I complained the other day about Hollywood’s trend of remaking current foreign films and TV shows and doing remakes of (slightly) older American films and TV shows (especially annoying when you are any age of adult and can remember the original like it was yesterday because it was).
This seemed to contradict a stray thought I had later that day in which I was remembering mourning the passing of television shows and film series I had loved (esp. Deep Space Nine, Angel, and Harry Potter) and how I comforted myself with the knowledge that “something new will come along I will love, it always does.”
“New”, of course, is relative. It can be argued there are no truly “new” stories to tell, but I think it depends on what you mean by “new.” If stories are stripped down to their archetypal bones, then no, there probably aren’t any new stories out there, but there are plenty of new ways to tell the same archetypal story. Make your Odysseus a female character in the modern day instead of a male. Pile this culture/era/sub-culture’s baggage atop the archetype instead of that culture/era/sub-culture’s baggage–no one will recognize the story archetype without a lot of wincing, and it becomes fresh again.
Likewise, easily recognizable tropes or characters can be made fresh again with a fresh angle to them. Set the (yet another) vampire story in the American south, or have the vampire share a flat with a werewolf and a ghost. Give your formerly-Victorian characters cell phones and sophisticated 21st-century adversaries to test their skills against.
That said, there IS such a thing as trope-fatigue. And making your “adaptations” too thinly-disguised by your “variations” to be fresh enough.
Sometimes, what I really want is to curl up and revisit the same story told the same way I remember it. Sometimes, what I really want is a story trope/archetype/kink that’s deep in my bones told in a way so different from what I’ve heard before I don’t recognize it at first. Sometimes I want a film/show that was done forty years ago, and not too well, to be given a decent (and fresh) treatment.
But I rarely want to see the same story told in just a slightly tweaked way ten years or one year after I saw it before.