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Reset Button

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"Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."
T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

The Reset Button is any means by which previously occurring drastic events are made partially or wholly irrelevant by the end of the story. This is very common to American TV shows both live-action and animated, particularly from The '60s through The '90s in part because programming directors like to have the luxury of repeating episodes in any order, and in part because (prior to the advent of the Internet) watching or catching up on a missed episode could be nearly impossible for viewers. This trope became less common as the web became more widespread, and as home media and streaming became more accessible. It is also a prime way of enforcing Status Quo Is God.


The technique was also popular in early science fiction (e.g. by Wells). The great invention and the scientist would disappear by the end of the book.

Any Reset Button events in a Time Travel story are usually related to, or caused by, a Temporal Paradox. For when the creators hit the Reset Button on a video game, see Bag of Spilling. When the player hits it, a lot, over and over, see Save Scumming.

One of the easiest ways to cause a Broken Aesop, as it makes depicting any consequences of misdeeds in an earlier episode impossible.

Can lead to a Story Reset often in such a way that parts of the story are rewritten at a later date.

When a series heavily relies on Status Quo Is God, you can expect this trope to be used in some shape or form in order to avoid a continuity (which holds especially true for cartoons), sometimes Played for Laughs.


Three Wishes stories often end with the last wish undoing the damage from the first two.

A Super-Trope to Reset Button Ending, "Groundhog Day" Loop (where the reset applies to almost everyone save for those aware of the loop), Sequel Reset (the button is pressed during the sequel).

Compare All Just a Dream, Filler, Non-Serial Movie, World-Healing Wave, Opening a Can of Clones, No Ontological Inertia and Unprocessed Resignation. See also Restart the World and Close-Enough Timeline. If this is used to prevent the characters from achieving something positive because it would end the series or seriously change its premise, see Yank the Dog's Chain.

Contrast with Here We Go Again!

See also "End of the World" Special that concludes many anime series, in which much of the damage done in the series is reversed, but the main storylines either remain or become resolved, and Have You Tried Rebooting?, which has to do with a literal restart function/button to fix a piece of malfunctioning technology.


Not to be confused with Snap Back, which is when events are reverted but no explanation is given.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Code Geass essentially does this for its second season. Lelouch may know a little more about the details surrounding his mother's death, but those details are essentially unimportant to Lelouch meeting his mother and resolving the series. The reset is also part of a Gambit Roulette played by Charles Britannia to prevent Lelouch from meddling in his plans without killing him.
  • In Digimon Adventure tri., the entire Digital World was rebooted because it was on the verge of being destroyed by Meicoomon's virus. All digimon, even ones that who died in the real world, were brought back as their fresh level form. All digimon were left with no memories of anything before the reboot. Even Kari and TK's D3 digivices were reduced to their original forms.
  • In the Dragon Ball series, the Dragon Balls are frequently used as a reset button for resurrecting dead characters, recreating destroyed planets, etc. Entire series are based on the concept of collecting all the Dragon Balls to undo the damage done in the previous arc. Unlike most Reset Buttons, this one actually has limits, especially early on when a specific wish can only be made once. The more powerful Namekian Dragon Balls didn't have this limit, though, and it was removed from the Earth Dragon Balls after Dende replaced Kami. There's also a strict time limit, at least when it comes to resurrecting the dead: the wish has to be made within a year of the person's death. Which could have added complications given that the Dragon Balls spread across the world and become inert for a year after a wish is granted, and are completely untraceable until they reactivate.
    • It turns out Whis has this as a power. As opposed to other versions of time travel in this universe which simply create an alternate timeline (like Future Trunks'), they can simply rewind time for up to three minutes and undo whatever just happened. Since the first instance was Freiza blowing up the earth and killing almost everyone else simply because they took a little too long to kill him, this was a very good thing.
    • This also applies out-of-universe too; in Dragon Ball Z this was an Enforced Trope due to the storylines not being in the manga - the Journey to Namek Saga, Garlic Jr. Saga and Otherworld Tournament Saga had to reset the storyline in the end, and Status Quo Is God was in play, these story arcs were never given a Continuity Nod in later episodes of the show.
  • The end of the 11eyes anime. Everyone except the three main characters is resurrected and loses their memories of everything bad that happened, including 'their own deaths'.
  • In End of Evangelion, humanity gets reset, with Shinji and Asuka as Adam and Eve. Maybe...
    • Rebuild of Evangelion more or less confirms this to some extent with the seas being red, Lilith's corpse being on the moon and Kaworu's ominous "The third child again huh?" and "This time, I'll show you true happiness."
    • The manga ending also may support that theory (at least in that continuity), showing Asuka and Shinji meeting for the first time in a restored world where Second Impact never occurred.
  • In Excel Saga, the Reset Button is actually a character: the Great Will of the Macrocosm, a floating vortex with arms. Her major purpose is to continually resurrect cast members as needed, which is quite often. Things get complicated when she not only fails to bring back Pedro, but starts sleeping with him. It turns out she and his wife are one and the same... somehow. The Reset Button gets pressed at least four times in the first episode alone...
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Ultear's goal for most of her life was to find a magical Reset Button that could give her back her lost childhood. At one point she thought she found it when she discovered the Dangerous Forbidden Technique "Last Ages". Master Hades then told her why it was considered dangerous and forbidden: the spell can reverse time, but it also takes away the caster's time in the process via Rapid Aging. She eventually decides to cast it anyway to prevent the Dragons' invasion. Unfortunately, she is only able to turn back time by one minute. Fortunately, that one minute is enough to save many lives, including Gray's.
    • This is also Zeref's master plan in the final arc of the series. With the possibility of dying seemingly beyond his grasp after Natsu failed to kill him, Zeref decides he's going to use Fairy Heart to power one of these, allowing him to go all the way back to his childhood, with all of his current memories intact, to stop Natsu from dying, and by extension, himself from ever getting the Curse of Contradictions in the first place. This would change the present so radically that the entire universe as the rest of the cast knows it would be Ret-Gone, making his threat to wipe out humanity Metaphorically True.
  • The ending of Fullmetal Alchemist downplayed this trope. Only one thing was reset: Roy regaining his eyesight and even that was justified by the leftover Philosopher's Stone. Permanent changes include
    • The death of King Bradley and Gruman installed in his place
    • Ed losing his alchemy
    • Ed getting his arm back and Al his body
  • Miaka of Fushigi Yuugi uses her last wish to Suzaku so that the two worlds would return to normal. They don't.
  • In Future Diary, Yukiteru Amano's sole reason to winning the game and becoming God is so he can wield the Reset Button and bring all his friends back to life. It won't work.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry starts most arcs as if the previous ones had never happened; this at first seems to be Negative Continuity but the first season's final arc implies something more is going on when Keiichi freaks out (confessing to his very-much-alive friend that he can remember killing her) after suddenly remembering traumatic details from the very first arc. In the second season, we're introduced to the character that keeps pressing the Reset Button.
  • In the original, 1969 Himitsu no Akko-chan series, after meeting a new deaf kid, the heroine Akko-chan uses her magic mirror to wish herself deaf-mute and achieve a better understanding of his plight. However, when believing to have already gotten her Aesop Akko-chan tries to wish her hearing back, she finds out that, due to having wished herself deaf and mute, she no longer possesses the ability to communicate verbally, and the mirror refuses her wish. The Reset Button hits itself, restoring the heroine at her original state, only after the protagonist is scared into her right Aesop.
  • Since the four Inuyasha movies are not canon, each includes a short scene after the credits that undoes anything that happened during the movie that might have been expected to affect the series. For example, in The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass, the final scene returns Inuyasha and Kagome to their previous state of UST despite their earlier kiss and the end scene of Swords of an Honorable Ruler has Kagome put the necklace of control (which was previously broken) back around Inuyasha's neck.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In Diamond is Unbreakable, once Yoshikage Kira is hit with the Arrow (again), Killer Queen gains a third bomb, Bites the Dust. With it, anyone who discovers Kira's identity via the bomb's carrier is blown up and time rewinds to an hour beforehand. It's not a total reset, however; Bites the Dust's carrier still remembers what happened, and so long as it's still in effect, those previously killed will still die at the same time they did in a previous loop.
    • Although Enrico Pucci of Stone Ocean manages to cause a universal reset in the climax, it's undone when Emporio kills him before the time of the new universe reaches that of Made in Heaven's activation. Though things are mostly back to normal on a cosmic scale, all the previously dead heroes come back as people with different names and histories, and the events of the part effectively never occurred. As the following Parts take place in an Alternate Universe completely separate from the events of the first 6 Parts, this can also be seen as a reset button for the series as a whole.
  • In the Love Hina anime, any time it seems there might be progression in the relationship between two characters (most usually Keitaro and Naru), an event will occur (typically Keitaro "accidentally" touching Naru's breasts with a consequent Megaton Punch making Keitaro A Twinkle in the Sky) to ensure that Status Quo Is God. Conversely, in the manga, Keitaro and Naru's relationship does progress (though occasionally in a "two steps forward, one step back" kind of way), and the Distant Finale shows their wedding day.
    • The Hinata Inn is more or less destroyed on several occasions, but always comes back.
  • The end of Magikano. It was revealed that time should be reversed every year so the Demon King (Haruo) would not awaken but to put some spice in the story, this time it was too late but was resolved anyway.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid. Nagasumi's house and school get destroyed on a regular basis, but always come back. Handwaved with the idea that Lunar's father owns a construction company.
  • The Reset Button ending of My-HiME, in which Miyu shatters the pillars, restoring all the Himes' most important people to life (as well as a few of the Himes themselves), and even heals Nao's eye.
  • Naruto:
    • Pain's last act is to resurrect everyone he killed during the attack on the Hidden Leaf Village, but it's implied that he can only do so within a short period of time after killing them. It also kills him from the strain, so along with there only being a couple people on the planet who can do that, it isn't exactly common.
    • After he undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, Obito attempts to do the same trick as Pain, using the Outer Path: Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique to resurrect everyone killed during the Fourth Ninja World War. This will no doubt kill him since not only are there many more casualties than the Invasion of Konoha, but Obito is not an Uzumaki. However, the technique is hijacked by Madara at the last minute, who uses it to resurrect himself.
  • The Animated Music Video On Your Mark has one, around 04:34, when two of the main characters are about to die.
  • In the Ruby/Sapphire arc of Pokémon Adventures, Norman, Steven, and Courtney die in the battle, so Ruby whips out a Celebi who brings them back.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Madoka uses her wish to reboot the universe into a slightly less horrible place by making it so witches cannot exist; all it cost her in return was being forgotten by everyone except Homura. A lesser example occurs every time Homura resets time following a failed attempt to save Madoka from dying or becoming a witch.
  • In Sailor Moon, the title character twice serves as the embodiment of a reset button, at the end of the first and fifth seasons. Not only does she bring the entire main cast Back from the Dead in both cases, but in the first season, she also erases their memories (as well as her own) of being superheroes and saving the world, because she just wants to be normal. She is given her memories back in the very next episode, when a new enemy arrives. She also acted as a reset button in the manga at the end of the Infinity Arc when she brought the entire planet back after Sailor Saturn killed everyone on it. Furthermore, she also acts as a universe-wide reset button in the last chapter of the manga.
  • Portions of the series Saitama Chainsaw Shoujo were rendered moot when it was revealed that the classmates Fumio sliced and diced were actually doppelgangers. The real students were locked away in another dimension.
  • In Serial Experiments Lain, this is how the nice, child-like incarnation of Lain deals with rumors at school. Twice. It's unclear whether the events are erased, memories are erased, or whether the two are equivalent. See also Reset Button Ending.
  • Sgt. Frog: Kululu's back-up memory drive in Episode 51.
  • Lampshaded in Sket Dance. In chapter 159, their wacky antics burns their club room down, and in the following chapter, when trying to explain themselves, Bossun and Himeko insists that it's a "gag manga" and that the room will surely return to normal in a week's time.
  • This trope is combined with Set Right What Once Went Wrong in Tenchi Muyo!. At the end of the third OVA series, Washu, Tokimi and Tsunami come to realize that Tenchi is the avatar of their universe's God. Thus they decide to reboot the universe so that Tenchi comes into his powers more naturally and the damage caused by Tokimi's attempt to force an avatar never happens. However, since doing so means that Noike would never come to meet Tenchi, a future version of her slips in to make sure the message that kickstarted the craziness of the third OVA series is sent.
  • In The Wallflower manga, some progress has been made with Sunako and her unladylike behavior (she hardly ever gets nosebleeds anymore, for a start), but any development that would actually change the manga dynamic for good is reset. The most infuriating example of this is a late chapter in which Sunako finally realizes that she's beautiful and Kyohei finally seems to be having a Love Epiphany in regards to Sunako, only for all of that progress to be undone in the end thanks to a couple of thoughtless words from Kyohei.
  • In The World God Only Knows, part of the "Heart of Jupiter" saga has a minor one. After being sent to the past via Mental Time Travel, Keima must prevent a cute but emotionless young girl from committing suicide, and befriend her. Should the girl get overtaken by despair, she regresses into a baby and the Reset Button is pushed, sending Keima back to the start of the mission.
  • The end of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX's third season. Understandable, though, considering they killed off just about the entire cast. Was anyone expecting them to stay dead?

    Audio Plays 

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, numerous cards can wipe the playing field clear of any combination of permanents in play and/or cards in hand. Its typical use is in fast decks against slow decks. However, cards that better match the idea of a Reset Button are Lich's Mirror and Sway of the Stars, though neither are perfect examples; Lich's Mirror only provides a reset button for one player and Sway of the Stars sets players' life totals to 7 rather than the beginning 20 (but in every other way does in fact reset the game to the beginning).
    • Karn Liberated restarts the game, but still isn't a perfect example because all non-Aura permanents exiled by it start under you control.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the card Final Destiny, due to its 5-card discard cost and the game's strict limit of only having 6 cards in your hand at the end of your turn, is virtually unplayable. (Certain other cards such as the continuous spell Infinite Cards, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin in that there is no limit to either player's hand size, and Enervating Mist, a continuous trap that sets your opponent's hand size limit to 5, subvert this rule.) More widely used but less powerful versions include Heavy Storm and Dark Hole, which wipes all spells/traps and all monsters, respectively.
    • With gameplay the way it is they're not really "Reset Buttons", so much as "what you had is in the Graveyard", and for many strategies, Zombie decks in particular, this works in their favor. The closest thing to an actual reset button is the Banned card Fiber Jar, which resets everything back to the beginning save for RFG zone and Life Points.
    • Then there's Rainbow dragon, a 4000/0 special summon with no cost other than having all 7 different crystal beasts out, his effects can't be used on the turn he's summoned, but he has 2, the first is to send every crystal beast on you side of the field (a total of nine thanks to their effect of being spells when destroyed) to the graveyard for a 1000 point boost for each, the second is remove all crystal beasts in your graveyard from the game and then return every card on the field to their owners deck.

    Comic Books 
  • All the events of Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy end up getting erased via time-travel, because they caused Ooo to be conquered by evil extra-dimensional robots.
  • Age of Ultron both plays this trope straight and averts it. The series opens in the aftermath of a Great Offscreen War, with most of The Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four having been killed by Ultron, and ends with Wolverine and Sue Storm going back in time and preventing the whole mess from ever occurring. However, we later learn that as a result of the Reset Button being hit, violent "Time Quakes" are appearing throughout the universe, A.I.s are popping up around the globe and going absolutely berserk, and as the icing on the cake, Galactus has now been teleported to the Ultimate Marvel reality.
  • The end of Angel: After the Fall looks this way, until you realize that everyone in L.A. still remembers Hell A. Everyone knows that demons are real, everyone remembers seeing death or possibly actually dying, and everyone knows that Angel's a hero.
  • In Captain America, Steve Rogers has become an old man, twice, and has passed on the title of Captain America to someone else on several occasions before becoming Captain America once again.
  • In the Dark Xena series by Dynamite, Gabrielle convinces a Cthulhu type being to hit the reset button, causing everything to go back to the way it was before season 4 of Xena: Warrior Princess, but not without consequences....
  • Done interestingly to Deadpool: in the final issue of Despicable Deadpool, Deadpool hooks himself up with a shit ton of drugs and goes about inside his mind obliterating every bit of his memory of the past few years, including his buddy-buddy antics with Wolverine, Captain America and his time on Uncanny Avengers. He also, earlier, murdered the writer whose last issue was that issue. All for the sake of returning him to his Merc with a Mouth roots.
  • Entire plot reset in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors. At the very end, Agent Wesley Carter is sent back in time and signs Freddy's search warrant. Thus eliminating the technicality that gave him freedom, preventing him from being burned and becoming a dream demon. Which makes it so all the Nightmare on Elm Street films didn't happen. In turn, Freddy was the one who resurrected Jason after he died in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, therefore Jason will stay dead at the end, preventing Jason X from taking place. And meaning that the Freddy/Jason timeline has a "split timeline" starting at Freddy vs. Jason, splitting into F vs J vs A and Jason X.
  • Green Lantern: Rebirth and The Flash: Rebirth both do this by way of taking the old Silver Age stars of both series (Hal and Barry respectively) and putting them back into the starring role. Green Lantern in particular felt like this, due to the major Retcon of Parallax being necessary for it to work and bringing back the entire Green Lantern Corps.
  • Very explicitly set up and used in the Thanos storyline The Infinity Gauntlet. In the first couple issues, Thanos kills off half the universe and sets the Earth spinning away from the sun. In the last couple issues, Nebula gains revenge on Thanos for putting her into a vegetative state, by taking control of the titular Gauntlet and reset time to a point before the torture began and undoing everything Thanos had done.
  • Iznogoud: Every story ends with the titular Evil Vizier getting Hoist by His Own Petard in some inescapable way, yet everything is back to normal by the next story. One album is entirely devoted to how he gets out of those situations, such as one story ending with Iznogoud becoming invisible is resolved by asking for the antidote (laughter). Iznogoud tries to find something funny enough to make him laugh, but the only thing that succeeds is seeing a riot break out in the markerplace. Unfortunately, since he's laughing at how stupid the rioters are, they hear him, and he's no longer invisible...
  • While Les Légendaires mostly averts this trope (every story arc is at least once referenced later, and any change that happen will remain), there was at least one exception with the story arc in Book 5 and 6, involving the current villain Ceyderom travelling through time in order to prevent the Legendaries from ever existing. After all Legendaries but Jadina died trying to stop him, Jadina ends up seizing the time travelling machine, going back to a few week before Ceyderom found it and destroying, thus cancelling everything that has happened since the beginning of the story arc; apparently, even her forgot everything that has happened then. On the other hand, the arc made mention of part of the Legendaries' past, and introduced two characters (Prince Halan and Tenebris) who came back later.
  • In Marvel Comics' miniseries Mys-Tech Wars, Nick Fury infiltrates a Mys-Tech compound and inadvertently sets off a chain reaction that threatens to destroy the world. The whole thing is brought back to square one at the end with Time Travel.
  • The entirety of The Sandman is Morpheus resetting the status quo. However since we never saw what things were like before Morpheus was captured, things are established for the reader as they are reestablished for the characters.
  • Essentially what the mushrooms are in Seconds. Inverted, they send Katie to another timeline where whatever action Katie didn't take is the one she did.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The most thorough and brutal reset button ever seen was the end of The Clone Saga. Over the course of the last decade, Peter Parker met a resurfaced clone of himself, got Mary Jane pregnant, suffered superpower outages, and gave up being Spider-Man to pursue family life. Everything actually seemed to be changing (some would argue for the better). Then in a four issue arc, Mary Jane was drugged and her baby was stolen, even though she thought she had miscarried (the child was never seen again, except for the alternate-continuity Spider-Girl series). And Peter's clone was killed by Norman Osborn, who had been supposedly dead for thirty years! In one fell swoop, Peter was Spider-Man again, his clone was gone, his major villain was back, and he wasn't (to his knowledge) a father.
    • Continuing the theme of Spider-Man plot regression, years later, Osborn taunted Peter by claiming to have kidnapped "May". Peter assumed that he meant his daughter (whom Osborn actually did kidnap), but discovered that his frail Aunt May had been a held a prisoner for nearly ten years, and not dead at all.
    • Yet another example occurred when Peter rewrote the last twenty years of canon by making a deal with Mephisto. He gave up his marriage (and quite a few other historically established facts) to save his Aunt's life. It took a while, but the editors finally undid the last twenty years of stories.
  • Suicide Squad had an interesting psychological version. Late in the run of the first series, cold-blooded Death Seeker Deadshot hunted down and shot someone who was using his costume, then walked away, effectively killing and abandoning his Deadshot persona. In issues after that you can see him becoming more emotional and engaged, though no less homicidal. But in the final arc of the book, the costume is returned to him; he puts it back on (despite the bullet hole in the forehead) and promptly reverts to his old behavior.
  • Back in the late nineties, Supergirl Vol 4 introduced a new Supergirl with a new supporting cast and Rogues Gallery. All of them were Put on a Bus in the final story arc Many Happy Returns.
  • James Robinson's 2 year+ World of New Krypton arc seemed to promise big and lasting changes for Superman. Kandor rescued from Brainiac and re-enlarged along with 80,000 Kryptonians (including Supergirl's parents). Superman leaving Earth, his wife and regular job to go live on the New Krypton they create. The destruction of the Phantom Zone and the release of all the prisoners it contained. Mon-El being cured of his lead poisoning. The return of Lois' father General Lane as a xenophobic human supremacist who commits some quite horrific war crimes against Superman's people, showing Kal/Clark that Earth isn't perhaps the home he thought it was. Lois being sacked from the Daily Planet. The death of Jimmy Olsen... All snapped back to the previous status quo in the over the course of the four issue War of the Supermen mini.

    Fan Works 
  • In Always Having Juice, Shadow’s Time Travel ability amounts to this; if he ever messes up, he strikes a pose and goes back in time to a point where he can start over.
  • Time Vortexes in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series usually act as these.
  • In Avenger of Steel, the only way for the Ancient One to undo the ritual that Lorelei used to take control of Superman is to use the Time Stone to reverse time for Superman and Lorelei to a point before the ritual was performed.
  • In the novelized adaptation titledBreath of the Wild, the Malice Orb that Astor uses is eventually purged of its darkness and becomes the Sheikah Orb, which subsequently chooses Paya as its next user. It grants her extensive powers, including the power to manipulate the flow of time in a given area. She uses it as this trope, restoring destroyed structures to their pre-Calamity appearance, which she demonstrates with the Great Plateau's Temple of Time.
  • Couturiere mocks the notion of Ladybug's Miraculous Cure functioning this way, and milks it for drama. The akumatized Marinette shows her captives a pair of fake Ladybug earrings, informing them that their heroine will not be coming to save them, and that all the damage she inflicts upon them will not be wiped away by a wave of magical ladybugs. That it will, in fact, be permanent. After she's freed, Marinette retrieves the real earrings, transforms, and uses Miraculous Cure anyway. While this erases the physical consequences, the emotional and psychological impact remain.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 11 of the third story, Diplomacy Through Schooling, Twilight (thanks to having access to all magics) is able to tap Time's powers and rewind time for the Golden Oaks Library and her school, restoring them and all inanimate objects inside to how they were before Tirek destroyed them.
  • The Stargate SG-1 fanfic Guilt Undone sees Samantha Carter using the 'reset button' idea; after spending the previous couple of chapters going through a Trauma Conga Line of only realising that she was in love with Daniel Jackson after turning him down for a date and watching him get killed because he was caught off-guard by the planet's natives on their next mission, Sam is visited by her future self, who shows her a complex time machine that can either send a person back physically or merge them with their own past selves to let them literally 're-do' preceding events. With the knowledge that Daniel's continued survival will allow the SGC to discover an Ancient repository before Anubis, Sam goes back two months, and is able to start a relationship with Daniel and save his life.
  • Leave for Mendeleiev:
  • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami features a very literal version in the form of a Reset Note, which Dark finds and uses to erase the villain Kaos and his entire plot arc from existence, after the author realized he'd written the story into a corner.
  • Near the end of Marie D. Suesse and the Mystery New Pirate Age!, a fic that takes place 20 years after Luffy's execution and the deaths of the Straw Hat and Heart Pirates, among many others, it is revealed that Law/The Disinfector's plan is to return the world to normal. To do so, he needs the power of Madelyn's wish-granting ability, he needs Mar to use her logic powers to twist the rules enough to make this wish possible, and he needs Mar's father, who has not made a wish, to make the wish. It succeeds, but it results in Mar, who was conceived after Madelyn went to the real world to escape the consequences of her actions, being removed from existence.
  • Marvel/DC After Hours has some fun with it.
    Spider-Man: Wait. So, that's all Superman had to do?
    Batman: What do you mean?
    Spider-Man: I mean, he just pressed the reset button, basically. I was kinda hoping for something, I don't know, a bit more... epic.
    Batman: It's a perfectly plausible resolution.
    Spider-Man: Yeah, but is it satisfying?
    Batman: It works within the boundaries of what was established.
    Spider-Man: Yeah, but it takes all the excitement out of it if all you have to do is make it so that it never happened.
    Batman: No, that's only if it turns out to just be a dream or something.
    Spider-Man: But you can't have drama without...
  • An unusual example in Pokéumans in that it's part of the beginning of the story, not the end. Here, the Legendary Pokemon used their power to delete all knowledge of their existence and return humanity to the way it was without them before escaping to an alternate dimension.
  • Subverted when the Author Avatar of The Random Crack of Haruhi Suzumiya attempts to reverse time, stating: "Now to sort out this universe for the next poor sod who comes to write here. I unleash the power of... THE BACKSPACE!" Unfortunately, another character saved a copy and posted it on the Fanfic website.
  • In Sluagh, at the Battle of Druim Cett, every good wizard character that died comes back to life due to the intervention of the Celtic Gods (considering Rowling's canonical epilogue is set in 2017 and Sluagh is set in 2003, there is really not much of a choice for the author).
  • A literal one in Tales of a Reset Mind, which resets the entire Mind World, effectively undoing most of the damage the protagonist sustained over his life.
  • Gaz Dreams of Genie: A Freudian Slip results in Gaz using her first wish to make it so Dib was never born, which creates a reality where Zim conquered Earth. After suffering a day as a human slave, Gaz is quick to use her second wish to undo the first, bringing Dib back into existence and restoring reality.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Michael Crichton film Sphere employed a Reset Button. The book's ending is left ambiguous enough that one can infer that the Reset Button attempt only made things worse, though The Film of the Book lacks this Karmic Twist Ending.
  • Bewitched, which already didn't make much sense, employed a reset button about 2/3rds of the way through the movie that practically took the story back to the beginning again.
  • Galaxy Quest had a very limited Reset Button: the Omega 13 could turn time back thirteen seconds. Just barely enough time to fix a major mistake. Fortunately, it wasn't a plot reset button. The movie was way too good to try that.
  • The Russian movie Day Watch ends (thanks to a piece of miraculous chalk) with a huge reset of not just all of its events, but also those of the first movie (Night Watch). Though at least there are some developments right after that and some of the characters seem to retain the memories of the original timeline.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Much like its game counterpart, has the both the Sands themselves and the Dagger of Time, which allowed the wielder to undo anything they wanted. And just like the game, the events of the entire film end up being reset back to the beginning.
  • In the Superman films:
    • When Lois dies in the first film, our hero starts flying around the earth and goes back in time to save her. Because we see Superman flying around the Earth, which reverses its rotation as he flies faster and faster, most viewers interpreted this scene as Superman reversing the rotation of the Earth, which magically reverses time. It was supposed to represent Superman flying so fast that he flies through time and into the past. The Earth spinning backward is a visual representation of the reversal of time, much like the hands of a clock going backwards in other time-traveling scenes. In the comics, Superman sometimes travels through time by exceeding the speed of light. He even made us forget about the earthquake that killed Lois. What earthquake? Exactly.
    • Superman's time travel ends up freeing the Kryptonian villains in Richard Donner's [superior] cut of Superman II, forcing Supes to do the "backwards rotation" thing a second time to undo all the crap General Zod started (in fairness, this was supposed to be part II's ending from the get-go; it was moved to part I after Donner got canned).
  • The 1936 film The Man Who Could Work Miracles (based on an H. G. Wells short story of the same name) employs a giant reset button. The eponymous George Fotheringay impulsively wishes to make the day last longer; his Literal Genie powers accomplish this by stopping the Earth's rotation. Just the Earth, not anything currently on the planet's surface. Suddenly finding himself spinning amid mountains of wreckage, he decides he is only human after all, wishes he'd never had his godlike powers and returns to the very beginning of the plot, minus the powers or memory he ever had them.
  • Subverted in Mystery Men: Trying to free Captain Amazing from Casanova Frankenstein's mansion, the team is confused by the toggle-switch instructions, and Mr. Furious asks if there is "some sort of reset button". When the toggles are flipped in the wrong order, killing Captain Amazing, Mr. Furious responds with, "Everybody heard me say reset button, right?"
  • The Jumanji board game; it's even there in the instructions. What it doesn't say is that the game can even undo time. It has at least the power to erase the years between starting and ending the game from history.
  • In Zathura, the Spiritual Successor to Jumanji, when the game ends the house is restored to normal and the astronaut is retconned out of existence. One of the scarier Reset Buttons, given that it involves being sucked into a black hole.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Generations used the Reset Button, via Picard's travelling back through the Nexus to before the star exploded, in order to bring back Kirk to help stop it from happening. An unintentional aversion exists here, in that it's established early in the movie that Picard's brother and nephew recently died in a house fire which caused the normally unflappable Picard to break down into tears. Yet even when given the power to return to any point in time he didn't even consider going back far enough to prevent his own blood relations' horrible fiery death.
    • Star Trek (2009) was more of a full reboot rather than a use of the reset button, and it was lampshaded in the movie.
  • Men in Black II pulled out a partial reset button to bring back Agent K, who had been sent to happy retirement at the end of the first film. Also to stubbornly maintain the new guy-mentor relationship between J and K, the film added a layer of secrets known to K but which J was completely unaware of, despite having worked as a Man in Black for years by then.
  • Happens at the end of Dogma '95 movie Truly Human.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past for the entire franchise, as Wolverine's interference has essentially made First Class the only film in the series which is (still) canon with respect to the new timeline. By the end of the movie, Scott, Jean and Professor Xavier are alive again, Rogue has her powers back, and she and Bobby are dating again.
  • Used in Weird Science in a complete cat in the hat manner (just before the parents get home)
  • In Risky Business, the main characters spends all his gains from the prostitution ring to repurchase all the stolen goods from his house, so it's like nothing really happened.
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, the aliens have the power to reset the day. The hero accidentally gets in control of this weapon and turns it against the aliens.
  • The Last Sharknado: It's About Time does this for the entire franchise, as Fin's actions prevent the original modern Sharknado and restore all of his lost friends and family to life.
  • Slipstream is a 2005 film featuring Sean Astin as a socially inept scientist who develops a time travel device (the eponymous 'Slipstream') that can act as one, letting him go back in time ten minutes by interfacing with a cellphone system regional antenna. He mainly uses it to reset his own mistakes (such as when he tries to get a date and fails, he just reverses time and tries again), but it later gets stolen by a bank robber. By the end of the film, the pair are on an airplane, where Astin's character winds up discovering he can now access many cellphone relay systems at once and bypass the ten-minute time limit... cue massive reset button to send them back in time almost a day, and the robber (who retains his memories due to holding onto Astin during the reset) decides not to rob him, knowing what it'll lead to.
  • Subverted in Avengers: Endgame. Five years after The Snap, the heroes seem to have a plan to go back in time and stop Thanos' actions in Avengers: Infinity War. They need Iron Man to help build the Applied Phlebotinum, but in the meantime he's settled down with Pepper and started a family, and won't risk erasing his daughter from existence. They eventually come to a sort of compromise: they won't alter history, but they can bring back Thanos' victims in the present. In the end, this is a Zig-Zagging Trope: everyone erased by The Snap is brought back, but between various heroes being Killed Off for Real and the sudden reappearance of billions of people after five years, it's clear that Nothing Is the Same Anymore.
  • At the end of The Matrix, Neo fully becomes "the One" and achieves Reality Warper powers within the Matrix. He's able to "see the code," transcending the artificiality of the virtual world and breaking all the rules. This is exemplified by killing Smith by ripping his code apart, stopping bullets and flying. In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo discovers that agents have been "upgraded," so he's back to shooting and fist-fighting them like he did all through the first movie. He also displays no other abilities beyond the flying and bullet-stopping he showed in the first film. Altogether, he's brought back down from Reality Warper to just the strongest member of the resistance.
  • Shortcut to Happiness: The jury declaring Stone's contract null and void seemingly undoes all of the events of the movie, with Stone suddenly finding himself back before he made his Deal with the Devil, with Julius still alive and presumably everything else undone as well.
  • At the end of The Man Who Could Work Miracles, the desperate and contrite Fotheringay calls on his powers one last time to put things back as they were before he ever entered the pub the day before, willing away his power to work miracles. Fotheringay appears again in the pub as in the early scenes of the film, again tries the trick with the lamp, and fails.
  • 1408: After subjectively going through weeks of utter hell and paranoia, and the room itself being reduced to a bombed-out wreck, when the timer on the clock runs out the room immediately reverts to the way it was when Enslin first entered it.
  • Mirror Mirror (1990): After Megan sacrifices herself to the mirror to stop it, Nikki begs the mirror to restore things back to how they were before. The mirror does this by creating a Stable Time Loop by sending Nikki and Megan back in time to take the place of Mary and Elizabeth Waterford.

  • Oracle of Tao: Abused. God has the ability to reset time. But because Ambrosia has a tendency toward stupid mistakes, this gets used way more often than it should be.
  • David and Leigh Eddings's Dreamers series ends with a massive Reset Button, using time travel to negate the existence of the Big Bad and thus negate absolutely everything that occurred in the previous novels. Almost the entire fanbase turned against the authors after that, understandably.
  • Deliberately pushed at the end of Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros. The princes of medieval Demonland, having triumphed over rival Witchland, nevertheless mourn the loss of their worthy enemies and the ending of their epic battles. Their companion the demi-goddess Sophonisba allows their entire world to be reset to just before the countries declare war, to the satisfaction of all involved, with the implication that this may keep happening for the rest of time.
  • BBC Books' last full-length novel based on Doctor Who featuring the Eighth Doctor sets up a Reset Button to clear the novel continuity out of the way of the new series, but doesn't actually press it. Instead, the book ends on a cliffhanger. Lance Parkin left the door open in case the new series bombed, as the BBC thought it might have done. In which case, novel continuity would have (mostly or completely) ignored the new series continuity. The main plot point reversed is the destruction of Gallifrey and the death of almost all of the Time Lords. Which then happens again (by different means) in the Backstory for the new series. Gallifrey is clearly a very unlucky planet.
  • The beginning of the book The Toyminator applies the reset button to the main characters so that they'll be exactly as they were when The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse (not misspelled), the previous book, began. This is only its first problem.
  • A Game of Universe features both direct and indirect examples of Reset Buttons. In the direct example, Germain goes back in time seven seconds after losing a magical battle and going to hell. The indirect example comes when an angel reveals that he's been following Germain and traveling back in time every time he dies.
  • Done in Animorphs when the gang go back in time to prevent the birth of Visser Four's human host body, thus undoing all of Visser Four's subsequent changes to history. Also done when they manage to acquire T-Rex morphs via time travel, likely to prevent it being an in-universe game breaker.
  • At the end of the Discworld novel Sourcery, Coin resets the entire Disc, undoing all the damage done by the magical war that had taken place.
  • Dean Koontz has been known to abuse it as well, you get the impression he likes to kill his heroes a few times before letting them off.
  • Tom Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising features a large-scale conflict between the Soviet Union and the NATO countries, but a treaty at the end essentially reestablishes the status quo, without any major changes. Although there are still a lot of dead people and ruined naval vessels and so forth, so it's really just a political reset button.
  • There is a giant "reset to reality" after The Bear and the Dragon deleting everything that happened in the last four books in the Ryanverse series.
  • The SF novel Space Chantey by R. A. Lafferty has a literal reset button, called a Dong Button; if you've made a major blunder, you can press the Dong Button to go back and correct your mistake. One scene makes use of the fact that, since losing all your money on an ill-advised gamble is a major mistake, it would be useful to have a Dong Button in a casino, and always make the largest bet you can make.
  • H. G. Wells's "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" is a vintage example, in which the title character chooses to undo all the damage he's caused by willing that history re-set itself to just before he discovered his powers, at which point he'll lose them forever.
  • In Before I Fall, Samantha's day restarts every time she dies or falls asleep, whichever comes first, until the seventh day, when she dies for good.
  • In Those That Wake, this seems to have been pushed in regards to Laura in the sequel. What really happened was that her memories were erased.
  • In 11/22/63, every trip through the Portal to the Past is a Reset Button, undoing the effects of any previous trips. So if you should find that your actions in the past result in a Crapsack Future, a quick hop in and out will restore the timeline you remember. Subverted in the end, when exactly that happens to the protagonist after he saves JFK from Lee Harvey Oswald. He resets that change, and then decides that the universe can bloody well suck up the minor changes that will result if he seeks out the love of his life in the past.
  • Magic Gods in A Certain Magical Index can do an imperfect example of this with their universe-scale Reality Warper powers. It's imperfect because they don't have perfect memories and can only reset the world to what they remember to be, not to what it actually was. While humans can't tell the difference, Magic Gods can. However, by using Imagine Breaker (which is unaffected by reality warping) as a reference point, a perfect Reset Button can be achieved. This happens during the Magic God Othinus arc.
  • A dramatic example in the last chapters of the The Three-Body Problem series: the entire universe is a ruin ravaged on the most fundamental possible levels by innumerable wars between countless Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. The speed of light? Used to be infinite. Three dimensions? Used to be twelve. The only hope anyone has for the damage to be undone is the Big Crunch, which will cause an entirely new universe, hopefully better, to spring from the ruins of the old.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novel Gamma: Original Sin, Rebecca Sisko twice instinctively responds to her impending death/loss of self by reversing time, and then sending out a burst of energy that attracts the attention of people searching for her. In the first case, when they still don't arrive in time, she is somehow able to reverse time for herself and her captor, but not for the rescuers, resulting in them arriving earlier.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The second-season 2 Broke Girls episode "And Not-So-Sweet Charity" seems to have hit the reset button for the entire series. At the end, Max and Caroline have sold their lease out to the building's new owners and used the money to pay off their debts ... leaving them with only a dollar in the cupcake fund, less than any other episode in the series up to this point, and basically back where they started.
  • Angel pressed the Reset Button and erased the events of the previous 24 hours in the episode "I Will Remember You" in order to save Buffy's life. However, as the events erased including Angel becoming human and having a perfect night with Buffy, and that Angel's price for getting the Reset Button pushed was that he alone remembered everything, it became an instant Tear Jerker.
  • Mentioned in The Big Bang Theory. After Amy makes a drunken fool of herself, Sheldon suggests "resetting" their relationship to the point it was at previously.
  • Both 1960s/1970s TV Westerns The Big Valley and Bonanza had the same thing happening, every time a male character in the show got serious with a woman or got married, she got killed off in some gruesome fashion or died of some horrible disease, or in childbirth, on the same episode. (Exception: Hoss' mother on Bonanza lasted two episodes.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer does this at least twice:
    • In the season one episode "Nightmares", everyone's nightmares start to come true, but the effects are erased at the end of the episode. A debatable example, as the Scoobies retain a perfect memory of what happened.
    • A more definite example is the season three episode "The Wish". Cordelia makes a wish that propels the show into an Alternate Universe where the vampires have their run of Sunnydale. At the end, Giles destroys the MacGuffin that allowed the demon Anyanka to do this. The only character who remembers anything is Anyanka herself, who becomes human due to the destruction of said MacGuffin. Although in "Doppelgangland" the events of this episode manage to come back and bite the characters in the ass one last time.
    • And in the comic storyline Guarded Buffy smashes the hell out of it, going back on helping others through bodyguard work and more than managing financially to remain in Perpetual Poverty and killing vampires.
  • Charmed featured an in-universe example in the Cleaners, supernatural beings who could erase memories and events that broke the masquerade. One episode featured the sisters trying to stop them erasing Wyatt from existence.
  • The third-season premiere of Chuck managed to reset a goodly bit of the core premises of the series, other than Chuck's power upgrade and his now-willing participation in the spy game. Averted by the fourth season's end. Not only does Chuck end up marrying Sarah (putting a more-than-definite end to their UST), he's quit the CIA and started up his own private security firm. Oh, did we mention that Chuck no longer has the Intersect, and it's Morgan who has it now?
  • All that paint is cleaned up impossibly quickly at the end of Community episode "Modern Warfare"; the school looks pristine just a few hours after the game ended. Possibly lampshaded in the tag of the second season finale, where Abed is talking to the janitor with the job of spending the summer cleaning all the paint off the absolutely trashed school. He is about as thrilled with this job as you'd expect.
  • Cory in the House features a literal Big Red reset button. Established as a Chekhov's Gun early on. Given that its sole appearance was in a Dream Episode, there wasn't much of a mystery as to what it was.
  • DAAS Kapital used this constantly and shamelessly. Whether Tim was turning into a were-cockroach, Richard had been revealed to be an exploding robot, Paul turned out to be a secret alien or rocks fell and everybody died, you could be assured that none of this would affect next week's episode in the slightest.
  • Dallas infamously retconned a season into being All Just a Dream.
  • A rare example of a Reset Button without Applied Phlebotinum: the fifth season finale of Degrassi: The Next Generation undid nearly everything that had happened that season, in order to get things in position for next season. Character relationships that had taken over a dozen episodes to develop undid themselves in less than ten minutes, and characters revealed that they had never really been that way. It was Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends, but also other loose ends.
  • Doctor Who:
    • One important distinction regarding all the Doctor Who examples is that, while a reset button has been pressed, memories of the reset events remain with at least one character (naturally, the Doctor) and occasionally others. "The Big Bang" is specifically built around this concept, while in the case of Donna Noble, "The End of Time" establishes that she still retains the memories of her adventures, but they are suppressed.
    • In the show's earliest years, the TARDIS console had a literal reset button in the Fast Return Switch. It only appeared in "The Edge of Destruction", and the First Doctor intended it to take Ian and Barbara home. Unfortunately, the damn thing didn't work right, and the TARDIS hurtled back in time toward the Big Bang. The Fast Return Switch was never used or mentioned again in the Classic Series (although it has come up a few times in spin-off media).
    • "Father's Day": Rose rescues her father Pete from dying in a hit-and-run. Problem is, he's supposed to die, and his survival unleashes the Monster of the Week, which is only defeated by his Heroic Sacrifice, which (arguably) resets the timeline back to its original state.
    • Used in the Series 3 finale "Last of the Time Lords", wherein a year is reset by the destruction of the machine that kept the altered timeline running. This only resets a third of the three-part story, though, taking them back to just before the midpoint cliffhanger. Only everyone on board the Valiant at the time remembers the year that never happened, which briefly comes into play much later at the beginning of "The End of Time".
    • "Turn Left": By preventing herself from turning right when she should have turned left, Donna prevents the events of the episode from taking place. But there's still fallout, which Rose uses to pass on a message to the Doctor.
    • A crueller example in "Journey's End". While the timeline is not reset at all, Donna herself is reset to her original self as the Doctor's Time Lord knowledge, copied into her brain, was threatening to kill her.
    • "The Big Bang": Most of the episode is devoted to finding a way to hit the Reset Button. After the Doctor presses it with a Heroic Sacrifice that apparently erases him from reality, Amy still remembers him while everyone else apparently doesn't at first — and her memories are the only way to bring him back to the universe. Also, the pressing resets a bit more than the events of the episode, like Amy's parents being restored.
    • Inverted in "The Beast Below", which features a reset button that several characters deliberately use in order to erase their memories and keep the status quo, and the solution to the plot depends on them deciding not to press it for once.
    • "The Girl Who Waited": Amy gets caught in a faster timestream, causing her to have lived 36 years before being rescued. The Doctor and Rory try to save younger Amy from having to wait that long, but they need older Amy's help. She initially refuses, because it would mean erasing her own existence.
    • In "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS", at the beginning of the episode, when the TARDIS is powering down, Clara asks the Doctor, "Don't you have a big friendly (reset) button you can push?" After it appears that they will die near the end of the episode, the Doctor manages to go back in time to that same moment and get his earlier self a device that says "BIG FRIENDLY BUTTON" on it. He presses the button and the timeline is restored to before the emergency occurred. A wink and a nod to the audience.
    • In Series 9 finale "Hell Bent", a situation is set up deliberately similar to that of "Journey's End": The Doctor, who is temporarily insane, intends to erase Clara's memories of him (and thus her character development) so she will be safe from the Time Lords after he saves her from her fixed-point death, which he cannot bear to return her to. This time he listens to his companion's objections, but they realize one of them has to lose memories as their relationship is now toxic. In the end he loses his memories of her, but this does not reset his personality; he can reconstruct the adventures they had and how they changed him, just not what made him love her, such as what she looked/sounded like, etc.
  • No matter how often Colt Seavers of The Fall Guy totals his truck, he has always got a shiny new one in the next episode—in spite of the Running Gag that the truck isn't even paid off yet.
  • The pilot of the prematurely canceled remake of Fantasy Island involved a little boy whose fantasy was that his father would turn out to be his favorite superhero. In a very blatant Lampshade Hanging, the boy says that his hero's best superpower is the "reset button" on his video game, which allows him to return from death and undo all his mistakes — which is how the boy undoes all the trouble his wish has caused at the end of the show.
  • Farscape used this in the episode "The Locket", wherein Chrichton and Aeryn are trapped on a time-accelerated planet for decades. The reset button is in the form of Zhaan and Stark using their combined spiritual powers to allow Chrichton to reverse course, taking Moya back in time. This is only prevented from becoming a time loop by the fact that Zhaan and Stark remember the events of the episode, and get the crew to avoid the mist. At the end of the episode the two speculate on whether the loop canceled out the events or if they still happened in an alternate timeline; they're mostly worried they may have accidentally erased Aeryn's descendants.
  • Season 1 of Flight of the Conchords ends with Murray finally hitting the big time after his new band releases a massive hit, with the implication that his new found success is causing him to neglect the Conchords. The Season 2 premiere then reveals that he lost everything after it was discovered that his new band plagiarized the song in question, sending him right back to square one.
  • In the Frasier episode "Bla-Z-Boy", Frasier accidentally (or not) destroys Martin's ancient chair by setting it on fire and dropping it off a 19th floor balcony. At the end of the episode, he hires a weaver and a carpenter to construct an exact replica based on old photos. The fact that the recliner seen in the rest of the series is a replacement is never mentioned again.
  • The fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ended with "The Philadelphia Story", wherein Will and the Banks family visit Philadelphia, and he aims to confront the bully who was the reason he got sent to California to begin with. The episode ended, somewhat abruptly, with the reveal that Will has decided to stay in Philly and rebuild his life there. The show had actually been cancelled, so this would've functioned as the final episode, but a fan campaign got it Un-Canceled. To return to the status quo, the Cold Open of the fifth season premiere parodied and lampshaded the reset by having an NBC executive visit Will at his new restaurant job, reminding him that the title of the show is "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", and kidnapping him to send him back to live with the Banks.
  • In the Heroes third Volume Villains, some of the characters referred to Hiro as their reset button in case anything went wrong in their battle against Arthur. Unfortunately, Arthur got to him first and regressed him mentally to 10 years old, and later took away his powers completely.
  • The amusingly Literal-Minded children's BBC sitcom [1] sees its protagonist Rufus Hound sucked weekly into a parallel universe where he must face off with an incompetent Big Bad who is such a Card-Carrying Villain he's actually called Dr Muhahahaha, whose preposterous scheme of the week to take over the Earth is invariably foiled by the hero at the end of each episode - in expectation of which Dr Mu has installed a literal big red Reset Button he can press at this point, which rewinds the whole episode's plot back to the start of the day ready for him to have another crack next time...
  • With House, M.D., the reset button is psychological. House goes through several life-altering events, and it always seems like he's going to change for the better - except he doesn't. The Button itself usually comes in the form of House's Vicodin addiction, and not surprisingly the signal that tells us he's "back to his old self" is usually him taking a pill.
    • Earlier in the series, the resets worked without any discernible button at all.
    • And of course, House's secondary philosophy/catchphrase (after "everybody lies") is basically "people don't change".
  • iCarly has pushed the button with both major couples, Carly/Freddie and Sam/Freddie.
    • It spent three seasons building up the Carly/Freddie relationship. They got together in one episode after Freddie saved Carly's life then broke up based on Sam's questionable idea that Carly's feelings weren't real, leading to a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy when the reset button gets hit and none of the trio ever speak of it again.
    • Sam/Freddie got a 5 episode arc dedicated to exploring that relationship. They break up for a myriad of reasons and never speak of it again. The Sam/Freddie arc came after the Carly/Freddie one. Not a single line in the 5 episodes even mentions the fact that Freddie was and could easily still be in love with Carly and that Carly and Freddie were an item in the past.
    • In the series finale, a conversation between Freddie and Sam over the phone mentions their previous relationship when the two toyed with the idea of getting back together. Then about 5 minutes later Carly goes up to kiss Freddie, which made people wonder what the point of the Sam & Freddie conversation was.
  • The IT Crowd:
    • Parodied: one episode where Jen is in danger of being fired by Ben Genderson ends with the note that "in the excitement they forgot to fire Jen and so that whole Ben Genderson thing didn't really go anywhere".
    • Subverted with Richmond, the goth living behind a mysterious door in the IT office. The episode ends with a clear reset, with them encouraging him to back into isolation behind the door, but he continues to appear irregularly in later episodes all the same.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki has the Time Vent card, which turns back time. The person hosting the Rider Wars, Shiro, uses this card to get the ending he wants, but when he discovers that it's not what his sister wanted, he uses it one last time to revive everyone.
    • Much of Kamen Rider Decade: Final Chapter is about Tsukasa trying to find a way to reset the Kamen Rider multiverse to how it was before the interdimensional collapse and the Rider War that ensued from it. After he presses it with a Heroic Sacrifice, his friends get told that there's no way to bring Tsukasa back, because he fulfilled his reason for existing. They manage to do it anyway by uniting the thoughts of everyone Tsukasa had helped throughout his journey.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has a villainous version of this, as well as a fairly literal one thanks to the show's overall theme of Video Games. In one episode the heroes have Big Bad Kamen Rider Cronus/Masamune Dan on the ropes, getting past his Pause ability and destroying his Transformation Trinket. On the verge of defeat, Cronus curses Ex-Aid's Hyper Muteki, saying that he'd have won if it wasn't for that...and somehow the Bugster Virus within him activates his Time Master powers, rewinding time by several days and erasing the Hyper Muteki Gashat from existence. In the end, this actually hurts Masamune more than it helps him; it undoes several of his own actions like stealing all the other Riders' belts and infecting their ally with a very strong strain of the Bugster Virus that left her with only hours to life. Ex-Aid gets Hyper Muteki back thanks to Masamune's son Kuroto pulling an all-nighter and literally working himself to death (several times; good thing he has extra lives), and to cap it all off Kuroto invents a power-up that "saves" the user's "game", rendering the Reset power useless.
  • The Librarians 2014:
    • The "Groundhog Day" Loop episode "...And the Point of Salvation", in which the team were trapped in a building running on video game rules, had Ezekiel (who was the "player", and therefore retained his memory) maturing over the course of the loop due to seeing his friends repeatedly die, and knowing that he was the only person who could keep track of what was going on, to the point where he eventually performed a Heroic Sacrifice to save the team. Cassandra was able to being him back by "restarting the game", but this "unsaved" Ezekiel had no memory of anything after the loop started, and didn't really believe the team when they told him because "that doesn't sound like me".
    • The Season 4 Season Finale "...And the Echo of Memory" ends first with the Librarians reversing Nicole's reality warp, so that the world reverts to normal. Then Flynn alters Nicole's history, with the result that the entire season gets undone, with time resetting to the tethering rehearsal in the season opener, and only Flynn and Eve remembering anything that happened after that.
  • Merlin (2008) uses the Reset Button a lot. Every time someone sees Merlin use magic, you know they're about to die, leave Camelot, or lose their memory. Also, every time it looks like King Uther might die, change his views on magic, or somehow lose his throne, the effects will be reset within two episodes. It's annoying, but an amusing game is to try to predict how the writers will get everything back to the Status Quo by the end of the episode. It seems that they broke the reset button in Series 4 though, as both Uther and Lancelot die within 3 episodes.
  • Every time Monk appears to be making progress psychologically, some event in the episode will traumatize him even further. (For example: a blackmailer impersonates Trudy; an actor playing him has a psychotic break...)
    • Or something less big. Almost all of the filler-episode progress is undone in the last five minutes of that episode. This began to ease off in the eighth and final season, fortunately.
  • The episode of My Favorite Martian where Martin's nephew Andromeda ("Andy") shows up, ends with Martin using a time machine as a Reset Button when Andy's success in proving his and Martin's origins starts the neighbors looking for torches and pitchforks.
  • My Name Is Earl sees Earl spending the last of his $100,000 lottery winnings in season 3. At the end of the season, his ex-wife leaves him $75,000 in savings after joining an Amish community, effectively putting Earl back where he started in the beginning of the series.
  • NTSF:SD:SUV::: At the end of one episode Sam's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend blows up most of San Diego when he screws up their wedding. Of course, it's Played for Laughs and things are back to normal the next episode.
  • Despite being based upon Time Travel, Quantum Leap managed to avoid this trope except in one instance: when Sam first encountered Alia, the Evil Leaper, he managed to eventually talk her down from killing him. This somehow caused her to be recalled retroactively, undoing the damage that she already had done and resetting Sam to when he first arrived in that time period.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "White Hole", Lister knocks a planet into the hole to collapse it, causing all time spewed out by it to become null. Kryten explains that the few weeks events leading to this point will not have happened, all the while the decor around them slowly vanishes to a field of stars. Just as the cast themselves are about to vanish, Kryten takes the occasion to tell Rimmer just how much he hates him, ending with a final "Ha!" just as they all get reset back to the start of the episode again.
    • It's later hinted that Kryten was wrong and they do remember the events of the episode.
  • Smallville:
    • This show is one of the biggest offenders in Reset Button land. Almost every episode has someone finding out about his powers, and then getting their memory erased, or leaving town, or dying. Only the season finales and premieres have any lasting character development. Any relationships he has will only last about two episodes before we're back to the Status Quo.
    • Season 5, "Reckoning" - Clark telling Lana he's an alien, proposing to her, Lana's death and Lex seeing Clark using his powers is all undone by the end of the episode thanks to a crystal given to Clark by Jor-El.
    • Season 8, "Infamous" - Clark's use of a Reset Button is referenced by trope name. Linda Lake writing about his secret, him telling Lois the truth about him and Chloe being ripped to shreds by Doomsday never happened. But in turn, Davis kills Linda.
  • A number of times in the Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1:
      • In the Aschen arc, an apparently peaceful alien race covertly take over the Earth by promising the humans advanced technology in exchange for their friendship but are secretly sterilizing the local population. Ten years down the road after First Contact, SG-1 manages to prevent the Bad Future from ever ocurring by sending back a message in time to their past selves.
      • In "Unending", the Reset Button is an actual button that's pressed near the end of the episode, resetting time to before they got stuck in a time bubble. This undoes the decades spent by SG-1 on the ship and allows them to escape from the Ori. The only one unaffected is Teal'c (who as an alien, has an expanded lifespan anyway), since he had to retain his memories in order to prevent it from ever occurring.
    • In Stargate Atlantis Sam Carter, Dr. Keller, Ronon Dex and Teyla all die painfully and a hologram Rodney manages to get Sheppard back from the future to reset the plot. Then a building collapses on several of the characters.
    • In the Stargate Universe episode "Time", the episode begins with a reset button having already been pushed, with the crew discovering a recording device sent back through time. It gave the crew enough information to figure out the episode's plot. By that time several characters have already died a second time, so they wind up loading another recording device with a brief summary of exactly what they need to do to solve everything, and sent that back through time, pushing the reset button a second time. A subsequent short webisode reveals that, in the main timeline, they wind up finding both recording devices.
  • Star Trek writers, like most TV writers, want to have their cake and eat it too. They like the idea of setting shows in far-off locations and time periods to free them from canon, but they still want to be able to use established characters and events from canon when they want (i.e. when they're out of ideas), so that's generally how you end up with time travel shenanigans. Also, they like to destroy the ship with no consequences just for the cheap thrills, which is another reason why they do time travel episodes.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series did push the reset button once, inexplicably, through time-travel; here, they undid events of the past by simply beaming future persons into their prior selves before the time-change, which somehow erased the future person's memory. This was a Reset Button since they conveniently claimed that by doing this, "it never happened—" when the two Air Force personnel were clearly on the Enterprise.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • They finally had to introduce a branch of Starfleet called the "Temporal Investigations", in which they cited Kirk as having committed seventeen separate temporal violations; the biggest file on record.
      • One egregious reset is in the episode "To the Death," where the Defiant returns to the station to find one entire pylon has been blown up by a Jem'Hadar raid. It makes for a shocking visual, but by the next episode the station looks like new. They apparently fixed the damage and kept faithful to the original Cardassian architectural style.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation has pushed the button on occasion, but often doing it very well. Episodes like "All Good Things..." and "Yesterday's Enterprise" all end with the paradoxes that caused the problem in the first place being resolved, stopping all events from happening. The difference from the later uses is in that the former case, Picard was able to remember the events that had transpired, and was a different man because of it. In the latter, the entire episode was built around the moral implications of pushing the button, and even when it was pressed, the events would have consequences later in the series.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • Not for nothing is the ship often nicknamed HMS Reset Button. This show may have caused irreparable damage to the entire Trope Console due to its constant, eager pounding of the Reset Button. Character development still continues despite the usage of the reset button on Voyager. In fact, fewer episodes hit the reset button than don't. Most of the episodes that do are time travel episodes.
      • Voyager did manage to do it once with style, in the episode "The Year of Hell". The Krenim time ship was a weapon that could Ret-Gone whatever it was targeted at. Janeway ultimately stops it by ramming the time ship right when it's about to fire, which causes it to Ret-Gone itself and thus bring back everything (including entire interplanetary civilizations) that it had previously erased from history.
      • Oddly enough, one time the writers actually forgot they had pushed the reset button. A time agent is sent back to the 20th century and spends three decades viewed as a crazy bum, until the Voyager crew fixes things and meets him again in younger form, and he has no memory of the former timeline. Later, the agent shows up again and we find out that now he does remember those three decades and has a grudge against Voyager due to causing them. This had to do, amusingly, with some sort of time-induced insanity brought on by having the proverbial reset button pressed one too many times.
      • Voyager also had the resetting shuttle bay. It carried a complement of 8 shuttles at the beginning. During the season 6 episode Alice, Chakotay comments that they have a full complement of shuttles. By this point in the series, 9 have definitely been destroyed, and another 12 may have been destroyed. Photon torpedoes may also qualify, since they fired 85 MORE than their full complement of 38 (note that while they can alter them, they never say they are capable of making more and at least once specifically said they couldn't).
  • Used several times in Supernatural, though the principal characters are typically left aware of what happened.
    • In "Mystery Spot" the Trickster (Gabriel) killed Dean over and over again, and then brought him back as if nothing had happened following an excruciatingly funny "Groundhog Day" Loop.
    • By Castiel in "My Heart Will Go On" (though it was passed off to everyone except Sam and Dean as All Just a Dream) when Fate forced him to retroactively re-sink the Titanic.
    • By Michael at the end of "The Song Remains The Same", where the only notable change to reality by the end of the episode was the destruction of Anna, which apparently had little practical effect on anything.
  • The Torchwood first Season Finale, "End of Days", features a false climax that has the heroes pressing a reset button that fixes everything that's gone wrong earlier in the episode, but in a subversion of the trope, doing so causes the son of Satan to physically manifest himself as a gigantic monster who kills thousands of people before the team can stop him.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Wish Bank", after Janice Hamill wishes that she never found the magic lamp, she is transported back to the rummage sale. She has no memory of picking up the lamp or her visit to the Department of Magical Venues.
    • In "The Leprechaun-Artist", the Leprechaun Shawn McGool reverses Richie's wish which resulted in him and his friends Buddy and J.P. receiving a car that was "really hot" as in stolen. As a result, the police have no memory of any car theft.
    • In "The Library", after Ellie Pendleton admits that she has been altering reality by changing the contents of the books in the library, Gloria returns everything to normal.
  • The children's game shows Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? do this in an interesting manner. At the end of every episode, one of Carmen's henchmen is always captured, and Carmen herself is sometimes captured. Everything is all hunky dory and the host of the show praises the winning contestant for saving the world, but then in the time between the end of that episode and the beginning of the next day's/week's episode, the reset button is hit, allowing Carmen to return to planning evil capers in every episode.
  • After killing off all but one of the entire cast of Witchblade, what else was there to do but turn back time in the first season finale?
  • In an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place a genie in a lamp comes with a literal reset button.
  • One two-parter episode of The X-Files called 'Dreamland' has Mulder accidentally switch bodies with a Man In Black working at area 51. Unfortunately, they find out there is no way to switch back, but luckily at the end of the episode, everything just sort of fixes itself, with time even reversing so that no-one remembers the events that took place. It's a pretty blatant Reset Button, and doesn't even make much sense in the way it works, but the episodes are such fun anyway, most fans don't seem to care. Though Mulder still has the waterbed the Man in Black put in his apartment, and is very confused by it; a later episode has him saying "It was a gift. I think."

    Music Videos 
  • "Asylum" by Disturbed has a literal case of this. The insane patient of the Asylum is having a Cuckoo Nest situation in which they're constantly trying to escape only to die or be killed as a result. The camera then closes into an image of a button with "Reset" written across it and suddenly he's back in his padded cell. At the end of the video he attempts to kill himself with a furnace to escape the doctors, except it wasn't a hallucination this time.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Over the Edge has a faction called the Cut-Ups who have the Cut-Ups Machine; feeding pieces of paper with words on them (newspaper clippings, mostly) into it and starting it up resets all of reality. Or at least, the game world—the two are not necessarily the same from the characters' perspective. Apparently, this has happened at least once.

    Video Games 
  • Most game consoles have soft reset buttons in the same vicinity as the power button, to reset the system's RAM and return to the game's title screen without powering down. Very useful for Save Scumming.
  • The whole mechanic of New Game+: everything in the story goes back to however it was in the beginning, except for whatever features (usually experience levels and items) you're allowed to keep.
  • Mengsk's Dominion empire in StarCraft was hit with a Reset Button at the start of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. You could skip from the original Starcraft to Wings of Liberty and not realize that there was an expansion game (Brood War) in-between where the Dominion got the living crap beaten out of them.
  • The Simpsons Game game had the ultimate reset button when they asked God to restore Springfield following an alien invasion.
  • Xenosaga made this a central plot point in the third game Thus Spoke Zarathustra and ultimate goal of the Big Bad. Wilhelm intended to use an artifact to reset time so the Universe wouldn't be destroyed by spatial expansion.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has the both the Sands themselves and the Dagger of Time, a (very) short-time reset button that allowed a player to undo huge mistakes like falling into a death trap, or taking a major beating in a fight. As well, the events of the entire game end up being reset by the end, and in the end movie the Prince uses the Dagger one last time to undo kissing the woman he fell in love with during the erased timeline, who rejects him for doing so while having "just" met her. In a unique variation, the Reset Button mechanism itself sets off the events of the second game, as the Powers That Be are out to punish the Prince for using it.
  • The time manipulations of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (erasing the existence of the Sands of Time) enable Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones to happen, as they result in the Vizier never being killed by the Prince during the first one. At the end of The Two Thrones when the Prince finds his dead father and his dark side taunts him to find some way to rewind time again, he vows to take responsibility for his actions and refuses to hit the button again.
  • Final Fantasy V had a Time spell called Return or Reset (depending on which version) that you could use during combat to rewind to the beginning of the fight. This spell was very favorable to the player— it would also reset the battle condition. So, for example, if the battle began as an Ambush attack, the player could use this spell and the battle condition would most likely to be changed to a normal battle or even a preemptive attack. Also, it cost only 1 MP. It also lets you attempt to steal items again, especially useful if you need a Rare Item from one of the rarer encounters.
  • Super Mario RPG rewinds time for battles via an item called Earlier Times. This resets the battle back to the start, including its conditions such as the party's status and items held at that time.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has Retry Clocks, which restart the battle if you get KO'd.
  • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has the Miracle/Silver Badge combo, which reverts your status to the prior turn. Returns used items, cancels effects, resets countdowns, etc.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • A reset happens in the bad ending for Sonic the Hedgehog CD. Eggman presumably uses the Time Stones to CTRL-Z everything you did in the game.
  • In The Legend of Spyro, it turns out Spyro is the Reset Button for the planet. If the Destroyer is successful in triggering The End of the World as We Know It, Spyro (and likely any Purple Dragon for that matter) can use their power to stop it and restore the world to normal.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 resets the entire Mortal Kombat series, starting at the very beginning of the first ever Mortal Kombat tournament. But since Raiden now has knowledge of the future (and the events of the future games), some things are going to change.
  • The retries in the Blinx: The Time Sweeper series act as this, reversing time to before you made the fatal mistake so you can try again.
  • Every time you ascend in Kingdom of Loathing, things rapidly go back to the way things were at the beginning of the game, requiring you to go back and do it all over.
  • In Bastion, this is invoked but deconstructed in the Restoration ending. The Bastion completely resets the world, so the characters are replaced with their past selves, and there is nothing to stop events from repeating themselves.
  • BlazBlue:
    • In the first two games, the whole setting is a "Groundhog Day" Loop, with various possibilities playing out in a time loop, and then resetting itself. Several characters often die in Multiple Endings and other instances, but never canonically. In the Canon ending of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, however, the Reset Button and the "Groundhog Day" Loop are removed by Terumi, so if anyone dies now, they die for good. In actuality Terumi is merely the catalyst for this whereas the real removal is done by Imperator Librarius, who also happens to be Ragna and Jin's possessed Long Lost Sibling Saya.
    • BlazBlue: Central Fiction reveals that across the whole series, Master Unit Amaterasu and its inhabitant The Origin have been constantly resetting the universe to try and usher it towards a version of events where her 'big brother', who she has identified as being Ragna the Bloodedge, can save her from her tortuous situation. Events that lead too greatly from that are undone one way or the other; give the interference of the Imperator and Termui, this has happened many times.
  • In the Neko Entertainment game Puddle, spilling radioactive liquid sodium into a nuclear singularity will cause a Negative Space Wedgie that completely undoes the events of the game, returning the puddle to being coffee. Just in time for the guy who poured it in the first place to return and drink it.
  • Throughout much of Ghost Trick, you're hitting little Reset Buttons here and there to avert people's fates through your powers of time manipulation. All this seems to lead to the conclusion that the game will end with everyone being saved but the universe as a whole being left intact. Wrong! The final chapter suddenly changes things drastically when you're presented with the chance to go back and undo the Plot-Triggering Death itself, completely rewriting reality and ending a ten-year ordeal once and for all.
  • In the Survival Horror Exploitation Game Demonophobia, Ritz is a sentient reset button who keeps resurrecting Sakuri should she die. Here's a twist, Sakuri is completely conscious even after being grinded into mincemeat over and over again, and you are the one who forced Ritz to resurrect Sakuri by simply pressing the R button.
  • The implications behind the Reset Button's usage and its deconstruction is the main theme of Undertale, which are then explored in detail.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne: The Freedom ending has the Demi-fiend reject all of the Reasons, then beat the crap out of God's avatar so hard that he's forced to restore the world to how it was before.
  • In Persona 2 Innocent Sin, party member Maya Amano is killed near the end of the story fulfilling an ingame prophecy and causing the world to be destroyed. In order to save the world and Maya, the remaining party members choose to wipe away the summer night they all first met from existence in order to ensure that Maya survives and that the prophecy doesn't come true. This leads to their universe being reset, causing the events of the game to have never happened and creates the universe in which all following Persona games take place.
  • In recent issues of The Secret World, it's revealed that there's a universal reset button just waiting to be used - and in fact, it's already been used four times. Turns out the Gaia Engines aren't just used for keeping the Dreamers asleep and purging the Filth: in the event that one of their prisoners happens to wake up and destroy the world, the Gaia Engines are able to harness the Dreamers' reality-warping powers and recreate the world prior to the apocalypse. Unfortunately, this function isn't precise enough to recreate the exact time period, technology or people, so it always ends with the entire universe being reset to factory settings, with only a few exceptionally powerful individuals and artifacts from the previous era being able to live on in the new world; even the laws of physics are warped as a result, hence why nobody's been able to exactly replicate the Lost Technology of the 3rd Age. Worse still, after being used so many times, the Gaia Engines are starting to break down, and they might not be capable of resetting the world. In other words, if a Dreamer breaks out again, it's game over for the entire universe.
  • Devil Survivor 2, the reset option is one of the endings for Daichi's path. The party chooses to defeat Polaris and have her turn back the world to how it was before the Septentriones arrived.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, acts as one of these for the universe. It is his divinely mandated duty to "eat the world" at the end of every "kalpa" (cycle of time) so that it can be remade anew. Unfortunately, in the current kalpa, he decides to shirk his duty and try to Take Over the World instead, leading to the events of Skyrim where he serves as the Big Bad.
  • Despicable Bear: The trash can in the lower right corner serves as one, just click it twice.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal has to rewrite the entire timeline to stop the loop and save Matt.
  • In the Monster Hunt mode of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, this is Toki's hero power. Once per turn, you can use the power to start the turn over from the beginning. Useful for undoing misplays and especially for avoiding unwanted effects from randomness-based cards.
  • The 3rd Birthday has a partial example. On one hand, Aya's actions in the ending make it so that the Twisted and High Ones never existed in the first place, undoing the death and destruction they caused. On the other hand, this Reset Button came at the cost of a Heroic Sacrifice on Aya's part, which only Eve remembers.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Halls of Origination house the Forge of Origination, a Titan device intended to reset Azeroth to the state the Titans intended for it to have. At the end of the Ny'alotha raid in Battle for Azeroth, the Forge is used to finally annihilate N'Zoth, the last of the Old Gods. The whole point of the raid up until that point is to place special anchor points throughout Ny'alotha to make it possible to annihilate N'Zoth without affecting the rest of Azeroth.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Little Busters! this happens at the end of each playthrough apart from the very last, where it's revealed that the whole story so far has taken place in a made-up world created by Kyousuke, Masato, Kengo, and the girls after a terrible bus crash left them all bar Riki and Rin near death. However, timelines can have an impact on one another - after you spend more time with Rin in one timeline, she'll become more confident during the next playthrough, while a particularly disastrous timeline ends up almost crippling her emotionally.
  • In Her Tears Were My Light, the character Time can reset the current timeline (game) anytime and start from the beginning without losing her own memories. This is a central mechanic of the game.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The Strong Bad Email "do over" revolves around which email Strong Bad would redo if he could. At the end of the email, after two disastrous attempts at doing over emails, he decides the current email is the one he should be doing over. It turns out the Lappy actually has a "do over" setting that resets the email to its unanswered state.
  • Neurotically Yours: One episode of Foamy the Squirrel has the violent squirrel suddenly produce a 'Reboot-Button' which can be viewed here. It less resets time as it does splinter the current timeline into two while making all characters of their universe aware of the new timeline. Before its use, Foamy goes on a rant about how using the button will also reset all memories, so any realizations made up until that point would be lost, it sends the show right back to the very first episode as well as paving the way for an animation change.
  • Sonic for Hire: At the end of Season 6, Sonic and the gang's use of time travel causes reality to break apart. With no way to stop it, Sonic ultimately decides to press the reset button on his Sega Genesis, effectively erasing the entire universe and leaving the gang as pixels.

  • Another literal example exists in City of Reality, in the form of a device that allows its owner to rewind time for everyone except themselves. A point is made to show just how horribly this can be abused.
  • Averting this is the Word of God reason why there is no time travel in El Goonish Shive.
    Sarah: Grace finally snapped and destroyed half of Moperville.
  • Homestuck plays it for drama: The Scratch is a giant temporal reset button, with the purpose of restarting a session that has no hope of being completed. The catch is that the Scratch doesn't just reset the session itself, but the 'conditions' of the session, up to and including players themselves and the whole universe they are in. The kicker is that initiating it is the kids' only option right now, royally fucked up as their session is.
    • It turns out that this had already happened to the troll universe.
  • In an odd variation, this is part of how the plot of Misfile gets started, with the last two years of Emily's life (including acceptance into Harvard) being erased. She remembers them, just nobody else.
  • MSF High: Not totally, but at the end of the day, all injuries heal, the dead rise, and transformed students can choose to change back or keep the new form forever.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • strip #570: the memory-erasing spell that surrounds the valley of the oracle acts as a Reset Button, sparing Belkar from being cast out of the group for killing the Oracle.
    • Also, when the Snarl destroyed the world the gods simply made a new one.
  • In Schlock Mercenary this is done by one Kevyn, the company Mad Scientist, who uses a special wormgate to essentially Save Scum the whole universe.
  • Spells and Whistles has reset itself several times while finding its own unique artistic style (the first such occurrence caused by a cease-and-desist from PvP) and eventually went on to intentionally keep on hitting the reset button as part of the story narrative. An alternate main character breaks out of her doomed comic universe to hunt down those she feels are responsible for her life coming undone.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation entry SCP-2000. The article is filled with non-stop Techno Babble, as it actually goes and justifies how and why the whole thing works, and the security measures to keep it safe, but is otherwise played straight (with slight deconstruction, in that it takes about five decades of time and effort to restart humanity, more or less). The facility can rebuild humanity and its civilization, and it's already been used at least twice. According to the first addendum it's not functioning at the moment but they hope to have it working again by 2020.
    • SCP-055 & SCP-579 are the two most enigmatic entries in the database, as not even the Foundation knows what the hell they are since the former erases all knowledge of itself the second it stops being directly observed and the latter had nearly all data describing it expunged. However, it's known to a select few that the two anomalies cancel each other out and create a Reality-Breaking Paradox that resets the universe if brought together. The Foundation has had to do so at least twice.

    Western Animation 
  • Erasing someone's recent memory to prevent them from "knowing too much" is a common device. This has been used in Futurama and Dude, Where's My Car?, among others. See The Men in Black/Memory-Wiping Crew.
  • Played with in Archer (naturally). At the end of the season long arc, in which the spy agency ISIS was shut down and turned into a drug cartel, they return to working as spies, under the CIA. There are some major changes however, such as the team taking orders from Slater and Lana having a child. The playing with comes when Cheryl and Pam are put in charge of refurbishing their old office...and refurbish it so it looks exactly like their old office, right down to the locations of stains on the rug. The first episode of the season lampshades the hell out of it, with Mallory furious at the office being reset (much to Cheryl's delight).
  • One episode of The Batman has a villain, Francis Grey, who learned to turn back time while serving an extremely disproportionate prison sentence. Batman is of course pretty helpless against a guy who can just rewind to the beginning of every fight, and by the end of the episode Francis has killed the entire Bat family and most of Gotham. Fortunately, after this he resets things to before he commits the crime that got him sent to prison in the first place and reforms.
  • Done in almost every single episode of the Challenge of the Superfriends. The Legion of Doom would trap some or all of the Superfriends in some sort of deathtrap or Rube Goldberg scheme, but the heroes would escape and catch the villains, who would then invariably escape.
    • For an example of a Reset Button inside of a Reset Button, there is the episode "Rest in Peace Superfriends" where the Legion of Doom actually succeeds in murdering all of the Superfriends, only for them to reveal that they actually killed robot clones of the Superfriends.
    • In the final episode of the Season the Legion of Doom when trying to destroy the Superfriends with a solar flare accidentally destroy the world, including themselves. However Sufficiently Advanced Aliens visiting Earth turn back time and stop the solar flare.
  • Code Lyoko has a Reset Button in the form of the supercomputer's Return to the Past (RTTP) program, which erases the past twenty-four hours (or thereabouts) with only the protagonists remembering it. They use at the end of every episode in the first season after XANA's current scheme has been defeated to erase all evidence that it ever happened. However, they start using it less frequently starting in Season 2, when they realize that every time reversion made XANA stronger, with that season's finale even having XANA abuse it himself to stop the heroes from completing their mission.
    • It also has the limitation of being unable to bring people back from the dead. How the heroes know this is never revealed.
  • The Code Monkeys episode "Todd Loses His Mind" has a very literal Reset Button Ending: just as Dave and Jerry are about to be shot by Mr. Larrity, and Todd is about to blow up Gameavision HQ, the Code Monkeys "game" locks up, and the "player" is forced to start over.
  • In the Dan Vs. episode "The Family Cruise", when the cruise ship that Dan, Chris, Elise and her parents are on enters a rift in space-time parodying The Bermuda Triangle, it goes back to right before Elise finished packing and only Dan remembers what happened. This time around Dan gets hit in the face when Elise's parents open the front door, knocking him out cold and Elise duct tapes him to a chair so he doesn't follow them.
  • Danny Phantom:
  • In the intended Grand Finale of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter finally reveals his secret laboratory to his parents, while Dexter himself finds out his monkey is a superhero. (These are two things kept secret for the rest of the series). The very last shot of the episode has Dexter's memory-erasing ray used to revert everyone's memories back to where they were when the episode began except Dee Dee, who was already in on both secrets from the beginning anyway.
  • One Drawn Together episode spoofs the Superman movie time reversal: Captain Hero does this while in a wheelchair, reversing time to the Big Bang. Then he takes The Slow Path back to the present by waiting.
  • In The Fairly OddParents, Timmy frequently has to hit the Reset Button by un-wishing whatever disaster his thoughtless wishing caused this time — often delayed by lost or stolen wands.
    • Played straight when the show was Un-Canceled. Well let's just say it was pushed as soon as the newborn baby "breaks wind" (It also caused a Disney Acid Sequence) and it was all worth it to Save the World (and the entire universe) from certain doom.
    • One episode includes Timmy wishing for a literal reset button, and going through his day dozens of times.
    • In the "Fairy Idol" special, Norm the Genie explains in the beginning that everyone's Three Wishes always go through the same format: 1)something stupid and simple (like a sandwich), 2)something world changing that backfires on the wish-maker, and finally 3)wishing they never met the genie so that everything goes back to normal. In the end, his plan to cause Timmy to lose his godparents is foiled when Chester, who was Norm's latest master and learned that he was being manipulated, remembers that he still has one last genie wish and makes the traditional "I wish I never met you" wish.
  • Family Guy:
    • This happens in an episode in which Stewie builds a Time Machine.
    • At the end of the episode "FOX-y Lady", Peter asks Lois how she lost her job at FOX News. She answers, "Oh I don't know. Does anyone really care?" Peter says that she's right- by the end of every episode everything is back to normal.
    • This trope is subverted in one episode: Peter loses his job and doesn't get it back at the end of the episode.
    • It is also lampshaded in one episode where Peter tries smoking and gets hideously deformed, but assures his family that "everything will be back to normal next week".
  • Futurama did this twice:
    • In the episode "The Late Philip J. Fry," everything in the year 3010 remains the same as before, despite various screwing with the timelines as the universe cycled.
    • The final episode of the series, "Meanwhile," featured a literal reset button that reset the universe to the state it was in ten seconds prior to the button being pushed. Since the button took ten seconds to recharge, it couldn't be used to travel back in time but could create a stable time-loop which - this being Futurama - is exactly what happens, at least prior to an invocation of Twilight Zone plot.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Wishbones", Grim wishes for all of the episode's events to have never happened. It then cuts to the beginning of the episode, where Billy is watching the washing machine, thinking it's TV. This time, Mandy stuffs him in the washing machine.
    Mandy: [sarcastically] And what show is this we're watching?
    Billy: My favorite: Laundry Day!
    Mandy: Billy, would you like to be on TV?
    Billy: I wish!
    [Mandy opens the washing machine and sticks Billy in]
    Mandy: Wish granted.
  • Kaeloo: Several charactersnote  have been decapitated, blown up, launched into orbit, driven to madness, turned into zombies, trapped in alternate dimensions or different time periods... Heck, the world even blew up once! Yet everything is always back to normal in the next episode.
  • The three-part Time Travel episode of Kim Possible, "A Sitch in Time", undoes all memory and consequences of its events by story's end. The twist: Ron retains the memory of hating Norwegian meatcakes, even though his move to Norway was undone, and thus he never tasted any.
  • The Grand Finale of Mighty Max has this as the only way to stop the Big Bad from using the cap to take over the world. However, the way it seems to work is a bit of a New Game+, with our heroes retaining the knowledge of all that had transpired during their first go-round (with the hope that they can actually defeat the Skullmaster this time).
  • Extremely common in Miraculous Ladybug:
    • One of Ladybug's signature powers is the titular "Miraculous Ladybug", a World-Healing Wave that undoes all damage inflicted by Ladybug and her fellow Miraculous during the course of the battle, up to and including bringing back people killed by Miraculous magic.
    • Similarly, the power of the Snake Miraculous is "Second Chance", which lets the user rewind time to the moment he activated it.
    • In at least two separate episodes, Ladybug and Cat Noir have discovered each other's true identities and resolved the Miraculous Love Square. However, in both cases their memories were erased and the love square restored.
    • The show's primary villain, Hawkmoth, is trying to steal Ladybug and Cat Noir's Miraculouses because combining them will let him make a Wish. It's been implied that he wants to use this Wish to undo whatever event left his wife trapped in a magical coma.
  • In the Ninjago episode "Wrong Place, Wrong Time", the ninja prevent Lord Garmadon from helping his past self defeat Kai by destroying his weapon that he used to go back in time in the first place. The episode ends with them at the beginning, where the weapon apparently never existed at all, bringing up all kinds of questions.
  • Phineas and Ferb regularly does this Played for Laughs, so the show can find the most off-the-wall ways to prevent the boys from getting caught by their mother.
    • Usually the resetting is limited to the boys not getting caught, but "She's the Mayor" went WAY farther. After becoming mayor of Danville for a day, Candace uses her position to reveal her brothers' newly built classic frontier village (complete with gold-loving old coot). Just as Linda calls the boys out to punish them, Doofenshmirtz activates his Accelerate-inator (which he invented to speed up having to play golf with his brother) which opens up holes in the space time continuum (which Doof knew would happen, but figured it was worth it), resetting everything back to earlier that day, with the old coot winning the contest instead and no one having any knowledge of what happened.
      Candace: [after watching the news] I was robbed!
    • The TV Movie "Across the 2nd Dimension" did this, erasing the characters' knowledge of Perry's secret identity at the end of the movie. In addition, the movie parodies the continued use of this trope: After dozens of "coincidental" occurrences, Candace begins to believe that there is a literal "mysterious force" that prevents her mom from ever seeing what her brothers are doing. (Actually, she more-or-less prays to it in an earlier episode, "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted".) After Candace disappears through an interdimensional portal, best friend Stacy even builds a shrine to the "mysterious force".
  • Literally pressed in ReBoot by the User. Two keystrokes, and Mainframe is restored to its season 1 state. It even brings back dead characters, and clones Enzo. This was a risk though, as the characters had to make the user restart the system, and there was a chance that everything would just outright crash.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Rick Potion #9", Rick manages to turn everyone in the world into monsters. Every attempt he makes at reversing the effects of his accidental plague just makes things exponentially worse. His eventual solution : Find an alternate universe in which that Rick got lucky and cured humanity, AND in which Rick and Morty died in an unrelated laboratory accident shortly after. Our Rick and Morty simply buried the bodies before they were discovered and took over their lives.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in a (non-canon) Treehouse of Horror story, in which Homer's brain is taken out and placed in a robot by Mr. Burns, but his lack of motivation and love of donuts overrides any orders given to him and he ends up only causing destruction and doing nothing. In the end Mr. Burns puts Homer's brain back, but he is crushed under the weight of the heavy robot's body. He tells his assistant Smithers to get surgical tools and ether before Homer wakes up screaming in bed, thinking the whole story was just a dream... then he notices that Mr. Burns' head was grafted onto his shoulder as a way of preserving him. A teaser of the next episode of the Simpsons involves Homer being stuck in an Sitcom-esque situation where Lisa reminds him her class is having an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner while Mr. Burns points out that they have to go to the reception for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. This causes Homer to exclaim, "Oh, I hate having two heads!" (Luckily for him, the Treehouse of Horror episodes actually exist in Negative Continuity.)
    • The Simpsons is also home to one of the best-known and controversial Reset Button of modern times: Principal Skinner turns out to actually be named Armin Tamzarian, having assumed the identity of Seymour Skinner years ago, including Skinner's dream of being a school principal. The original shows up and wants to take over the position, but no one likes him. Just after the real Skinner is put on a train out of Springfield, Judge Snyder declares that anybody mentioning the events of that episode would be tortured.
      • This is briefly referenced in "I Doh-Bot". Snowball II is run over by a car and Lisa adopts two new cats who each die. Then the Crazy Cat Lady throws a cat at her that looks exactly like Snowball II just as Principal Skinner walks by.
        Lisa: I'm keeping you! You're Snowball V! But to save money on a new dish, we'll just call you Snowball II, and pretend this whole thing never happened.
        Principal Skinner: That's really a cheat, isn't it?
        Lisa: I guess you're right, Principal Tamzarian.
    • The episode "Das Bus" ends with Bart, Lisa and most of their friends still stranded on a remote island, reset as an afterthought by a single line from the narrator that sounds suspiciously like it's being made up on the spot:
    "Eventually they were rescued by oh, let's say... Moe."
    • A similar example occurs in the episode "Donnie Fatso", where Fat Tony dies and is replaced by his cousin Fit Tony, who lets himself go after the pressure of the job gets to him and becomes Fat Fit Tony, then just Fat Tony.
    • And a lampshading by Lisa: "Don't worry, Bart. It seems like every week something odd happens to the Simpsons. My advice is to ride it out, make the occasional smart-alec quip, and by next week we'll be back to where we started from, ready for another wacky adventure."
    • "Lisa episodes", with "Lisa the Vegetarian" as the exception, tend to do this. "She Of Little Faith"? Lisa's Buddhism is (almost) never mentioned again. "Lard of The Dance"? Alex Whitney never appears or is mentioned again, except for a one-liner and the occasional cameo. "Bye Bye Nerdie"? Francine and Poindextrose are never mentioned again. So it makes sense that Lisa has mild Medium Awareness.
    • Brilliantly used in the episode "Thank God It's Doomsday", when Homer asks God to take back the Apocalypse:
      God: To do what you're asking, I'd have to turn back time.
      Homer: Superman did it!
      God: Fine smartypants, I will undo the Apocalypse.
  • South Park:
  • The episode "The Fantastic Mr. Frump" of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends featured an ordinary man who accidentally gained reality-warping powers. After being egged on by Doctor Doom and unintentionally causing a great deal of trouble (including summoning up "the weirdest creature in the universe"), everything gets reset back to normal:
    Spider-Man: I can't believe that in a minute we're going to forget something as incredible as all this!
    Iceman: As incredible as what?
    Spider-Man: [shrugs]
  • In the first of a two part episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series entitled "The Hobgoblin", Peter Parker finally moves out of his Aunt May's house to live with Harry Osborn in an apartment. To keep the status quo, he cannot be allowed to stay in said apartment, so the writers fabricated a rather flimsy excuse. During a visit by Aunt May to Peter's new apartment, which has been trashed from the previous night's housewarming party, the Hobgoblin attacks and kidnaps Harry, in the process sending Aunt May into a shock so fierce she goes into some kind of coma. She remains this way until the end of the next episode, after which she wakes up and tells Peter, to his surprise, her shock was at the mess in his apartment and not the Hobgoblin's attack. After which Peter thinks he's not ready to move out on his own, so he moves back in with his Aunt and by the next episode, the status quo is back to normal.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, all of Mr. Mxyzptlk's handiwork is apparently undone when Superman tricks him into returning to the fifth dimension.
  • In the fourth season of Teen Titans (2003), Raven becomes the portal for her father Trigon to enter the world, after which he transforms the entire planet into a lava-covered inferno. However, at the end of the battle, Raven calls upon the powers of friendship and godlike power to reset everything and restore the world to its original form.
  • Wakfu: The major goal of Season One Arc Villain Nox is to power up a magical one of these by harvesting vast amounts of wakfu to feed into the Eliacube in order to power up existing Time Control magic and save his family, at the same time erasing his past misdeeds of the 200 years since that tragedy and thus making him feel no remorse for the destruction he leaves behind. In the end, he kills or at least maims most of the main cast and collects the necessary wakfu he sought by wiping out an entire race and fires up the device...but to his despair and anger all that death and work only gathered enough to take him back 20 minutes rather than 200 years, only enough time to reset his own "victory". Broken at realizing it was All for Nothing, he teleports away and dies on the graves of his family.
  • X-Men: Evolution has a bit: When the Brotherhood of Mutants attacks a high-school football game and reveals all of the X-Men, you hope. Professor Xavier mind-wipes a stadium filled with people, and the broadcast was cut thanks to some kind of magnetic corruption of the signal; Xavier concludes that Magneto thinks that the time isn't right. There is one lasting problem from this incident, however: because Professor X had to affect so many people, he wasn't able to fully wipe the mind of Edward Kelly, which is implied to be a large part of why he embraced Fantastic Racism for the mutants after they were permanently outed.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series has a flatly ridiculous one: Scott proposes to Jean, she accepts, and they get married in a big ceremony. But, oh no, it turns out the priest was actually a disguised villain, so they're not really married! And despite their feelings not having changed, it never occurs to them to just have another ceremony, until a couple of seasons later. Presumably the idea was to not completely shut down the Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle. They eventually got married for real.

    Real Life 
  • The so called "Big Crunch and Big Bounce" theory for how the universe will end—eventually, gravity will pull all the mass in the universe back to a singularity, and then a new Big Bang will occur, creating a new universe. While it's less likely than the "Big Rip" or "Big Freeze" theories, which state that the universe will die either by expanding faster and faster until everything's pulled apart, or reaching maximum entropy, respectively, some people prefer hoping for this one because it's the only one of the three that doesn't end with the universe being dead forever.note  Likewise to the "Big Crunch", the quantum vacuum collapse where the Universe would transition to a more stable state has often been described as a sort of reset button for the Universe, being in fact sort of equivalent to the former as everything would also wind up as a singularity and we do not know what would come next, if anything.


Video Example(s):


Time's Up

Throughout its seven seasons, the series "Star Trek: Voyager" became notorious for pushing the reset button. One moment, however, will likely always stand out in the minds of fans: when Captain Janeway declared "Time's up," ramming the starship Voyager into the Krenim weapon ship and negating the alternate timeline known as the "Year of Hell."

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