Planet Earth and Genesis II, a pair of never-picked-up TV pilots from the 1970's about a man frozen in time for 300 years who awakens to find civilization in ruins following a nuclear war. The idea of the starship's computer AI being self-aware and having a female body it could walk around in was stolen from a rejected early concept for what eventually became Star Trek: The Next Generation. Another rejected Star Trek spinoff concept had featured a Federation starship, the USS Andromeda, frozen in time at the edge of a black hole, released 300 years later to find the Federation had fallen in a war with the Klingons, and the crew deciding to rebuild The Federation. On top of all that, an early episode featuring Dylan Hunt being able to briefly communicate with his wife who was still stuck back in the past was based on a rejected script for Star Trek: Voyager by the same screenwriters, and which bears a striking resemblance to a script that did get green-lit for Voyager in Season 1 to boot.
    • Perhaps this makes the "quantum slipstream drive" that becomes a plot point in latter seasons of Voyager a bizarre hybrid of Shout-Out and Mythology Gag.
  • An episode of Friends had Monica obsessing over a switch which didn't seem to do anything, and spent the episode going to further and further extremes to figure out what the switch did. The episode ended with her flicking it on and off, deciding that it did nothing, but we see it actually turns the TV on and off in Chandler and Joey's apartment. A clear recycle of a Married... with Children episode where Al spends the episode obsessing over a switch that doesn't seem to do anything, going to further and further extremes to figure out what it did. The episode ended with Al flicking it on and off, deciding that it did nothing, but we see that it actually turns the lights on and off in the dog house.
    • This was further recycled from (or into) a bit in Stephen Wright's stand-up comedy routine, where he tells of having such a switch in his house which he flicked randomly every time he passed it — until he got a letter from a woman in China demanding he knock it off.
    • Recycled again into a Nationwide Insurance commercial, featuring a man asking his wife the question while repeatedly toggling the switch. Cut to the neighbor's car getting smashed by the neighbor's garage door cycling up and down with the switch.
    • Another episode of Friends had Chandler learning a lesson about not breaking up with women over petty little reasons — something which he'd never done before, and would never do again, throughout the history of the show. The exact same thing happened to JD in an episode of Scrubs, but it had already been established as a plot device in an episode from an earlier season that JD has never broken up with a girlfriend in his entire life, ever.
      • The above paragraph was recycled from the Broken Aesop entry.
  • In its last two seasons, MacGyver started recycling material from its earlier seasons, but with more emphasis on the Aesop than on the story itself.
  • MST3K reused several of the films they riffed on during their initial season on a local UHF station after going national. Several host segment sketches were also remade later.
  • The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town is just Santa Claus is Coming to Town with the origins of Easter traditions in place of Christmas traditions.
  • Kids Incorporated did pretty well for its first five seasons, but recycled stories from the early years abounded in the later seasons. For example, season 6's "Karate Kids" is almost identical to season 1's "The Bully" (The only substantive difference is that Robin actually learns Karate, whereas The Kid just pretended to have done so), down to the opening scene where the bullied character sneaks on-stage and performs wearing a Conspicuous Trenchcoat and dark glasses. Also, at least three episodes, near-carbon-copies of each other, have the Kids get a taste of super-stardom which nearly breaks the band up as they all forget how to work together.
  • Possible case: Both How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement featured an episode where the show's resident Lothario runs into the older woman to whom he lost his virginity (complete with "Mrs. Robinson" reference). The Lothario, reminded of his poor early performance, determines to sleep with her again despite her having gone from middle-aged to a senior citizen, and Hilarity Ensues. What made this example stick out so much is the the episodes in question first aired on the same night, on the same channel, within an hour of each other.
  • Two episodes in the fourth series of Monty Python's Flying Circus consisted largely of material lifted from the first draft of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Some of this material was written by John Cleese, who otherwise had nothing to do with the fourth series.
    • Monty Python did this earlier with for instance the "Silly Job Interview sketch", where Chapman is forced to do all kinds of stuff while Cleese taunts him by ringing a bell and doing bizarre things. This sketch was originally from How To Irritate People, where all the Python actors performed in, except for Terry Gilliam and is almost exactly the same.
    • One of the earliest examples was the famed "Dead Parrot sketch", which was a rewrite of another How To Irritate People sketch featuring a car salesman.
  • One of the episodes of ABC's Revival of Columbo - "Uneasy Lies the Crown" - was a remake of an episode of McMillan & Wife (by then just called McMillan) titled "Affair of the Heart" in which a dentist manages to kill someone and not be anywhere near the crime scene by placing digitalis under a newly capped tooth. The script was originally written for Columbo in 1973, but Peter Falk rejected it due to the villain not being interesting enough. Apparently, by the time he changed his mind, no one realized someone else had already used it...
  • The season 1 M*A*S*H episode "The Ringbanger" has Hawkeye and Trapper gaslighting a colonel (Leslie Nielsen) who has gained "twice as many casualties but only half the ground" as other commanders into thinking he has battle fatigue and needs leave to cool off. "White Gold", the second last episode of season three, has Hawkeye and Trapper remove Colonel Flagg's appendix to send him stateside for several weeks. While it's Played for Laughs, a similar plot would be used to much more serious effect in season 7's "Preventive Medicine": in that episode, Hawkeye performs an unnecessary appendectomy on a gung-ho colonel so he can't lead his troops into a suicidal objective (provoking an enemy attack on a hill he was ordered to avoid), but B.J. will have nothing to do with it, accusing Hawkeye of violating their ethical code as doctors. So, the plot was recycled not once, but twice.
    • The second example is more of recycling a single plot tool, as the real goal wasn't to get Flagg sent stateside but rather to get him unconscious for a while so they can steal back the penicillin and hide it. (Though arranging it "so the colonel leaves us alone indefinitely" was definitely a side goal.)
    • Ken Levine, one of the show's executive story editors at the time of the later episode, has stated that the similar plot was entirely unintentional, and that when they discovered it they were so embarrassed that they deliberately had their episode scheduled opposite the Academy Awards ceremony so it would be seen by the smallest possible audience.
    • A more egregious example is season 3's "Payday", in which Hawkeye is the pay officer, comes up $10 over, and after complaining that he could have earned $3000 in his civilian practice, Radar arranges for Hawkeye to receive compensation for lost civilian wages (Hawkeye then donates it to the orphanage), then replaces it with the winnings Trapper won using Hawkeye's watch. In season 8's "Back Pay", Hawkeye is outraged over civilian doctors making $4 an x-ray for draft examinations, and bills the Army out the amount he would have earned were he paid the same rate as civilian doctors.
  • Heroes, "Six Months Ago" v. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Help": Character tries to save girl from predestined death by murder (Sylar/some crazy cult)? Check. Girl ends up dying anyway of medical causes? Check (blood clot/heart attack). The girls' names are even similar: Charlie and Cassie.
    • Although Hiro eventually does manage to get Sylar to save Charlie.
  • The short-lived syndicated version of Bustin Loose (starring Jimmie "JJ" Walker) lifted several scripts wholesale from Walker's previous show, Good Times, usually nearly word-for-word.
  • Bizarre example: In this video about North Korea's long-running "comedy"/propaganda TV show, it's mentioned that they've recycled a "comedy" bit about beans from 20 years ago. (Newswire reports mention that the show has been "delivering the same material over and over again".)
  • As mentioned in the main article, American Western TV shows of the fifties and sixties were more or less made of this trope; Warner Bros. had a policy of reusing scripts across their various shows to save money on writers, changing only the names of the primary characters and the locations, as well as changes made for time and pacing when a script for an hour long show was used for a half hour long show later. Roger Moore had already read lines originally written for Maverick years before he joined the cast of the show while working on another show, The Alaskans, for instance.
  • Charmed had two separate episodes (in season six and season eight), each about three evil witch sisters who steal the Charmed sisters' identities and make everyone else magically think they are them. Except for different supporting characters (Chris in one, Billie in the other), they were eerily similar episodes.
    • Even better: said episode has the villains trying to steal their house and trapping the real sisters in a dollhouse, elements at least very close to the seventh season finale and the fourth season episode "Size Matters."
    • Season eight has an episode where Piper and Leo visit a marriage counselor...again! And their problems are resolved by a "Freaky Friday" Flip, which is pretty much their subplot in "Siren's Song."note 
  • Merlin has quite a small pool of writers, and by the third season, you can tell. The episode "The Changeling" (in which a princess is possessed by a fairy and betrothed to Arthur) is a melding of season two's "Sweet Dreams" (Arthur is put under a spell and falls in love with a spoilt noble-girl) and "Beauty and the Beast" (a troll puts Uther under a love spell and marries him), and the episode "Gwaine" has elements of "The Once And Future Queen" (assassins come to Camelot and try to kill Arthur under the guise of participants in a tournament). Hell, practically every single episode is a variation of a) magical creature tries to kill Uther/Arthur, b) Arthur goes on quest to prove himself worthy of kingdom, c) evil woman seduces one of the Pendragons, or d) someone needs rescuing from the dungeons after being falsely accused of magic.
  • Paul Merton in Galton & Simpson's... was a series of recycled scripts by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (some from Hancock's Half Hour), with the most significant differences being that Hancock's exclamation of "Stone me!" was removed, and that in one episode Sid James's character (who in the original shared a bedroom with Hancock) is replaced by Merton's then wife, Caroline Quentin.
  • Invoked by Wheel of Fortune during a "Going Green" week in April 2011 (with environmentally-friendly prizes and an overall Green Aesop-ish motif). On the April 6 episode, host Pat Sajak informed them that every puzzle was "recycled" from a previous episode (episodes in the 1990s, to be specific). To drive the point home, a clip from the 1990s episode in question was spliced into the start of each round.
    • In a more straightforward example, the show has recycled puzzles very many times. Prize Puzzles are most guilty of constantly being some variation on "relaxing in the sun/in the sand/on the beach".
  • After Jason Jones wound up hung over with a facial tattoo, the night after Osama Bin Laden was killed:
    Jon Stewart: Didn't this... didn't almost that exact same thing just happen to you, like, two years ago?
    Jason Jones: Still a funny premise.
  • The I Spy episode "Bet Me A Dollar", in which the partners set up a large-scale game of hide-and-seek that turns abruptly serious when it's revealed that the hiding partner has been poisoned, was recycled as Starsky & Hutch's "The Game".
  • Dan Schneider has several cases since Drake & Josh where an episode has been a direct lift of an earlier episode in another series.
    • He also has a massive tendency to repeat jokes. One example being the "three legged cat" joke.
      • Both Cat Valentine and Carly Shay have suffered the indignity of not being asked to a prom. One of these girls not being asked is ridiculous, both simply wouldn't happen.
    • A major character falls in love with another one, only for the Anti-Hero sidekick to come along and say that the love is superficial, leading to the couple breaking up, allowing the show to continue with Status Quo Is God. This describes both the Josh Loves Mindy episode of Drake & Josh and the iSaved Your Life episode of iCarly.
    • The two "iPsycho" episodes are the same thing with minor changes to the resolution.
    • In his review, PieGuyRulz notes that the pilots of iCarly and Game Shakers are pretty similar. Both involve the protagonists getting assigned a school project, their teachers not liking the results, and the protagonists posting it online, where it becomes popular. The main difference between the two is that iCarly is about online videos, while Game Shakers is about a gaming app.
  • After the success of its mass trauma episode "Blizzard" and its "one doctor, one case" episode "Love's Labor Lost", ER began trotting out similar episodes each season. This got so common that fans came up with a Memetic Mutation of "a _________at a______________floods the ER with patients" to describe certain episodes.
  • Both Los Serrano and Aida had a plot where one of the guys would be Mistaken for Gay and he would try to clear it out, just to discover women suddenly don't mind being naked around him, and then keeps the lie to take advantage of that. In both cases, the guy tries to get the girl he likes to strip, but she won't, and also in both cases, the guy tries to get some with the girl saying she's making him rethink about his sexuality. In both cases, the girl hits him.
  • Dragnet liked to recycle scripts at various points. One notable one was the Christmas episode involving a poor boy who took the statue of the child Jesus from the church he attended because he'd finally gotten the red wagon he asked for and wanted to give the child Jesus the first ride. It was done on the '50s TV series (then rebroadcast on radio) and the '60s remake.
  • Forever Knight recycled several unused first season scripts into season 3, which was why Captains Stonetree and Reese were both named Joe. All they had to do was switch last names and replace Nick's first partner, Don Schanke, with his second partner, Tracy Vetter.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" has Xander convince a witch to do a love spell on him, which results in hundreds of women falling in love with him and him almost getting killed. "Him" has a character use a magic letter jacket that makes women fall in love with him and causes similar mayhem. The latter episode has a flashback of the previous episode and Xander fondly reminiscing about it, apparently forgetting about the almost getting killed part.
    • "Spin the Bottle" seems to be the Angel equivalent to Buffy's "Tabula Rasa": the main characters experience amnesia due to a spell gone awry and Hilarity Ensues. Both episodes also feature massive Mood Whiplash in their respective final scenes resulting in a somber ending.
    • Angel had three female characters who were main cast members (names in the credits). The first dies due to a conspiracy to inject an ancient goddess inside of her to possess her body. The second dies due to a conspiracy to inject an ancient goddess inside of her to possess her body. The third dies due to a random vampire attacking her during a big brawl and dies due to a demon possessing her body, although this occurred prior to her joining the show and didn't seem to change her personality much.....Progress?
    • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: There was an episode of Angel about a shy scientist who liked to sing and was in love with a red-head. He built a machine that could stop time to solve his relationship problems...
      • Angel also had a plot in Season 5, in which the death of a character was used to get into an evil organization. Angel pretended to be involved in his friend Fred's death to infiltrate the Circle of The Black Thorn and Dr. Horrible's involvement in Penny's death filled the qualification to enter Bad Horse's Evil League of Evil.
  • A.N.T. Farm had a plot similar to the iCarly episode "iEnrage Gibby" in which the newspaper mistakenly reports that Spencer is dead and he keeps the charade going because his art is worth more is he is dead. However, on A.N.T. Farm, Fletcher isn't in on it and apparently only one art buyer is under the mistaken impression that Fletcher is dead.
  • The episode of Boy Meets World "Things Change" is very similar to the Doug episode "Doug's Last Birthday" due to Cory being overwhelmed with the changes in his life. Many of them are similar such as the mom being pregnant, the local hangout changing names and theme, and the protagonist not being able to go to school with the girl of interest.
  • Snavely's was a failed 1979 pilot for ABC starring Harvey Korman which was based on the BBC series Fawlty Towers. In fact, that pilot was a recycled edition of a Fawlty Towers episode.
  • Concentration took a puzzle, "Let's Pick Up Where We Left Off," (lets / pick axe + cup / wh + air / we / arrow pointing left / light switch on "off") and reused it later as "Pick Up Where We Left off" by simply lopping off the word "Let's."
  • The Lois & Clark episode "All Shook Up" has the same storyline as the The Adventures of Superman episode "Panic in the Sky": A meteor heads for Earth, Superman tries to stop it and plummets to Earth with amnesia. The other regulars attempt to help Clark Kent with his amnesia, Superman seems to have disappeared, and the meteor's still coming... The main difference is that Lois and Clark adds the obligitory relationship subplots, and Ma and Pa Kent (who unlike the Planet staff in both versions, know Clark's secret and can tell him about it).
  • JAG: "Scimitar" in season 1 and "The Black Jet" in season 4 both feature an American service member captured by a hostile government on their soil, subjected to a Kangaroo Court, and ultimately set free by Harmon Rabb.
  • Hee Haw: Almost 20 years of recycled scripts, and not just segments recurring, but their entire content repeated. It became so monotonous that even bloopers passed for 'improv'.
  • The The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "The Big Four-Oh" recycles elements from The Dick Van Dyke Show episode "To Tell Or Not to Tell". In each episode, the mothers take the opportunity to rededicate themselves to dance in the hopes of finding out whether they could have "made it" if they hadn't taken different paths. Both episodes end with the women rising to the occasion and gaining the validation they sought, while acknowledging the physical strain dancing put on their (now older) bodies.
    Laura Petrie: "There isn't a bone in my body that isn't screaming out "for heaven's sake! Lie down in a hot tub!""
    Vivian Banks: "There isn't a part of my body that isn't aching for Ben-Gay!"
  • Grey's Anatomy: There were at least two instances of a department head surgeon injuring their hand and temporarily being unable to perform surgery.
    • One of the doctors falling in love with a patient who ends up dying.
    • April and Jackson's Will They or Won't They? is compared to that of Mark and Lexie, although almost every pairing on the show has some form of it.
    • The storyline of the title of Chief Resident being given to someone who isn't cut out for the job. Callie in the beginning, who is replaced by Bailey, and April, although April surprisingly improves and ends up being surprisingly good at it.
    • George and April both surprisingly fail their medical board exams due to the stress in their lives. While George does so an intern and has to repeat the year, April fails a more difficult exam in her last year of residency and is rehired after being fired so she can do better on her second try.
    • Izzie and Meredith both get into enough trouble to possibly get fired (for cutting a patient's LVAD wire and tampering with a clinical trial, respectively) but still being Easily Forgiven. In Izzie's case, she quits before she gets fired and Meredith is rehired when someone else takes the fall for her.
    • Someone who doesn't want children gets pregnant while someone who does want children can't.
  • In Revolution, the protagonist, Charlie, has been given the responsibility of taking care of her younger brother Danny since she was young because their mother died and their father wasn't always around. Dean and Sam of creator Eric Kripke's earlier series Supernatural have a similar kind of relationship for the same reasons.
  • In the first season of The West Wing, the staff has a "safe" nominee for Supreme Court Justice (moderate-liberal, older white man, no apparent cause for controversy), find out he has a major judicial flaw, and decide to throw it all in behind a really liberal Hispanic, Mendoza, who was only on the short list for appearances; getting him on the bench takes a few episodes. In the fifth season episode "The Supremes," made after Sorkin's departure, they have another "safe" moderate candidate who again has a major judicial flaw and the staff decides to throw it all in for a really liberal woman who they only brought in to worry the Republicans, but in one episode this time. Nobody mentions Mendoza in the latter instance.
  • Kamen Rider has repeated its tropes from time to time and even recycled scripts. Examples include:
    • A Hates My Alter Ego plot where the Second Rider believes the main Rider is a murderer/villain, but the two of them are good friends in their civilian identities. The conflict is resolved peacefully when the Second Rider sees the hero de-transform and realizes that a good person like him could never be evil. (Agito and Kiva.)
    • The Riders' Mysterious Benefactor turns out to have sinister ulterior motives for helping the heroes; redemption may or may not follow. (Double, Fourze, and Wizard) Double and Fourze take it a step further by having the mentors encourage the heroes to embrace The Power of Hate, only for the heroes to prove that The Power of Friendship is far stronger.
    • A MacGuffin is heavily involved in the last stretch of the series, with it usually falling in the hands of the heroine of the story. (Double, Fourze, Wizard, and Gaim).
  • The introduction of the Titanium Ranger in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue is for all intents and purposes an updated version of the original "Green With Evil" (the arc that introduced the Green Ranger) storyline from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
  • The first episode of Power Rangers Megaforce borders on being a complete remake of the first episode of Mighty Morphin'. A less blatant example is the Super Megaforce episode "The Grass is Always Greener (or Bluer)", which recycles the "Freaky Friday" Flip plot of the episode "Switching Places".
  • The Wizards vs. Aliens episode "The Thirteenth Floor" was originally written as an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, before the death of Lis Sladen. Phil Ford rewrote it to fit Wizards vs. Aliens, replacing Clyde and Rani with Tom and Lexi to add an Enemy Mine situation.
  • An In-Universe example from: What's Happening!!: Raj wrote a spec script to send in to a TV station involved the teenagers on a show finding a bag of jewels in a garbage can. When an episode featuring the same plot aired, Raj called the station and accused them of plagiarizing him. The TV executive showed him the script from the episode, along with two previously-aired scripts with exactly the same plot.
  • Parodied in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Recycles Their Trash". The episode reuses jokes, ideas, dialogue, plot points, and even one-shot characters from past episodes, with Dee lampshading the whole thing and pointing out it's all very similar to stuff they've done in the past.
  • The new Hawaii Five-0 intentionally remade an episode from the original series. The episode, Hookman, features the same plot with some modifications to fit the new series. In the original, McGarrett was the cop who caused the villain to lose his hands. The remake changes this to McGarrett's father. To further the homage, the episode's credits reverted to the original shows font and color.
  • In a later episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, we learn that Stabler, who already had an abusive (and now dead) father, also has a mentally ill mother. Now just where has that storyline been seen before?
    • Even better, while response to the latter was "Can't they just get back to the perspectives of the criminals, like they used to?", the response of the former actually won the actress an Emmy.
  • The Torchwood episode "From Out of the Rain", written by P J Hammond, has extreme conceptual and plot similarities to "Assignment Four" from Hammond's own series Sapphire and Steel, made about thirty years before. Almost the only differences are that old films rather than still photographs are involved in the plot, and that the number of locations and characters involved is increased thanks to the bigger budget.
  • Adventures in Wonderland:
    • Two episodes follow the pattern of "a disabled female cousin of one of the main cast, played by an actually-disabled actress, visits Wonderland and teaches everyone how she copes with her disability." The Episode "On a Roll" features the Mad Hatter's wheelchair-bound cousin Hedda Hatter, played by Christopher Anne Templeton, while "The Sound and the Furry" features the March Hare's deaf cousin April Hare, played by Marlee Matlin. The actual plots of the episodes are different, though: "On a Roll" revolves around Hedda excelling at sports despite her wheelchair, while "The Sound and the Furry" revolves around the Queen banishing April for ignoring a royal command, not realizing that she couldn't hear it.
    • The episode "Pretzelmania" has virtually the same plot as the Lamb Chop's Play-Along episode "The Ring," which aired earlier in the same year. Both episodes revolve around a character (Lamb Chop/the White Rabbit) wearing someone else's valuable ring (Lamb Chop wearing Shari's ring for fun/the Rabbit taking the Queen's ring to the jeweler's to be resized) while baked goods are being made (cookies/pretzels). Then the ring goes missing, everyone assumes it fell into the dough and was baked into the baked goods, and they eat all the baked goods to try to find the ring before its owner can learn what happened... but in the end, it turns out the ring was somewhere else all along. The children's book Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto also shares this plot, so it could be that both shows were making a Whole Plot Reference to that book.
    • The episode "He's Not Heavy, He's My Hatter" has the exact same premise as the Rugrats episode "No More Cookies": a character (the Hatter/Angelica) eats too many cookies and makes the others promise not to let them eat any more, but then goes ballistic trying to find the hidden cookies. The Wonderland episode also deals with the Hatter needing to lose the weight he gained from his cookie-binging, though, which isn't the case for three-year-old Angelica. Incidentally, both shows had music by Mark Mothersbaugh. The same plot was also used in the U.S. Acres short "Peanut-Brained Rooster", with peanuts instead of cookies.
  • The three-episode Grand Finale of Liv and Maddie involves Liv having to get a throat operation that may or may not ruin her ability to sing, not unlike a less serious episode of Austin & Ally previously did.
  • Three's Company pulled the Out-of-Context Eavesdropping gag so many times, a great deal of the episodes are interchangeable.
  • Modern Family's "Not in My House" has the same basic plot as Grounded for Life's "Don't Let Me Download" in that, the husband of the family looks at porn on the computer and his wife finds it and thinks their son did it instead, so he lets the son take the blame but tries to prevent said son from being disciplined so he won't be exposed.
  • The Noddy Shop often took plot ideas from Rick Sigglekow's previous series Shining Time Station. For example, they both have episodes where the kids put on plays, one about trouble at a baseball game, one about facing fears that was Halloween-themed, and one where the centerpiece of the show is going to close (which was actually done twice on The Noddy Shop).
    • The show itself was also prone to recycling its' own plots. For example, there were two episodes about a treasure hunt, two episodes where one of the toy characters goes missing, two episodes where one of the puppets has to deal with a new animal in the shop getting more attention than them, two episodes involving the puppets changing their personalities, three episodes about messes being created in the shop (two of those had the same character cause the mess) and two episodes about lying.
    • The episode "Thunder and Lightning" is similar to the Bear in the Big Blue House episode "Afraid Not", in which a child character worries about a thunderstorm and get even more afraid when the lights go out, using a flashlight to guide their way and having people tell them a story to help keep them calm. (In the Noddy episode, Kate tells Truman the story "Noddy Gets Caught In A Storm" as well as "Three Men In A Tub", while in the Bear episode, the kids talk to Shadow, who tells them the story of Little Miss Muffet.)
  • Hallmark Channel is getting pretty severe with this. Most often, their Original Movies rely on the same theme: Big-city girl with no time for love winds up in a small, stereotypical Norman Rockwell-esque town, and falls in love with a handsome guy. At other times, it's a romance between a royal and a commoner.
  • NCIS: New Orleans recycles a few episode plots from its parent series. One involves The Squad solving a case during a Big Blackout, and another has a Dead Man Walking who knows that he's been poisoned and needs our heroes to figure out Whodunnit to Me? before he dies.
  • Without a Trace: The Season 2 episode "Wannabe" and the Season 4 episode "Safe" both featured a bullied boy disappearing, with his tormentors being the prime suspects. Both boys are found at the end, two seconds away from killing themselves.
  • Its Spiritual Successor Cold Case did this too: S3's "Beautiful Little Fool" was remade in practice as S4's "Torn". Both begin with a young woman bringing the case of a long deceased relative, a young woman that was murdered. Both are the team's new record for oldest case reopened, the only case in the series from that decade, and take place in the last year of said decade ("BLF"'s victim is a 1929 flapper, "Torn"'s is a 1919 socialite). In both cases, the clue that solves the crime is provided by an old woman, who was a little girl when the murder was committed, and is the only witness still alive, with every other testimony being provided by books, records, diaries, historians of the era or descendants of the people involved. The perp is long deceased in both (as it could only be realistically) but left a recorded confession. The murder was committed during the arrival of a big historical event that destroyed the fortune of a man related to the victim (a member of the Vanderbilt family that lost his fortune in the Crash of 1929 in "BLF", a beer magnate that went out of business with Prohibition in "Torn").
    • And likely because of their many similarities (they were both produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and part of the CSI Verse), the shows did this with each other:
      • The CC episode "Mindhunters" is very similar to WAT's "Doppelganger"—the detectives discover a Serial Killer and interrogate him relentlessly, only for him to outsmart them and talk in circles around them. They ultimately have no choice but to release him, as they have no real evidence and he hasn't confessed. Both killers resurface a few episodes later for a final showdown.
      • The WAT episode "Lost Time" is virtually identical to CC's "Hubris"—pretty college student who was having an affair with her professor and is presumed killed by him. The only difference is that on WAT, the teacher was convicted of her murder and spent 7 years in jail, while the weird classmate was the guilty one. In CC, the roles were reversed.
  • Jeopardy! often recycles material for its clues. Notably, if clues go unrevealed due to an episode running out of time, many of the recycled clues will be put into categories on later episodes; this is generally where the show gets catch-all catgories such as "Potpourri" or "Hodgepodge".
  • The Streets of San Francisco episode "Target: Red" was recycled as the T.J. Hooker episode "Assassin". Both were written by Rick Husky.
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