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Revisiting The Roots
"So we decided to make a Mario that made a fresh start by returning to its core principles. That's why we put 'New' in the title."

A series has diverged from its original premise or formula, perhaps because it grew a beard and outgrew a few old gags. Or perhaps it jumped a shark or two to the detriment of itself. In any case, the series (in style, or tone, or premise, the characters are not necessarily literally going back) returns to an earlier format maybe for a nostalgic/humorous looked at itself to poke fun at the behavior and actions of the characters early on in the series or maybe perhaps to fix some problems they've gained along the way.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The Buu saga of Dragon Ball Z tries to go back to the humor from the beginning of the series, after a long time being a fighting series.
    • This was also attempted with the beginning of Dragon Ball GT, but bad reception lead to it being steered back from that direction. As a result of this, the initial US broadcast and home video release skipped the first 16 episodes, condensing the more important things into a recap episode.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia began with a focus on WW2, but gradually moved beyond it as the series went on. When it was serialized in Birz magazine, it returned to the original setting.

Comic Books
  • Every so often, when the main members of the Rogues Gallery just can't come up with particularly good ideas for capers and run-of-the-mill street crime in Gotham City spikes upward, Batman will be called upon to beat down ordinary muggers and two-bit murderers. This never seems to bore Batman, however, but to strengthen his resolve: it reminds him how his lifelong quest began in the first place.
    Batman: [to a mugger as he handcuffs him] Slime like you made me...I owe you.

Film
  • Looks to be the case with the James Bond franchise as of Skyfall: besides the reintroduction of Q by the end of film, MI6 has moved into the Universal Exports offices from the older films, Moneypenny is reintroduced and there's a new (male) M.
  • Godzilla (2014) goes back to the roots of the original, this one is being made Darker and Edgier to feel more like a horror film, with Godzilla being more of a terrifying force of nature and with the grim results of his rampage not being glossed over.
  • Man of Steel's take on the Superman mythos is largely this, taking quite a few cues from Siegel and Shuster's earliest Superman comics from the 1930's. Clark Kent is presented as a working-class hero and a defender of the common man rather than an iron-jawed lawman, he's regarded with fear and suspicion by most authority figures, and he spends most of the movie feeling like an outsider. Even the movie's most controversial moment, when Superman snaps General Zod's neck, is actually very much in line with his Golden Age portrayal; in the early days of the comic, Superman wasn't quite the Actual Pacifist that he later became, and he had quite a few Shoot the Dog moments.

Live-Action Television
  • The fifth Season Finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ends with a battle against a demonic god for the fate of reality...but starts with Buffy killing a vampire in an alleyway. This is after she'd already blown up a giant demon snake in season three and fought off a man-made demon-cyborg in season four. Buffy even lampshades this by pointing out she hadn't done something so simple in a while.
  • Charmed's Sorting Algorithm of Evil became somewhat more akin to a bell-curve. The first three seasons dealt with them battling warlocks and demons, the fourth had them battling the very Source Of All Evil, the fifth ended with them battling the classic Greek Titans, the sixth had them go against a Well-Intentioned Extremist Angel, and the seventh had them end destroying a past contender of the Source. By the eighth and final season, Word of God says that Billie and Christy, sibling female witches like the protagonists, was a great way to ground the show.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was forced by Christopher Meloni's departure to go back to a more rounded set of characters instead of being the Stabler & Benson Show.
  • Star Trek: Voyager was this for the Star Trek franchise after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine focused more on political intrigue and Darker and Edgier themes: A lone Federation starship exploring the dangerous unknowns and meeting new life and new civilizations.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Eleventh Doctor's tenure reintroduced a number of elements from the classic series that had been long gone, such as the Doctor's face superimposed over the time vortex in the title sequences and the redesigned TARDIS interior based more closely on the First Doctor-era sets (albeit with better production design). Even the Doctor's costume, bow tie and all, is based closely on the Second Doctor's old threads. The approach to the plots also hearkens back more to the older style of more isolated settings and horror-like stories as opposed to the bombastic, blockbuster-like style of Russel T. Davies — the Series 6 finale even has the Doctor saying that he had gotten "too big, too noisy" as of late.
    • The casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor was seen as a move in this direction, bringing the Doctor back to the Cool Old Guy of the show's early days. Tellingly, Capaldi ties with William Hartnell for the oldest actor ever to take the role, but he follows Matt Smith—the youngest actor ever to take it.

Music
  • Starflyer 59's album I Am the Portuguese Blues was a deliberate throwback to their first three albums: lots of guitar distortion and no keyboards, in contrast with the Synth Pop-influenced sound they had evolved into since then. (In fact, most of the tracks were unreleased demos from that era, re-recorded for this album.) Its cover art (a solid color, with no text at all) was also a reference to those first three albums.
  • Loreena McKennitt started off singing traditional Celtic songs and slowly expanded to include other cultures, becoming more of a World musician. In 2010, she released an album composed of traditional Celtic songs.
  • The Beatles and Let It Be. It bears pointing out that the Let It Be project was originally called Get Back because this was precisely the idea (and that of course is also the reason the song was called "Get Back"). This was an attempt to return to the sort of spontaneous, energetic rock and roll they'd played at the beginning of their career - as opposed to the sophisticated and intricately produced music they'd moved on to. The recording sessions were a disaster, and they largely abandoned the "back to basics" approach for their last recorded album, Abbey Road.
  • Orbital first rose to prominence making acid techno—then they switched to a style based on eclectic sampling, while straddling the line between ambient and rave music. (Another attempted style change, 2001's darker album The Altogether, was not as well-received.) For their 2004 release, Blue Album—at the time, meant to be their last album ever—they returned to the acid techno sound of their early years. The song "One Perfect Sunrise" was a modern counterpart to their classic "Halcyon + On + On". Even the title, Blue Album, was a reference to Orbital's first two albums, which were officially self-titled but unofficially known as Green Album and Brown Album.
  • They Might Be Giants' 2011 album "Join Us" brought back some of the drum machines and synths from their first few albums.
  • Ratt's 2010 album "Infestation" brought back the band's classic hard rock sound.
  • Elton John did this twice:
    • In 1983, after a bit of a Dork Age of inconsistent albums and slow sales, with some Executive Meddling involved, Elton reunited his core band of Davey Johnstone (guitar), Dee Murray (bass) and Nigel Olsson (drums), the core musicians who backed Elton on his classic 1972-75 material, hiring Bernie Taupin back as full-time lyricist, and delivered a consistent and '70s-nostalgic set of material with subtle synth touches. The album that resulted, Too Low For Zero, and the memorable Music Videos he filmed to promote the albums, lead to Elton's comeback in The Eighties.
    • In 2001, after another bit of a Dork Age of inconsistent synth-and production-heavy, AOR-geared albums, Elton, infuenced by listening to Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker album, decided to write a full album of strong material with a "stripped-down" sound, Songs From The West Coast, aimed more at his singer-songwriter roots than the pop charts. It gained moderate sales, but earned him his strongest reviews in years and restored much of his reputation as an artist. It also paved his direction over his career for the next 14 years and counting.

Tabletop Games
  • Magic: The Gathering's 2009 core set, Magic 2010, marked a return to the flavor-driven design sensibility of the original Alpha and Beta releases.

Video Games
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series, after going 3-D and having elaborate storylines and darker characters, begot Sonic Advance, which played in 2-D and was very reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in stage design, game mechanics, and the simple plot of "Dr. Eggman kidnaps animals; Sonic rescues them."
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was another try at going back to basics, though it had different physics from the original games and used the modern character designs. While this was enough to placate casual fans, those involved with the Sonic fanbase's fangame and hacking communities (which have been responsible for classic Sonic fangames with the exact look and physics of the originals as well was the recent mobile ports of Sonic 1, 2, and Sonic CD) took significant issue with the physics and look of the game. Attempts by SEGA of America to placate this part of the fanbase by inviting them to a special event to take their feedback went even further south when it was made evident that SOA was just giving them lip service.
    • This would be remedied, ironically, in a game designed to evolve the series further: Part of the premise of Sonic Generations is that Sonic from the classic games is brought forward in time to the present. Classic Sonic plays very close to the original games, closer than in Sonic 4, and is near indistinguishable in the 3DS version.
  • After 10 years of collecting Stars and Shine Sprites, New Super Mario Bros. 1 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii went back to the original Super Mario premise of having to reach the end of the stage, flagpole at the end and everything. This idea was so successful that Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World wound up having the exact game design style transferred to 3-D.
  • Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10: By that time, Mega Man games had complex storylines and complicated gameplay. These two games kept their plots simple and plays almost exactly like an extension of Mega Man 2, even keeping the NES appearance. In fact, these two games were designed by the same people who made the original Mega Man games.
  • Halo 2 and Halo 3 added all sorts of new aspects. though the Gaiden Game (Halo 3: ODST) and prequel (Halo: Reach) deliberately scaled them back, hewing closer to the original gameplay model presented by Halo: Combat Evolved.
  • The Final Fantasy series; after VI was a steampunk world that coined the term Magitek, VII and VIII shifted to a modern-esque setting with electricity spaceships and cities. IX then brought things back to a medieval setting of castles, airships and villages. As well, while VII and VIII had a three-character party system where they were as unique in battle (or not) as the character customized them, IX went back to the style of four party members with pre-set skills as earlier games had done.
  • Atelier Rorona is intended to be this for the Atelier series. After the more standard Eastern RPG style of Atelier Iris and Mana Khemia games, Atelier Rorona returns to the simulation, alchemy-based gameplay of the first five games (which are only available in Japan).
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a return to the 2D roots of The Legend of Zelda after years spent refining the mechanics of the 3D iterations of the series and after 2.5D games like Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks went for more of an experimental hybrid approach. It also harkens back to the much more non-linear titles of the franchise's early years, going so far as to reintroduce a concept (buying a large proportion of items important to the quest in out-of-dungeon stores) that hadn't been seen in its original form since the very first game. And the title, of course, is deliberately evocative of the Super Nintendo-era. A Link To the Past, as are the visual style and The Overworld.
  • This is the stated intention of the upcoming video game Alien: Isolation. To date, nearly every game based on the Alien series has taken its cues from the later movies (Aliens onward), featuring Badass Space Marines facing waves of Xenomorphs with BFGs. Isolation will revisit the franchise's Survival Horror roots, pitting a lone everyman protagonist against a single alien in a dark spaceship, just as the 1979 original did. As the production staff has stated in interviews, practically everything in the game (from architecture to sound effects) is inspired by the original Alien in some way.
  • After struggling with the difficult-to-program and (initially) overpriced PlayStation 3, many people have observed that Sony's strategy with the PlayStation 4 and has much in common with the things that made the original PlayStation so successful, such as a developer-friendly system architecture and a competitive price point.

Webcomics

Web Original
  • For the Homestar Runner short "Hremail 7" (which retcons the origins of the Strong Bad Emails), the characters reverted back to older models (and for some of them, older voices), and the dialogue features a bunch of catch phrases or running gags that hadn't been used in years.
  • The Irate Gamer, since the jump to HD, had an ongoing storyline. Towards the end of the storyline, Bores created some non-sequential episodes that were closer to the earlier videos.

Western Animation
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