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Whole Plot Reference / Live-Action TV

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General examples:

  • 12 Angry Men is a stock plot that's been much copied. It's been done on The Odd Couple (1970), 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 (also filed under The Breakfast Plot):
    • 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.
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    • 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.

Individual examples 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:
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    • 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.
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    • 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 Big Bang Theory: "The Viewing Party Combustion" turns a Game of Thrones viewing party into a real Game of Thrones plot, complete with infighting, changing allegiances, and a "poisoning" (actually Howard's nut allergy reacting to the pistachios in the mortadella).
  • 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:
    • "Ted" is similar to The Stepfather, where a teenage girl suspects her new stepfather (who is obsessed with "old fashioned values") is a serial killer who marries women, and murders them when they fail to live up to his exceedingly high expectations.
    • "Forever" was inspired by "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 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.
  • Chōjinki Metalder is clearly one to Kikaider. The protagonist is an android who was built by a scientist as a substitute for his late son, assumes a red and blue fighting form clearly modeled on Kikaider, and battles against a criminal organization that builds Killer Robots (only they now contain cyborgs and mutants as well). Even if it is an homage however, it still manages to have its own identity apart from Kikaider.
  • 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 ripoff 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.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is basically a Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Santa Claus Conquors The Martians - aliens abduct a famous Earth figure to bring Christmas cheer to their loved ones, only in this case, the Earth figure is Kevin Bacon instead of Santa. The film itself is even shown on TV in one scene.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys pulled a double:
  • The underlying storyline of Heroes' fourth season is Carnivàle with abilities.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: "Heartbeat" is an episode-long Shout-Out to the worlds of Edgar Allan Poe, taking particular influence from The Cask of Amontillado (a man is buried alive behind a wall as revenge) and The Telltale Heart (a remorseful murderer is haunted by the heartbeat of his victim).
  • 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.
  • Intergalactic: The series' beginning plot was compared (sometimes critically) to Con Air though aside from the "prisoners escape mid-transport to prison, and one is a good guy" part (on a space ship instead of a plane here) there isn't much similarity, as this quickly diverges from there.
  • 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.
  • Kingdom Adventure: One episode is a reference to the Book of Job, with Pokum getting a skin rash and being taken away from his home as a result. It even has The Prince and Zordock arguing at the start of the episode about whether Pokum would still believe in The Prince if everything were taken away from him!
  • 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 was the killer, not the shark.
    • "Heeere's Lassie!" for The Shining, with Lassiter in the role of Jack.
  • The Punisher has a major part of it's second season be this to the Batman: The Animated Series episode Mad Love, which was the original Origin Story of Harley Quinn, with Krista Dumont fulfilling a similar role to Harley Quinn, and Jigsaw to The Joker.
  • 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.
  • Riverdale: The Season 3 episode "The Midnight Club" starts off as a version of The Breakfast Club that’s in the early 90’s and stars the parents of the main cast. But then they find the game that drives the season’s Myth Arc and things go off the rails.
  • 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?".
  • 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: Discovery: The "Short Trek" episode "Calypso" is, as one could guess from the title, a retelling of the legend of Odysseus and Calypso.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • "Brothers" is a rehash of the story of Jacob and Esau from Genesis 27.
    • "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 "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.
    • Season six's "Starship Mine" features Picard as the hero in a "Die Hard" on an X story.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The episode "Honor Among Thieves" lifts the plot from Donnie Brasco.
  • 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 & 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?

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