What's the phrase for things that (seem to) get better with age?
For example: JJ Abrams Star Trek is to TNG as Lucas's prequels were to Star Wars.
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I think of the word mellow. From NOAD:
1 (esp. of sound, taste, and color) pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness: she was hypnotized by the mellow tone of his voice | slow cooking gives the dish a sweet, mellow flavor.
2 (of a person's character) softened or matured by age or experience: a more mellow personality.
It can also be used as a verb, meaning to become mellow.
Some are euphemisms, I think. And most are definitely cliches!
Using a wine simile to describe things that get better with age is not uncommon.
In fact, I did an Ngram on "wine improves with age," and found more than one reference that wasn't talking about what happens in the wine cellar:
"A trader with a good mind, like good wine, improves with age."
"He is a clear example of a man who, like a good wine, improves with age."
"She is a music maestro who like wine, improves with age."
"Friendship, like good wine, improves with age..."
"Good judgment... like a fine wine, improves with age."
"For better or worse, the comparative study of literature, like fine wine, improves with age."
"Widely known in its initial versions as the first authoring system for the Apple II, Tutor-Tech Hypermedia Toolkit, like fine wine, improves with age."
"High-quality sex, like good wine, improves with age."
On second thought, maybe that last example does refer to what happens in the wine cellar...
The “Lindy effect” describes things where the mortality rate decreases over time; the longer they’ve been around, the longer they’ll last. It’s sometimes extended to imply quality, not just longevity. Some people (e.g. in certain Twitter circles) have begun using “Lindy” as an adjective, like “the movie, like wine, seems to be Lindy.” I think it’s almost exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s currently extremely niche and idiosyncratic and too connotative of certain social circles.