The thing about project management is are very different directions you can go with them.
Some focus on showing as little information as possible, such as the "next..." lists, while others aim at giving you as complete an overview of a project as possible.
A good example of the latter is pivotal, where a project is broken down into features which move through the states unstarted, to accepted, while each feature contains it's own task list. Tasks on this are just a checkbox to mark as complete. http://www.pivotaltracker.com/
If you are aiming to be as simple as possible, focusing on productivity for a single user, then you might want to do something like Lèse majesté's suggestion with nested subtasks.
You can assign due dates to a task and have a checklist of subtasks.
The ability to clone and edit an existing task when creating a new one could solve your problem of repetition. Rather than using templates and adding more interface clutter, you just add an inkdropper style tool to copy an existing task and edit from there.
If you're aiming for bigger collaborative projects with multiple users, then I'd look to tools like pivotal for inspiration.