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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. Also should not be confused with Negative Continuity (though they sometimes overlap) where some sort of status quo changing event happens in one story but everything goes back to normal in the next.


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    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 banished cards 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...
  • At the end of Judgment Day the Progenitor decides that it isn't up to the job of judging if humanity deserves to live or die, so it reverts all the damage it did at the cost of its life.
  • 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 held prisoner for nearly ten years, and was 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.
  • The X-Men: The Krakoan Age era is centered around the usage of this trope: Iconic X-Men ally Moria MacTaggert is revealed to be a mutant with the ability to reset time back to the time of her birth every time she dies. Her nine past lives prove to be failures in her attempt to save mutantkind, so she gets Magneto and Xavier to build a mutant nation around the mutant island of Krakoa and goes into hiding with her tenth life. However, the refusal of allowing the precog Destiny to be revived leads to Mystique taking things into her own hands, reviving Destiny herself, and the two depowering Moria to prevent her from removing her. However, when Moria's duplicity is revealed, Mr. Sinister uses Moria's untampered DNA to create the Moria Engine, which houses various clones of Moria so he can casually reset things when things don't go right for him and his own plans.

    Films — Animated 
  • In 1972, in response to the politics of the animated film adaptation of his comic Fritz the Cat, Robert Crumb kills off Fritz. Two years later, Steve Krantz produces an animated sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat.
  • Not used, but directly mentioned in Megamind. Apparently the main character stopped trying to make one after learning the science behind it was impossible.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: All the damage caused by Turbo and the Cy-Bugs to Sugar Rush is undone when Vanellope crosses the finish line because the game reset. This action also adds her character to the next day's roster. This also returns everyone's memories that Turbo had locked up — but they remember what they'd done while they were brainwashed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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).
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • During the Final Battle of Zack Snyder's Justice League, the Justice League fails to prevent Steppenwolf from activating the Unity of the Mother Boxes, which causes the League and everything on Earth to be wiped out in a gigantic explosion. Being able to make himself intangible, Barry Allen/Flash is spared from the explosion and manages to run beyond the speed of light to go back just before the explosion occured and empower Cyborg so he can dismantle the Unity before it is formed.
  • 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.
  • Sphere employs 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.

    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 uses 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 Teaser 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 Hounded 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.
    • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" does push the reset button, inexplicably, through time-travel; they undo events of the past by simply beaming future persons into their prior selves before the time-change, which somehow erases the future person's memory. This is a Reset Button since they conveniently claim that by doing this, "it never happened", when the two Air Force personnel were clearly on the Enterprise.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • "Trials and Tribble-ations" finally introduces a branch of Starfleet called the "Temporal Investigations", who cite Kirk as having committed seventeen separate temporal violations; the biggest file on record.
      • One egregious reset is in the episode "To the Death", in which 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 "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) kills Dean over and over again, and then brings him back as if nothing had happened following an excruciatingly funny "Groundhog Day" Loop.
    • By Castiel in "My Heart Will Go On" (though it's passed off to everyone except Sam and Dean, as All Just a Dream) when Fate forces him to retroactively re-sink the Titanic.
    • By Michael at the end of "The Song Remains the Same", in which the only notable change to reality by the end of the episode is the destruction of Anna, which apparently has 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.
  • The X-Files: The two-part episode "Dreamland I" and "Dreamland II" has Mulder accidentally switch bodies with a Man in Black working at Area 51. Unfortunately, they find out that 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."
  • Young Sheldon: In "An Existential Crisis and a Bear that Makes Bubbles", Sheldon abruptly changes majors from physics to philosophy only to change back to physics as soon as he gets the sign-off on the change to philosophy.

    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.

    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 features a literal example: 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 singular pixels.
  • "The Champions" features an appropriately soccer-themed example: The Season 3 finale features Galactic VAR disallowing the meteor strike which destroyed the Champions League mansion due to a dust particle being offside.

  • 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.


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."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ResetButton

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