History Main / ButterflyOfDoom

22nd Mar '17 5:42:15 AM Nyame
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* ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'': The existence of time traveling superheroes means that the Legends can never make the timeline ''exactly'' the way it originally was -- it's always a case of CloseEnoughTimeline. That being said, there are certain moments/events that they can '''never''' time travel to for fear of risking this, since they are so pivotal to shaping history, such as ''anything'' having to do with Jesus, including his crucifixion and eventual death.
12th Mar '17 7:05:12 PM AthenaBlue
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--->'''Martha:''' But, isn't it dangerous? You know, like you step on a butterfly and the future's completely changed because of it?\\

to:

--->'''Martha:''' But, isn't it dangerous? You know, It's like you in those films. You step on a butterfly and butterfly, you change the future's completely changed because future of it?\\the human race.\\
12th Mar '17 7:04:24 PM AthenaBlue
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'''The Doctor:''' Well . . . I tell you what then: don't step on any butterflies. What have the butterflies ever done to you?

to:

'''The Doctor:''' Well . . . I tell you what then: Then, don't step on any butterflies. What have the butterflies ever done to you?
12th Mar '17 7:03:57 PM AthenaBlue
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'''The Doctor:''' Well . . . I tell you what then: don't step on any butterflies. What have butterflies ever done to you?

to:

'''The Doctor:''' Well . . . I tell you what then: don't step on any butterflies. What have the butterflies ever done to you?
12th Mar '17 7:02:15 PM AthenaBlue
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* ''Series/{{Angel}}''. In "[[ItsAWonderfulPlot Birthday]]" the demon Skip shows Cordelia (with the help of MondayNightFootball replay and onscreen graphics) how her life could have been different if she'd just moved in one direction as opposed to the other during a party in the series premiere and met a Hollywood talent agent instead of the series protagonist, becoming the famous star of a comedy television series instead of a FaintingSeer whose visions are killing her. [[spoiler:The downside being, ''Angel'' is now the FaintingSeer, effectively an insane, depressed wreck from [[GoMadFromTheIsolation his loneliness]] and the visions. Horrified by the state of her best friend/LoveInterest, Cordelia demands that Skip take her back to her proper timeline.]]



* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' appropriately entitled "My Butterfly", where a butterfly affects the events of the day, ending in the death of a patient. When the butterfly changes where it lands, the episode features an alternate future, but [[spoiler:the patient that J.D., Dr. Cox, and Turk are involved with still dies on the table]].
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': Another fine example of how one man's repeated attempts at changing the past to find the "perfect" timeline he accidently erased leading to ever more disastrous consequences is the two-parter episode "[[Recap/StarTrekVoyagerS4E8YearOfHell Year of Hell]]" from the 4th season. Things are spiraling out of control, precisely because the timeship is based on the idea of ''Laplace's Demon'' which is contradicted by both Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory. In the end [[spoiler:the original timeline can only be restored by destruction of the timeship (which had existed "outside time" while aboard centuries of subjective time passed), which Captain Janeway brings about by ramming it with the ''Voyager'', destroying both ships in the process and "resetting" the timeline back one year.]]
* Both mocked and utilized in ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Next Generation}}'' by Q in "Tapestry". While changing the past would certainly alter one man's future, it's incredibly self-centered to think that changing one person would change ''everything''.
* In what is widely considered to be the best episode of ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' (TOS), "The City on the Edge of Forever", the world falls to Nazi Germany and Starfleet never forms because one woman didn't die when she was supposed to.\\
\\
The story -- originally written by Harlan Ellison -- had been radically revised, by the time the episode was shot. So much that Ellison [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever_(episode)#Story asked to be cited under a pseudonym]]. It's unsure whether -- at least, in part -- his displeasure with the final result had anything to do with the revised version's [[http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/62/franklin62art.htm subtext that opponents of the Vietnam War were comparable to appeasers of Hitler]].
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'': The host segments of the ''Film/TimeChasers'' episode play around with this trope, with Crow going back in time to prevent Mike from getting shot into space. Unfortunately, Mike dies in this alternate fate-line and his {{Jerkass}} older brother Eddie ends up on the SOL instead. Crow goes back in time again to tell the earlier version of himself ''not'' to warn Mike, and, as a result, the earlier version of himself gets stuck in the past where he will presumably remain, as an employee of the cheese factory where Young Mike worked.
* There is a sort of this in ''Series/SevenDays''. It's stated that simply backstepping (Going back in time one week) already changes the timeline because the Sphere materializes and changes air currents, causing airplanes to land a bit sooner/later and the like. Of course, it was never explained further than that.
* Hysterically parodied in a ''Series/TheWhitestKidsUKnow'' sketch. Every time Trevor and Sam try to change history, random things happen (because that's how physics works). They go back in time and kill Hitler; JFK turns into a panda bear. They stop two Godzilla-esque monsters from attacking each other and cause the Vietnam War. After preventing 9/11, one of the character's sister starts to disappear from a picture (a parody of ''Back to the Future''). In response, they scream "We have go back and save 9/11!" Seems the maker of the show didn't know anyone close to the attack.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'':
** A big part of the show, with time travel (mainly by Hiro Nakamura, and later [[spoiler:Peter Petrelli]]) and precognition being used to fix, worsen, and then repair the future many times. Featured most prominently in the episode, "The Butterfly Effect", where Future Peter screws up the past so badly, that he leaves things for Present Peter to fix since he had "stepped on too many butterflies."
--> '''Angela Petrelli:''' [[DiscussedTrope It's called the Butterfly Effect. You step on a butterfly today, three years from now a million people are wiped out.]]
** Possibly subverted, or at least morphed into YouCantFightFate, during Volume 4 where [[spoiler: all of the things that happened in the "averted" future are happening anyway (Sylar can heal and shapeshift, Nathan has turned on the mutants, Sylar-As-Nathan is gunning for president, etc.]].
** Heavily subverted with Charlie. Through Hiro's intervention, she is saved from her brain tumor and Sylar's murder-spree. But she is kidnapped and stranded in the 1940's in order to manipulate Hiro. Before she went, she was an insatiable reader and had the super-power of 100% perfect memory - someone with enormous potential to alter history for good or evil. Yet she does...nothing, instead choosing to work a factory job and settle down.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe What Is And What Should Never Be]]", Dean is tricked into believing a Djin has taken him to an AlternateUniverse where his mom never died, and none of his family members became Hunters. Everyone's living happily, but as a consequence, his relationship with Sam is estranged because of their lack of time together, and all the people he saved as a Hunter died in their "accidents" without the brothers there to prevent them. Luckily, it was AllJustADream.
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS04E03InTheBeginning In the Beginning]]", Dean is ''actually'' taken back into time by Castiel, who warns him that any attempt to save his mother will inevitably result in the death of the innocents he has saved. Subverted in that no matter what Dean did, things [[StableTimeLoop ended up going exactly the same]] way anyway.
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS06E11AppointmentInSamarra Appointment in Samarra]]", a non-time travel related version happens when Dean [[GodJob becomes Death for a day]] and fails to reap a twelve-year-old-girl, the butterfly ensures that things go badly for everyone near her. For example, a nurse gets off early because her help wasn't needed and dies in a car crash. His husband sees her die and attempts suicide by car accident. Presumably, this kind of thing would continue forever.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Clark goes back in time to save [[spoiler:Lana's]] life. However, in preventing the accident, [[spoiler:his dad]], no longer having a reason to stay and console Clark, goes straight to his meeting with [[spoiler:Lionel Luthor]]. The scuffle that ensues causes him to have a heart attack, ultimately killing him.
* Several alternate universe/timeline episodes of ''Series/StargateSG1'' feature worlds where it seems like only one small thing has changed, but often, that leads to something even more horrible happening. A good example is "2010", where contact with one group of aliens leads to [[spoiler:the slow but inevitable destruction of Earth's human population]].

to:

* Subverted in an The ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' appropriately entitled "My Butterfly", where "Remedial Chaos Theory" is all about this. It's decided that a butterfly affects the events roll of the day, ending dice will dictate who has to leave and pick up a pizza, so the one rolling the dice will be creating six different universes, all based around what the characters would or (or in some cases, wouldn't) be doing in the death of a patient. When the butterfly changes where it lands, the episode features an alternate future, but [[spoiler:the patient two or three minutes that J.D., Dr. Cox, the pizza is getting picked up. All outcomes except for one involve the group somehow creating a conflict in these couple minutes. In the real (best) outcome, [[spoiler:Abed stops the dice from falling, Jeff goes to get the pizza, and Turk are involved with still dies on the table]].
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': Another
group gets along fine example of how one man's repeated attempts at changing while he's gone.]] In the past "Dark" outcome [[spoiler:where Troy leaves to find pick up the "perfect" timeline he accidently erased leading to ever more disastrous consequences is pizza, Pierce dies, Annie goes insane and Shirley becomes an alcoholic because of Pierce's death, Jeff loses an arm, and Troy loses his larynx.]] Abed acknowledges that it's the two-parter episode "[[Recap/StarTrekVoyagerS4E8YearOfHell Year darkest timeline, and makes everyone felt goatees so they can all be "evil" versions of Hell]]" from themselves.
* Invoked in
the 4th season. Things are spiraling out 2014 ''Series/{{Cosmos}}'' series. UsefulNotes/NeilDeGrasseTyson uses three butterflies in a cloud of control, precisely white moths to represent the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because the timeship is based on the idea of ''Laplace's Demon'' which is contradicted by both Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory. In the end [[spoiler:the original timeline can only be restored by destruction of the timeship (which had existed "outside time" while aboard centuries of subjective time passed), which Captain Janeway brings about by ramming it with the ''Voyager'', destroying both ships in the process and "resetting" the timeline back one year.]]
* Both mocked and utilized in ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Next Generation}}'' by Q in "Tapestry". While changing the past would certainly alter one man's future, it's incredibly self-centered
variations needed to think that changing one person would change ''everything''.
* In what is widely considered to be the best episode of ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' (TOS), "The City on the Edge of Forever", the world falls to Nazi Germany and Starfleet never forms because one woman didn't die when she was supposed to.\\
\\
The story -- originally written by Harlan Ellison -- had been
radically revised, by change the time climate are so mathematically small--no butterflies, and the episode was shot. So much that Ellison [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever_(episode)#Story asked to be cited under a pseudonym]]. It's unsure whether -- at least, in part -- his displeasure with Earth freezes, three more butterflies and it heats up. He also mentions the final result had anything "butterfly effect" of chaos theory (tiny changes in starting conditions lead to do with entirely different results) when explaining the revised version's [[http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/62/franklin62art.htm subtext that opponents of the Vietnam War were comparable to appeasers of Hitler]].
difference between weather (chaotic) and climate (not).
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'': The host segments of the ''Film/TimeChasers'' episode play around with this trope, with Crow going Spoofed in ''Series/Danger5''. Our heroes travel back in time to prevent Mike from getting shot into space. Unfortunately, Mike dies in this alternate fate-line UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and his {{Jerkass}} older brother Eddie ends up on the SOL instead. Crow goes back in time again despite [[OnlySaneMan Pierre]] frantically trying to tell the earlier version of himself ''not'' to warn Mike, and, as a result, the earlier version of himself gets stuck in the past where he will presumably remain, as an employee of the cheese factory where Young Mike worked.
* There is a sort
convince them of this in ''Series/SevenDays''. It's stated that simply backstepping (Going back in time one week) already changes the timeline because the Sphere materializes trope proceed to kill Nazis with abandon, party with their younger selves, and changes air currents, causing airplanes to land a bit sooner/later and the like. Of course, it was never explained further than that.
* Hysterically parodied
SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong. This results in a ''Series/TheWhitestKidsUKnow'' sketch. Every time Trevor and Sam try to change history, random things happen (because that's how physics works). They go back in time and kill Hitler; JFK turns into a panda bear. They stop two Godzilla-esque monsters from attacking each other and cause the Vietnam War. After preventing 9/11, one of the character's sister starts to disappear from a picture (a parody of ''Back to the Future''). In response, they scream "We have go back and save 9/11!" Seems the maker of the show didn't know anyone close to the attack.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'':
** A big part of the show, with time travel (mainly by Hiro Nakamura, and later [[spoiler:Peter Petrelli]]) and precognition being used to fix, worsen, and then repair the future many times. Featured most prominently in the episode, "The Butterfly Effect", where Future Peter screws up the past so badly, that he leaves things for Present Peter to fix since he had "stepped on too many butterflies."
--> '''Angela Petrelli:''' [[DiscussedTrope It's called the Butterfly Effect. You step on a butterfly today, three years from now a million people are wiped out.]]
** Possibly subverted, or at least morphed into YouCantFightFate, during Volume 4 where [[spoiler: all of the things that happened in the "averted" future are happening anyway (Sylar can heal and shapeshift, Nathan has turned on the mutants, Sylar-As-Nathan is gunning for president, etc.]].
** Heavily subverted with Charlie. Through Hiro's intervention, she is saved from her brain tumor and Sylar's murder-spree. But she is kidnapped and stranded in the 1940's in order to manipulate Hiro. Before she went, she was an insatiable reader and had the super-power of 100% perfect memory - someone with enormous potential to alter history for good or evil. Yet she does...nothing, instead choosing to work a factory job and settle down.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe What Is And What Should Never Be]]", Dean is tricked into believing a Djin has taken him to an AlternateUniverse where his mom never died, and none of his family members became Hunters. Everyone's living happily, but as a consequence, his relationship with Sam is estranged
BadFuture -- not because of their lack of time together, and all the people he saved as a Hunter died in their "accidents" without the brothers there to prevent them. Luckily, it was AllJustADream.
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS04E03InTheBeginning In the Beginning]]", Dean is ''actually'' taken back into time by Castiel, who warns him that any attempt to save his mother will inevitably result in the death of the innocents he has saved. Subverted in that no matter what Dean
anything they did, things [[StableTimeLoop ended up going exactly the same]] way anyway.
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS06E11AppointmentInSamarra Appointment in Samarra]]", a non-time travel related version happens when Dean [[GodJob becomes Death for a day]] and fails to reap a twelve-year-old-girl, the butterfly ensures that things go badly for everyone near her. For example, a nurse gets off early
but [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct because her help wasn't needed and dies in a car crash. His husband sees her die and attempts suicide by car accident. Presumably, this kind they were stuffing about instead of thing would continue forever.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Clark goes back in time to save [[spoiler:Lana's]] life. However, in preventing the accident, [[spoiler:his dad]], no longer having a reason to stay and console Clark, goes straight to his meeting with [[spoiler:Lionel Luthor]]. The scuffle that ensues causes him to have a heart attack, ultimately killing him.
* Several alternate universe/timeline episodes of ''Series/StargateSG1'' feature worlds where it seems like only one small thing has changed, but often, that leads to something even more horrible happening. A good example is "2010", where contact with one group of aliens leads to [[spoiler:the slow but inevitable destruction of Earth's human population]].
concentrating on their original mission: KILL HITLER!]]



** In the episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E2TheShakespeareCode The Shakespeare Code]]", the Doctor lampshades this to put Martha at ease in her first time time-traveling.

to:

** The Doctor has mellowed a bit when it comes to messing around with history. The First Doctor, in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E1AnUnearthlyChild "An Unearthly Child"]] is so paranoid about the possible ramifications of this trope that he is convinced that the mere ''idea'' that a device such as the TARDIS exists could irreparably change the course of human history.
** In the episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E2TheShakespeareCode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E8FathersDay "Father's Day"]], Rose goes back in time to visit her father before his death but ends up saving him from his fatal accident. The resulting tear in the fabric of reality lets through a host of aliens who feed off time energy and kill a lot of people.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E2TheShakespeareCode "The
Shakespeare Code]]", Code"]], the Doctor lampshades this to put Martha at ease in her first time time-traveling.time-travelling.



'''The Doctor:''' Well... I tell you what then: don't step on any butterflies. What have they ever done to you?
** While the show is mostly immune to this trope, with characters messing through time willy-nilly, it is used occasionally. The episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E11TurnLeft Turn Left]]" is probably the most striking example, with an ItsAWonderfulPlot twist.
** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E2TheFiresOfPompeii The Fires of Pompeii]]" both plays this straight and subverts it. Donna asks the Doctor why he can't warn the city of the impending volcanic eruption, only for him to say that it's a fixed point in time that must not be tampered with. At the end, as the volcano is erupting, Donna pleads with the Doctor to help, so he rescues one family (the one they've gotten to know throughout the episode) and puts them outside of the city with what appears to be no consequences.
** The Doctor has mellowed a bit when it comes to messing around with history. The First Doctor story "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E1AnUnearthlyChild An Unearthly Child]]" has him so paranoid about the possible ramifications of this trope that he is convinced that the mere ''idea'' that a device such as the TARDIS exists could irreparably change the course of human history.
** In the episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E8FathersDay Father's Day]]", Rose goes back in time to visit her father before his death but ends up saving him from his fatal accident. The resulting tear in the fabric of reality lets through a host of aliens who feed off time energy and kill a lot of people.
** In the series 6 finale, River Song tries to subvert reality by [[spoiler:not killing the Doctor]]. The result of this is that all of time and space coexist in the same eternal instant, with anything unable to happen until the proper events of the timeline are carried through.
** In the series 5 episode, "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens The Pandorica Opens]]", it happens in a big way when the TARDIS explodes and rips up time, so much so that every star in the universe is never born and he only reason life exist on Earth is that the TARDIS is exploding at all points in time. To fix it, the Doctor has to take the Pandorica to the TARDIS and have it explode, sending all the atoms of the old universe everywhere in every point of time, effectively Big Bang 2, but he will be stuck on the other side of rip. He gets better, though.
* Used in the UK series ''Series/{{Misfits}}'', where Curtis uses his time-travelling ability to go back to the night he and his girlfriend Sam were arrested for drug possession. His initial attempts to change things only make things worse (such as Sam ending up stabbed by the dealer), but he eventually manages to change things enough that neither of them is killed or arrested and "jumps" back to the present, where it looks initially like an inversion; he's back to being an Olympic athlete and Sam is alive. Then he realises that without him there to save them, almost the entire main cast were murdered back in the first episode.
* A continuing theme of the CutShort series ''Series/OdysseyFive''. Five astronauts who survived the destruction of Earth are sent back in time five years to try and avert the xenocide. Although they agree not to try and change their own personal lives none of them can resist trying to tinker with events, with varying results.
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' [[MilestoneCelebration 40th anniversary movie]] ''Let's Go Kamen Rider'' is all about this. [[Series/KamenRiderOOO OOO]] and [[Series/KamenRiderDenO Den-O]] chase a monster back to the era of the original Series/KamenRider and accidentally leave behind an [[TransformationTrinket O Medal]]. When they return to 2011, that single Medal has allowed villain organization Shocker to TakeOverTheWorld and put four decades' worth of Kamen Riders on the ropes.

to:

'''The Doctor:''' Well...Well . . . I tell you what then: don't step on any butterflies. What have they butterflies ever done to you?
** While the show is mostly immune to this trope, with characters messing through time willy-nilly, it is used occasionally. The episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E11TurnLeft Turn Left]]" is probably the most striking example, with an ItsAWonderfulPlot twist.
** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E2TheFiresOfPompeii The
[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E2TheFiresOfPompeii "The Fires of Pompeii]]" Pompeii"]] both plays this straight and subverts it. Donna asks the Doctor why he can't warn the city of the impending volcanic eruption, only for him to say that it's a fixed point in time that must not be tampered with. At the end, as the volcano is erupting, Donna pleads with the Doctor to help, so he rescues one family (the one they've gotten to know throughout the episode) and puts them outside of the city with what appears to be no consequences.
** The Doctor has mellowed a bit when it comes While the show is mostly immune to this trope, with characters messing around with history. through time willy-nilly, it is used occasionally. The First Doctor story "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS1E1AnUnearthlyChild An Unearthly Child]]" has him so paranoid about the possible ramifications of this trope that he is convinced that the mere ''idea'' that a device such as the TARDIS exists could irreparably change the course of human history.
** In the
episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E8FathersDay Father's Day]]", Rose goes back in time to visit her father before his death but ends up saving him from his fatal accident. The resulting tear in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E11TurnLeft "Turn Left"]] is probably the fabric of reality lets through a host of aliens who feed off time energy and kill a lot of people.
most striking example, with an ItsAWonderfulPlot twist.
** In the series 6 finale, River Song tries to subvert reality by [[spoiler:not killing the Doctor]]. The result of this is that all of time and space coexist in the same eternal instant, with anything unable to happen until the proper events of the timeline are carried through.
** In the series 5 episode, "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens The
[[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E12ThePandoricaOpens "The Pandorica Opens]]", Opens"]], it happens in a big way when the TARDIS explodes and rips up time, so much so that every star in the universe is never born and he only reason life exist on Earth is that the TARDIS is exploding at all points in time. To fix it, the Doctor has to take the Pandorica to the TARDIS and have it explode, sending all the atoms of the old universe everywhere in every point of time, effectively Big Bang 2, but he will be stuck on the other side of rip. He gets better, though.
* Used ** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E13TheWeddingOfRiverSong "The Wedding of River Song"]], River Song tries to subvert reality by [[spoiler:not killing the Doctor]]. The result of this is that all of time and space coexist in the UK series ''Series/{{Misfits}}'', where Curtis uses his time-travelling ability same eternal instant, with anything unable to go back to happen until the night he and his girlfriend Sam were arrested for drug possession. His initial attempts to change things only make things worse (such as Sam ending up stabbed by the dealer), but he eventually manages to change things enough that neither of them is killed or arrested and "jumps" back to the present, where it looks initially like an inversion; he's back to being an Olympic athlete and Sam is alive. Then he realises that without him there to save them, almost the entire main cast were murdered back in the first episode.
* A continuing theme
proper events of the CutShort series ''Series/OdysseyFive''. Five astronauts who survived timeline are carried through.
* Comes up in several episodes of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** In season three's "...Different Destinations,"
the destruction of Earth are crew find themselves sent back in time five years to try and avert the xenocide. Although they agree not to try and change their own personal lives none of them can resist trying to tinker with events, with varying results.
* The ''Franchise/KamenRider'' [[MilestoneCelebration 40th anniversary movie]] ''Let's Go Kamen Rider'' is all about this. [[Series/KamenRiderOOO OOO]] and [[Series/KamenRiderDenO Den-O]] chase
by a monster back freaking out Stark while visiting a monastery saved from destruction by Peacekeepers. In addition to the era BrokenPedestal for Aeryn when she learns the great hero of the original Series/KamenRider battle turned out to merely be the company cook, the crew has to deal with an escalating series of alterations to the timeline with ''catastrophic'' implications for the future (including, at one point, the planet ''ceasing to exist'') as they attempt to keep events on their historical course (Harvey having told John of the theory of time's elasticity, and that events steered near-enough to course will lead to time self-repairing). Eventually they set things more or less right and return home, [[spoiler: but the women and children who originally survived instead ended up being slaughtered in the "fixed" timeline, and the crew is unable to go back again to save them]].
** The danger of this is further highlighted by the Einstein in season four's "Terra Firma," warning that using a wormhole to travel to a point in time in one's universe ''before'' the time one departs can have disastrous consequences. The following episode, "Kansas", follows up on this when John
accidentally leave behind an [[TransformationTrinket O Medal]]. When travels to his own past and his arrival somehow changes time so his father is fated to fly the doomed ''Challenger'' mission. The crew manages to avoid making any major ripples as they return trigger a series of events which Crichton recalls led to 2011, that single Medal has allowed villain organization Shocker his father withdrawing from the mission (specifically shacking up as a teenager with Karen Shaw in the back of his dad's four-by[[note]]actually Chiana in the back of John's truck, with Noranti using a bit of mind control to TakeOverTheWorld alter the exact memory[[/note]] at an abandoned house, which caught fire and put four decades' worth of Kamen Riders on nearly killed him, only for his dad to rescue him and beg off the ropes.mission until he recovered). By the end, the episode actually wavers on how much their actions are avoiding the Butterfly of Doom, or are actually the result of a PredestinationParadox.



* The ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" is all about this. It's decided that a roll of the dice will dictate who has to leave and pick up a pizza, so the one rolling the dice will be creating six different universes, all based around what the characters would or (or in some cases, wouldn't) be doing in the two or three minutes that the pizza is getting picked up. All outcomes except for one involve the group somehow creating a conflict in these couple minutes. In the real (best) outcome, [[spoiler:Abed stops the dice from falling, Jeff goes to get the pizza, and the group gets along fine while he's gone.]] In the "Dark" outcome [[spoiler:where Troy leaves to pick up the pizza, Pierce dies, Annie goes insane and Shirley becomes an alcoholic because of Pierce's death, Jeff loses an arm, and Troy loses his larynx.]] Abed acknowledges that it's the darkest timeline, and makes everyone felt goatees so they can all be "evil" versions of themselves.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}''. In "[[ItsAWonderfulPlot Birthday]]" the demon Skip shows Cordelia (with the help of MondayNightFootball replay and onscreen graphics) how her life could have been different if she'd just moved in one direction as opposed to the other during a party in the series premiere and met a Hollywood talent agent instead of the series protagonist, becoming the famous star of a comedy television series instead of a FaintingSeer whose visions are killing her. [[spoiler:The downside being, ''Angel'' is now the FaintingSeer, effectively an insane, depressed wreck from [[GoMadFromTheIsolation his loneliness]] and the visions. Horrified by the state of her best friend/LoveInterest, Cordelia demands that Skip take her back to her proper timeline.]]

to:

* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'':
** A big part of the show, with time travel (mainly by Hiro Nakamura, and later [[spoiler:Peter Petrelli]]) and precognition being used to fix, worsen, and then repair the future many times. Featured most prominently in the episode, "The Butterfly Effect", where Future Peter screws up the past so badly, that he leaves things for Present Peter to fix since he had "stepped on too many butterflies."
--> '''Angela Petrelli:''' [[DiscussedTrope It's called the Butterfly Effect. You step on a butterfly today, three years from now a million people are wiped out.]]
** Possibly subverted, or at least morphed into YouCantFightFate, during Volume 4 where [[spoiler: all of the things that happened in the "averted" future are happening anyway (Sylar can heal and shapeshift, Nathan has turned on the mutants, Sylar-As-Nathan is gunning for president, etc.]].
** Heavily subverted with Charlie. Through Hiro's intervention, she is saved from her brain tumor and Sylar's murder-spree. But she is kidnapped and stranded in the 1940's in order to manipulate Hiro. Before she went, she was an insatiable reader and had the super-power of 100% perfect memory - someone with enormous potential to alter history for good or evil. Yet she does...nothing, instead choosing to work a factory job and settle down.
* The ''Series/{{Community}}'' episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" ''Franchise/KamenRider'' [[MilestoneCelebration 40th anniversary movie]] ''Let's Go Kamen Rider'' is all about this. It's decided that [[Series/KamenRiderOOO OOO]] and [[Series/KamenRiderDenO Den-O]] chase a roll monster back to the era of the dice will dictate who has to original Series/KamenRider and accidentally leave behind an [[TransformationTrinket O Medal]]. When they return to 2011, that single Medal has allowed villain organization Shocker to TakeOverTheWorld and pick up a pizza, so put four decades' worth of Kamen Riders on the one rolling the dice will be creating six different universes, all based around what the characters would or (or in some cases, wouldn't) be doing ropes.
* Used
in the two or three minutes UK series ''Series/{{Misfits}}'', where Curtis uses his time-travelling ability to go back to the night he and his girlfriend Sam were arrested for drug possession. His initial attempts to change things only make things worse (such as Sam ending up stabbed by the dealer), but he eventually manages to change things enough that neither of them is killed or arrested and "jumps" back to the pizza is getting picked up. All outcomes except for one involve the group somehow creating a conflict in these couple minutes. In the real (best) outcome, [[spoiler:Abed stops the dice from falling, Jeff goes to get the pizza, and the group gets along fine while present, where it looks initially like an inversion; he's gone.]] In the "Dark" outcome [[spoiler:where Troy leaves to pick up the pizza, Pierce dies, Annie goes insane and Shirley becomes an alcoholic because of Pierce's death, Jeff loses an arm, and Troy loses his larynx.]] Abed acknowledges that it's the darkest timeline, and makes everyone felt goatees so they can all be "evil" versions of themselves.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}''. In "[[ItsAWonderfulPlot Birthday]]" the demon Skip shows Cordelia (with the help of MondayNightFootball replay and onscreen graphics) how her life could have been different if she'd just moved in one direction as opposed to the other during a party in the series premiere and met a Hollywood talent agent instead of the series protagonist, becoming the famous star of a comedy television series instead of a FaintingSeer whose visions are killing her. [[spoiler:The downside being, ''Angel'' is now the FaintingSeer, effectively an insane, depressed wreck from [[GoMadFromTheIsolation his loneliness]] and the visions. Horrified by the state of her best friend/LoveInterest, Cordelia demands that Skip take her
back to her proper timeline.]]being an Olympic athlete and Sam is alive. Then he realises that without him there to save them, almost the entire main cast were murdered back in the first episode.



* Invoked in the 2014 ''Series/{{Cosmos}}'' series. UsefulNotes/NeilDeGrasseTyson uses three butterflies in a cloud of white moths to represent the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because the variations needed to radically change the climate are so mathematically small--no butterflies, and the Earth freezes, three more butterflies and it heats up. He also mentions the "butterfly effect" of chaos theory (tiny changes in starting conditions lead to entirely different results) when explaining the difference between weather (chaotic) and climate (not).
* Comes up in several episodes of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** In season three's "...Different Destinations," the crew find themselves sent back in time by a freaking out Stark while visiting a monastery saved from destruction by Peacekeepers. In addition to the BrokenPedestal for Aeryn when she learns the great hero of the battle turned out to merely be the company cook, the crew has to deal with an escalating series of alterations to the timeline with ''catastrophic'' implications for the future (including, at one point, the planet ''ceasing to exist'') as they attempt to keep events on their historical course (Harvey having told John of the theory of time's elasticity, and that events steered near-enough to course will lead to time self-repairing). Eventually they set things more or less right and return home, [[spoiler: but the women and children who originally survived instead ended up being slaughtered in the "fixed" timeline, and the crew is unable to go back again to save them]].
** The danger of this is further highlighted by the Einstein in season four's "Terra Firma," warning that using a wormhole to travel to a point in time in one's universe ''before'' the time one departs can have disastrous consequences. The following episode, "Kansas", follows up on this when John accidentally travels to his own past and his arrival somehow changes time so his father is fated to fly the doomed ''Challenger'' mission. The crew manages to avoid making any major ripples as they trigger a series of events which Crichton recalls led to his father withdrawing from the mission (specifically shacking up as a teenager with Karen Shaw in the back of his dad's four-by[[note]]actually Chiana in the back of John's truck, with Noranti using a bit of mind control to alter the exact memory[[/note]] at an abandoned house, which caught fire and nearly killed him, only for his dad to rescue him and beg off the mission until he recovered). By the end, the episode actually wavers on how much their actions are avoiding the Butterfly of Doom, or are actually the result of a PredestinationParadox.
* Spoofed in ''Series/Danger5''. Our heroes travel back in time to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and despite [[OnlySaneMan Pierre]] frantically trying to convince them of this trope proceed to kill Nazis with abandon, party with their younger selves, and SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong. This results in a BadFuture -- not because of anything they did, but [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct because they were stuffing about instead of concentrating on their original mission: KILL HITLER!]]

to:

* Invoked ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'': The host segments of the ''Film/TimeChasers'' episode play around with this trope, with Crow going back in time to prevent Mike from getting shot into space. Unfortunately, Mike dies in this alternate fate-line and his {{Jerkass}} older brother Eddie ends up on the SOL instead. Crow goes back in time again to tell the earlier version of himself ''not'' to warn Mike, and, as a result, the earlier version of himself gets stuck in the 2014 ''Series/{{Cosmos}}'' series. UsefulNotes/NeilDeGrasseTyson uses three butterflies in a cloud past where he will presumably remain, as an employee of white moths to represent the concentration cheese factory where Young Mike worked.
* A continuing theme
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because CutShort series ''Series/OdysseyFive''. Five astronauts who survived the variations needed to radically change the climate are so mathematically small--no butterflies, and the destruction of Earth freezes, three more butterflies and it heats up. He also mentions the "butterfly effect" of chaos theory (tiny changes in starting conditions lead to entirely different results) when explaining the difference between weather (chaotic) and climate (not).
* Comes up in several episodes of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** In season three's "...Different Destinations," the crew find themselves
are sent back in time by a freaking out Stark while visiting a monastery saved from destruction by Peacekeepers. In addition five years to try and avert the BrokenPedestal for Aeryn when she learns xenocide. Although they agree not to try and change their own personal lives none of them can resist trying to tinker with events, with varying results.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' appropriately entitled "My Butterfly", where a butterfly affects
the great hero events of the battle turned out to merely be day, ending in the company cook, death of a patient. When the crew has to deal butterfly changes where it lands, the episode features an alternate future, but [[spoiler:the patient that J.D., Dr. Cox, and Turk are involved with an escalating series still dies on the table]].
* There is a sort
of alterations to this in ''Series/SevenDays''. It's stated that simply backstepping (Going back in time one week) already changes the timeline with ''catastrophic'' implications for because the future (including, at one point, the planet ''ceasing to exist'') as they attempt to keep events on their historical course (Harvey having told John of the theory of time's elasticity, Sphere materializes and that events steered near-enough changes air currents, causing airplanes to course will lead to time self-repairing). Eventually they set things more or less right and return home, [[spoiler: but the women and children who originally survived instead ended up being slaughtered in the "fixed" timeline, land a bit sooner/later and the crew is unable to go back again to save them]].
** The danger of this is
like. Of course, it was never explained further highlighted by the Einstein in season four's "Terra Firma," warning that using a wormhole to travel to a point in time in one's universe ''before'' the time one departs can have disastrous consequences. The following episode, "Kansas", follows up on this when John accidentally travels to his own past and his arrival somehow changes time so his father is fated to fly the doomed ''Challenger'' mission. The crew manages to avoid making any major ripples as they trigger a series of events which Crichton recalls led to his father withdrawing from the mission (specifically shacking up as a teenager with Karen Shaw in the back of his dad's four-by[[note]]actually Chiana in the back of John's truck, with Noranti using a bit of mind control to alter the exact memory[[/note]] at an abandoned house, which caught fire and nearly killed him, only for his dad to rescue him and beg off the mission until he recovered). By the end, the episode actually wavers on how much their actions are avoiding the Butterfly of Doom, or are actually the result of a PredestinationParadox.
* Spoofed in ''Series/Danger5''. Our heroes travel back in time to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and despite [[OnlySaneMan Pierre]] frantically trying to convince them of this trope proceed to kill Nazis with abandon, party with their younger selves, and SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong. This results in a BadFuture -- not because of anything they did, but [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct because they were stuffing about instead of concentrating on their original mission: KILL HITLER!]]
than that.


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* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Clark goes back in time to save [[spoiler:Lana's]] life. However, in preventing the accident, [[spoiler:his dad]], no longer having a reason to stay and console Clark, goes straight to his meeting with [[spoiler:Lionel Luthor]]. The scuffle that ensues causes him to have a heart attack, ultimately killing him.
* Several alternate universe/timeline episodes of ''Series/StargateSG1'' feature worlds where it seems like only one small thing has changed, but often, that leads to something even more horrible happening. A good example is "2010", where contact with one group of aliens leads to [[spoiler:the slow but inevitable destruction of Earth's human population]].
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': Another fine example of how one man's repeated attempts at changing the past to find the "perfect" timeline he accidently erased leading to ever more disastrous consequences is the two-parter episode "[[Recap/StarTrekVoyagerS4E8YearOfHell Year of Hell]]" from the 4th season. Things are spiraling out of control, precisely because the timeship is based on the idea of ''Laplace's Demon'' which is contradicted by both Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory. In the end [[spoiler:the original timeline can only be restored by destruction of the timeship (which had existed "outside time" while aboard centuries of subjective time passed), which Captain Janeway brings about by ramming it with the ''Voyager'', destroying both ships in the process and "resetting" the timeline back one year.]]
* Both mocked and utilized in ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Next Generation}}'' by Q in "Tapestry". While changing the past would certainly alter one man's future, it's incredibly self-centered to think that changing one person would change ''everything''.
* In what is widely considered to be the best episode of ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'' (TOS), "The City on the Edge of Forever", the world falls to Nazi Germany and Starfleet never forms because one woman didn't die when she was supposed to.\\
\\
The story -- originally written by Harlan Ellison -- had been radically revised, by the time the episode was shot. So much that Ellison [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_City_on_the_Edge_of_Forever_(episode)#Story asked to be cited under a pseudonym]]. It's unsure whether -- at least, in part -- his displeasure with the final result had anything to do with the revised version's [[http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/62/franklin62art.htm subtext that opponents of the Vietnam War were comparable to appeasers of Hitler]].
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS02E20WhatIsAndWhatShouldNeverBe What Is And What Should Never Be]]", Dean is tricked into believing a Djin has taken him to an AlternateUniverse where his mom never died, and none of his family members became Hunters. Everyone's living happily, but as a consequence, his relationship with Sam is estranged because of their lack of time together, and all the people he saved as a Hunter died in their "accidents" without the brothers there to prevent them. Luckily, it was AllJustADream.
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS04E03InTheBeginning In the Beginning]]", Dean is ''actually'' taken back into time by Castiel, who warns him that any attempt to save his mother will inevitably result in the death of the innocents he has saved. Subverted in that no matter what Dean did, things [[StableTimeLoop ended up going exactly the same]] way anyway.
** In "[[Recap/SupernaturalS06E11AppointmentInSamarra Appointment in Samarra]]", a non-time travel related version happens when Dean [[GodJob becomes Death for a day]] and fails to reap a twelve-year-old-girl, the butterfly ensures that things go badly for everyone near her. For example, a nurse gets off early because her help wasn't needed and dies in a car crash. His husband sees her die and attempts suicide by car accident. Presumably, this kind of thing would continue forever.
* Hysterically parodied in a ''Series/TheWhitestKidsUKnow'' sketch. Every time Trevor and Sam try to change history, random things happen (because that's how physics works). They go back in time and kill Hitler; JFK turns into a panda bear. They stop two Godzilla-esque monsters from attacking each other and cause the Vietnam War. After preventing 9/11, one of the character's sister starts to disappear from a picture (a parody of ''Back to the Future''). In response, they scream "We have go back and save 9/11!" Seems the maker of the show didn't know anyone close to the attack.
7th Mar '17 11:22:45 PM Nintendoman01
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* ''FanFic/RosarioVampireBrightestDarkness Act III'': When Luna discovers from her [[CainAndAbel evil sister Falla]] that Rason is destined to die during the fight against Kiria, she promptly leaves to find a way to change his fate. Unfortunately, it's revealed in chapter 40 that Luna was supposed to be present in the original timeline during the fight against Kuyou, and save Astreal from death at Kuyou's hands; with Luna's departure, Kuyou torches Astreal with no effort. On top of it all, Falla, [[{{Jerkass}} heartless bitch]] that she is, knew that Astreal was doomed to die without Luna all along and deliberately neglected to inform Luna as such until it was too late.
10th Jan '17 11:49:32 AM GM_3826
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* ''Theater/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild''; After Albus and Scorpio use a Time Turner to [[spoiler: save Cedric's life by making him lose the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, he feels so humiliated that he joins the Death Eaters and kills Neville. As a consequence of this, Nagini never died, and Harry could never kill Voldemort, leading to a BadFuture where Voldemort ruled Britain]].

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* ''Theater/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild''; ''Theatre/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild''; After Albus and Scorpio use a Time Turner to [[spoiler: save Cedric's life by making him lose the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, he feels so humiliated that he joins the Death Eaters and kills Neville. As a consequence of this, Nagini never died, and Harry could never kill Voldemort, leading to a BadFuture where Voldemort ruled Britain]].
10th Jan '17 11:48:34 AM GM_3826
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* ''Theater/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild'', after Albus and Scorpio use a time turner to [[spoiler:save Cedric's life by causing him to lose the first challenge, he feels so humiliated that he joins the Death Eaters and kills Neville, thus avoiding the dead of Nagini, thus avoiding Harry to defeat Voldemort, thus causing a BadFuture with Volvermot ruling Britain]].

to:

* ''Theater/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild'', after ''Theater/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild''; After Albus and Scorpio use a time turner Time Turner to [[spoiler:save [[spoiler: save Cedric's life by causing making him to lose the first challenge, task of the Triwizard Tournament, he feels so humiliated that he joins the Death Eaters and kills Neville, thus avoiding the dead Neville. As a consequence of Nagini, thus avoiding this, Nagini never died, and Harry to defeat could never kill Voldemort, thus causing leading to a BadFuture with Volvermot ruling where Voldemort ruled Britain]].
14th Dec '16 5:27:09 AM Luppercus
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[[folder:Theater]]
* ''Theater/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild'', after Albus and Scorpio use a time turner to [[spoiler:save Cedric's life by causing him to lose the first challenge, he feels so humiliated that he joins the Death Eaters and kills Neville, thus avoiding the dead of Nagini, thus avoiding Harry to defeat Voldemort, thus causing a BadFuture with Volvermot ruling Britain]].
[[/folder]]
25th Nov '16 5:49:34 PM Eddy1215
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* Invoked in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' where Darkwing and Gosalyn accidentally travel back to when Darkwing was a kid. Being GenreSavvy, Gosalyn tells Darkwing not to interfere in the past, so Darkwing leaves rather than stop an Elvis-themed villain with a shockwave guitar from committing a robbery. Then it gets inverted where ''not'' interfering in the past is what causes the present to change, creating a world where the villain rules the city. Thus, Darkwing and Gosalyn have to go back to the past in a rare occurrence where SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong meets YouAlreadyChangedThePast (with a dash of StableTimeLoop as Darkwing inspired his younger self to become a hero).
* In ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' Omi decides to use the Sands of Time hoping that he can stop Chase Young from becoming evil by stopping him from drinking the Lao Mang Long soup. Unfortunately Master Monk Guan drank the soup instead and not only is he shown to be a better bad guy and has him under Hannibal's complete control but also have the Master Fung trapped in the Ying Yang world and Master Monk Guan has won.

to:

* Invoked in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' where Darkwing and Gosalyn accidentally travel back to when Darkwing was a kid. Being GenreSavvy, Gosalyn tells Darkwing not to interfere in the past, so Darkwing leaves rather than stop the King, an Elvis-themed villain with a shockwave guitar shock-wave guitar, from committing a robbery. Then it gets inverted where ''not'' interfering in the past is what causes the present to change, creating a world where the villain King rules the city. Thus, Darkwing and Gosalyn have to go back to the past in a rare occurrence where SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong meets YouAlreadyChangedThePast (with a dash of StableTimeLoop as Darkwing inspired his younger self to become a hero).
* In ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' Omi decides to use the Sands of Time hoping that he can stop save Chase Young from becoming being turned evil by stopping him from drinking the Lao Mang Long soup. Unfortunately Hannibal Bean. In doing so, however, Hannibal turns Master Monk Guan drank the soup instead instead, and not only is he Master Monk Guan shown to be a better bad guy even more dangerous on the Haylin side than Chase Young (forcing the monks out of the temple and has him under Hannibal's complete control but also have the trapping Master Fung trapped in the Ying Yang world and Master Monk Guan has won.world), [[TheDragon but he's shown to be completely loyal to Hannibal]].
This list shows the last 10 events of 184. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.ButterflyOfDoom