Follow TV Tropes


Revisiting the Roots

Go To

"So we decided to make a Mario that made a fresh start by returning to its core principles. That's why we put 'New' in the title."
Shigeru Miyamoto on New Super Mario Bros., Iwata AsksNote 

A series has diverged from its original premise or formula, perhaps because it grew a beard and outgrew a few old gags. Or perhaps it jumped a shark or two to the detriment of itself. In any case, the series (in style, tone, or premise; the characters are not necessarily literally going back) returns to an earlier format, maybe for a nostalgic or humorous look at itself to poke fun at the behavior and actions of the characters early on in the series or maybe perhaps to fix some problems they've gained along the way. This needn't be done all within a single storyline or work: a video game series may trim the fat and refocus on the core gameplay mechanics, or a movie franchise intentionally evokes the earlier stories that sparked its popularity.

Tropes Are Tools is in full effect; when done well, it can delight audiences with fun throwbacks to earlier stories, revive abandoned concepts and do them right, or even use the old ideas to create fresh new takes. But when applied badly it can result in unbreakable status quos or, much worse, an Audience-Alienating Era that revisits roots that only appeal to one guy in the creative team and not the audience. Use with caution.

Expect to see long-running franchises do this repeatedly. And with differing ideas on what the 'roots' of a series are. See also Retool, Continuity Drift, Genre Throwback, Stylistic Callback, and Truer to the Text.

Not to be confused with "Rediscovering Roots" Trip — that's when a character travels to their family's origin to connect with their heritage.

Example subpages:

Comic Books

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Buu saga of Dragon Ball Z tries to mix the subversive humor from the series' early days with its existing Fighting Series style. Said humor was always present, but started taking a backseat once Piccolo Daimao showed up. Its implementation in the Buu Arc is generally mixed, since it results in a lot of Mood Whiplash.
    • This was also attempted with the beginning of Dragon Ball GT, but bad reception (and a lack of story direction) lead to it being steered back to something closer to the Villain Arcs from Z. As a result of this, the initial US broadcast and home video release skipped the first 16 episodes, condensing the more important things into a recap episode.
    • Dragon Ball Super is another crack at this, though trying to combine both the humor of the original series and the action of Z so as not to alienate the audience it built. Compared to the above two, it's been much more successful in balancing lighthearted and comedic tones with more serious moments.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers began with a focus on World War II, but gradually moved beyond it as the series went on. When it was serialized in Birz magazine, it returned to the original setting.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! manga: After nothing but Duel Monsters post-Dungeon Dice Monsters, the manga switches games during the Millennium World arc, showcasing an elaborate tabletop RPG, as well as showcasing a flashback with Yugi's grandpa taking on a room game within the Pharaoh's tomb among other things.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V stands out of the Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-offs because it shows the older ways of advanced summoning (Fusion, Ritual, Synchro, XYZ) alongside the newest (Pendulum summoning) and considers them as special. It also brings back old school's monsters and past archetypes, pleasing many fans.
  • Digimon Adventure tri. is this for the Digimon franchise, returning back to the popular Adventure setting and featuring the original eight Digidestined back into the main roles once again along with their Digimon partners. It even features the remixed classic soundtracks, including the original opening and ending themes.
  • Both the Black and White and Sun and Moon arcs of Pokémon: The Series have attempted to return to the general style of the anime's original Kanto arc, though both sought to emulate and expand on different elements; the former recreating character dynamics, and the latter a mix of Kanto's adventure and comedy. The series following Sun and Moon took it one step further and actually was named simply Pokémon in Japanese, just like the original Kanto through Johto series of the anime.
  • Delicious Party♡Pretty Cure has many elements that were supposedly gone in older series. To name a few: villain rotating doesn't exist (which will eventually followed up to the next series), no single off-world Cures in the team, and the final arc took place in Christmas Day.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The 2009 core set, Magic 2010, marked a return to the flavor-driven design sensibility of the original Alpha and Beta releases.
    • One of the game's earliest major stories was the Cain and Abel conflict between Urza and Mishra, which served as the foundation of the Antiquities set in 1994, but would recede further and further into the background as the story continued: Mishra died, then Urza died (coincidentally also taking out a recreated Mishra) in Apocalypse in 2001, then the story moved on for quite some time without them. In 2022, The Brothers' War sent Time Master Teferi back to observe the original conflict in a bid to recreate Urza's Fantastic Nuke, allowing the concepts and weapons of the Brothers' War to be revisited, but with much more modern mechanical design.
  • Much in line with the anime, the Arc-V associated era of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading and Official Card Game introduced Pendulum Monsters, which meant to be a throwback to the old days when your boss monsters were in your Main Deck not Extra Deck.

    Comic Books 
  • Every so often, when the main members of the Rogues Gallery just can't come up with particularly good ideas for capers and run-of-the-mill street crime in Gotham City spikes upward, Batman will be called upon to beat down ordinary muggers and two-bit murderers. This never seems to bore Batman, however, but to strengthen his resolve: it reminds him how his lifelong quest began in the first place.
    Batman: (to a mugger as he handcuffs him) Slime like you made me... I owe you.
  • Grant Morrison's Action Comics run from the New 52 was based around doing this for Superman. Like in the original Golden Age stories, their Superman was physically weaker and had an Anti-Hero streak, as well as a strong inclination towards social justice. This was justified by having their stories be a Prequel of sorts, showing Superman as a brash, young idealist.
  • Grant Morrison again in their run on Batman. Remember back in the Silver Age, when Batman made a social club for all his international imitators? Or when he participated in a psychological isolation experiment for NASA? Or when a female socialite became Batwoman to try and get his attention? Grant did, and they reminded us all.
  • Grant Morrison's New X-Men also did this for the X-Men comics. It's one of the few modern X-Men runs that takes most of its cues from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's earliest X-Men stories from the '60s, rather than Chris Claremont and John Byrne's stories from the '70s and '80s (which influenced most later writers). As such: the story sees the X-Men becoming teachers and mentors for a new generation of teenage mutants after the truth about the Xavier Institute is finally revealed to the world, hearkening back to the series' origins as a teen-focused series set at a boarding school for young mutants. There are five core X-Men, and they wear matching costumes once again. It's relatively light on action and spectacle, generally portraying various mutants' powers as more weird than cool, recalling the X-Men's origins as "The strangest super-heroes of all!". More controversially: Morrison's interpretation of Magneto returns the character to his roots as a deranged megalomaniac with zero redeeming qualities (mostly disregarding his years as a tormented Well-Intentioned Extremist). note 
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up does this with a lot of the characters Mystery Inc. team up with, playing their premises relatively straight while keeping a light, comedic tone to the stories. Space Ghost for instance, is portrayed as The Cape like he was in his original series instead of the bumbling egomaniac Space Ghost Coast to Coast portrayed him as, while still poking fun at his sidekicks constantly being kidnapped by his foes.
  • The 2008 miniseries Sub-Mariner: The Depths was an attempt at bringing Namor back to his original Golden Age roots, where he was a murderous Villain Protagonist instead of the Jerkass Revolving Door Anti-Hero he's best known as today. The mini-series was basically a horror story and Psychological Thriller rather than a superhero tale, with Namor depicted in a manner similar to Godzilla or the shark from Jaws. Curiously, Namor saves Dr. Stein at the end and brings him back to the surface, rather than killing him. It's implied that Namor did this because Stein is famous for providing rational explanations for unsolved mysteries, such as the Yeti, and ultimately he does so with Atlantis, declaring that it doesn't exist even though it does, with footage of it being recorded.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader (a Spin-Off of Star Wars (Marvel 2015)) notably takes most of its cues from Darth Vader's original portrayal in the original Star Wars rather than his more famous and iconic portrayal in The Empire Strikes Back. Before The Empire Strikes Back established Vader as Emperor Palpatine's unchallenged, universally feared apprentice and right-hand man, the original Star Wars portrayed him as merely a high-ranking enforcer in the Imperial military who was outranked by Grand Moff Tarkin, and occasionally had to deal with insubordinate officers (like Conan Antonio Motti) who weren't afraid to challenge him to his face. While most Star Wars works treat those details as Early-Installment Weirdness, the miniseries takes them and runs with them: Vader is portrayed as being outranked by Cassio Tagge, it's suggested that he isn't the Emperor's only apprentice, and most of the plot revolves around him dealing with cloak-and-dagger plots by ambitious Imperial officers who would happily take his position. The Series Finale has Vader getting a massive promotion and being given command of his own flagship, finally bringing him to the status quo most people remember. The series is essentially the story of how Darth Vader became the badass, unchallenged Dragon that most people remember from The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The Hanna-Barbera action hero lineupnote  has spent many more years as parodies of themselves than they spent as actual action heroes. Future Quest is possibly the most notable return to the characters' original premises in over two decades.
  • Al Ewing's The Immortal Hulk; not only is Bruce Banner Walking the Earth once again, but the book revisits the horror tone of the earliest Hulk comics. Instead of the "wounded child" or "bar-room brawler" interpretations, this Hulk is a smirking monster who enjoys taunting people about their unspeakable desires. And he only hulks out at night. Additionally, it was retconned that the Immortal Hulk is the true form of the Devil Hulk—and relevant to this trope, the Devil/Immortal Hulk is actually the Hulk seen in Banner's first few appearances.
  • The Superman storyline Kryptonite Nevermore was an attempt by returning the character to his Golden Age roots as a weaker but wiser and more human character.
  • Ultimate X-Men: The mainstream Magneto started as a completely evil villain with no redeeming qualities. He was turned into a morally complex, ambiguous figure later on. Here, he's back to the roots, as nothing more than a repugnant mutant supremacist and genocidal maniac.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • James Bond:
  • Godzilla:
    • In Terror of Mechagodzilla, the new monster of the movie, Titanosaurus, is a throwback to the kinds of monsters that appeared at the start of the franchise. While the last few movies had featured more exotic and weird (and often blatantly evil) creatures like a pollution-based slime monster or a bird-like cyborg, Titanosaurus is simply a dinosaur-like beast with no flashy abilities (beyond using it's tail like a giant fan) and is portrayed much more sympathetically than previous monsters.
    • The Return of Godzilla restored Godzilla to an antagonistic role after spending several movies as an unambiguously heroic figure. It's also the first film since the original where Godzilla doesn't fight another monster.
    • Godzilla (2014) goes back to the roots of the original, this one is being made Darker and Edgier to feel more like a horror film, with Godzilla being more of a terrifying force of nature and with the grim results of his rampage not being glossed over.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), conversely, was more in the spirit of '60s Godzilla movies (most specifically the 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster), with an overtly heroic Godzilla against a clear-cut bad guy monster, and other sci-fi elements (many of them references to the earlier films) subtly slipped into the world-building.
    • Shin Godzilla presented itself as a Disaster Movie mixed with some horror like the original 1954 film (and goes way darker than the 2014 film).
    • Godzilla Minus One goes back and revisits the classic film, with a post-war Japan going from zero to minus by the Kaiju's rampage.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past undid the slightly more grounded feel and the established continuity of the first three or so films. This had the advantage of restoring much of the original status quo and introducing various elements more familiar to the fans of the comics or cartoon, like Xavier's hover wheelchair and the Sentinels. The trend continued in X-Men: Apocalypse, which looked at the team's pre-adult life and gave them their iconic costumes.
  • The Force Awakens was meant to be this for the Star Wars series. J. J. Abrams brought back Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay after he hadn't been involved with the franchise since Return of the Jedi, he made a special point of avoiding CGI whenever possible (bringing back the puppetry, models and animatronics that made the original trilogy famous), and decided to film it with traditional 35mm film—making it the first Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi to be filmed in a non-digital format. The first trailer takes special care to emphasize the movie's Used Future aesthetic, which was a hallmark of the original trilogy, and uses the only theme not used in the Prequels, the Han/Leia love theme. And the final plot took so much from the original movie (with some elements from Empire and Jedi) some felt it was downright a Recycled Script.
  • The cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise placed the Star Trek franchise in a 4-year limbo void of any new content. Thus, Star Trek (2009) went back to the crew that started it all, albeit in an Alternate Timeline to form a new continuity. The 2009 film attempted to revitalize the original series while maintaining its spirit down to the classic uniform design including the miniskirts and go-go boots for female Starfleet officers.
  • Rocky V was an attempt to return to the grittier and more realistic tone of Rocky and Rocky II after the lighter tone of Rocky IV. They even brought back John G. Avildsen, the director of the first movie. It didn't work, and the movie was disowned by everyone, including Sylvester Stallone. Rocky Balboa and Creed were far more successful examples, combining the serious tone with Character Aged with the Actor.
  • After the second and third movies in the Jurassic Park series focused on people navigating Isla Sorna and surviving the wild, uncontained dinosaurs there, Jurassic World returns to the first movie's focus on the logistics and ethics of operating a dinosaur theme park. The movie emphasizes this with specific themes and elements directly paying homage to it (even if unlike in the original, the park is opened to the general public), such as the overgrown ruins of the original park, a big entrance gate through which tourists enter the park, and even the return of the original Tyrannosaurus rex from the old park.
  • Christopher Robin does this for the Winnie the Pooh franchise, while also being a sequel about an adult Christopher Robin. Though it's a Disney production, it's based much more closely on the original books than on the animated Disney film and related works, being a wistful Coming of Age Story about a boy's relationship with his childhood imaginary friends. Among other things, it acknowledges the bittersweet ending of the first book (where Christopher goes off to boarding school and leaves Pooh and his friends behind), which Disney famously left out. note  And since it's the first Pooh adaptation that's done with a mix of CGI and live actors, the new designs of Pooh and co. make it explicit that they're Living Toys rather than simply funny animals.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy features much of this approach to Batman.
    • Like his earliest appearances, Batman's main clash is against the mob and corruption in Gotham with only very sparse supernatural elements, many of his gadgets are less explicitly bat-themed and he operates mostly solo, without a Robin.
    • His villains are also strongly influenced by their original depictions in the comics: Two-Face is without a split personality, Bane is portrayed as the Genius Bruiser he was in his original appearance, and Heath Ledger and Anne Hathaway were reported to have studied The Man Who Laughs and actress Hedy Lamarr, the inspiration for their respective characters.
  • The Saw film Spiral is partly an attempt at bringing the franchise back to its roots, taking most of its cues from the first film in the series (which was a mystery/suspense thriller relatively light on gore) rather than the following installments (which progressively emphasized spectacle over suspense, and dialed up the violence considerably). Among other things, it has a more minimalistic presentation and a pair of detectives as the co-protagonists. Even the casting (which features Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson among the main characters) may have been intended as a throwback to the first film, which prominently featured Danny Glover and Cary Elwes (in contrast to the other films, which include very few big-name actors their casts).
  • After the sharply negative reception to the fifth film, A New Beginning, the Friday the 13th series did this with the next film, Jason Lives. Whereas A New Beginning attempted to move on after Jason Voorhees was supposedly Killed Off for Real in the presumptively-titled previous film The Final Chapter by making Jason a Legacy Character and having a copycat killer take up the mantle, Jason Lives did exactly what the title promised and literally brought Jason Back from the Dead as a Revenant Zombie. What's more, it also brought back the summer camp setting that hadn't been seen since the second film, this time with the camp open and having children running around as well.
  • The Muppets (2011) notably returns the Muppets franchise to its variety show roots. Where previous Muppets films (The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, etc.) were self-contained stories that focused on the Muppets having various adventures or reenacting classic stories, the 2011 film is a direct feature-length continuation of The Muppet Show, and it's all about the Muppets reuniting to put on a show at the original Muppet Theater—complete with Kermit as host, Fozzie as a stand-up comic, Gonzo as a daredevil stuntman, Scooter as stage manager, and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem as the house band. They even sing the original theme song!
  • Scream (2022) has this as a plot point, with frequent discussions on what the characters refer to as a "re-quel", a sequel that borders on a remake through exploited nostalgia and copied beats, down to exploiting connections to characters from the original and replicating its scenes.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow in its fifth season made a conscious effort to return to being the gritty crime drama and "street-level show" it was in the first (and to a lesser extent, second) season, after two seasons of introducing sci-fi and mystical elements to the show in order to help establish the shared universe. Notable changes include a renewed focus on the organized crime element in Star City and Green Arrow abandoning his strict policy of Thou Shalt Not Kill, making him once again the lethal vigilante he was early in the show. Furthermore, the Big Bad of this season, Prometheus, is a skilled archer and Badass Normal more akin to Season One Big Bad Malcolm Merlyn than the nemeses of subsequent seasons. Also, Prometheus' origin is tied to Oliver's actions during Season One and is connected to the List, another early element of the show which has now been made relevant again.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • "The Gift" ends with a battle against a demonic god for the fate of reality... but starts with Buffy killing a vampire in an alleyway. This is after she'd already blown up a giant demon snake in season three and fought off a man-made demon-cyborg in season four. Buffy even lampshades this by pointing out she hadn't done something so simple in a while.
    • The final season likewise moved the action back to the now rebuilt Sunnydale High School where Buffy now works as a counselor.
  • Charmed's Sorting Algorithm of Evil became somewhat more akin to a bell-curve. The first three seasons dealt with them battling warlocks and demons, the fourth had them battling the very Source Of All Evil, the fifth ended with them battling the classic Greek Titans, the sixth had them go against a Well-Intentioned Extremist Angel, and the seventh had them end destroying a past contender of the Source. By the eighth and final season, Word of God says that Billie and Christy, sibling female witches like the protagonists, was a great way to ground the show.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Third Doctor's tenure Retooled the series as a Spy Fiction show and made numerous changes like making the Doctor all suave and fashionable, giving him a Cool Car, having most of his adventures take place on Earth, and pairing him up with one main female companion with a gaggle of coworkers who could rotate in and out as needed. Season 12, after one transitional piece, took the show right back to the First and Second Doctor eras — the Doctor abandoned his job to travel in space, was back to having a boy/girl companion team (like most of the black-and-white era), gained a clownish and shambolic personality inspired by Patrick Troughton's portrayal while incorporating Hartnell's Blue-and-Orange Morality and more alien psychology, and rekindled the Hartnell-era practice of linking every story onto every other story with Cliffhangers directly in a run-on Arc format. One story in this season ("The Ark in Space") is a reworking of a proposed and unmade script submitted for William Hartnell's Doctor, and starts with a Hartnell-style first episode of the TARDIS crew wandering around solo trying to work out where they are. Another ("Genesis of the Daleks") is an origin story for the Daleks about them being locked in a nuclear war against the Thals, another thing done back in the Hartnell era. Initial plans were to cast an elderly Non-Action Guy in the role similar to William Hartnell, to break from the Third Doctor's Action Hero traits, but Tom Baker so impressed the producers and casting director that they ended up casting him even though he was at the time the youngest actor to take the role. A lot of these changes are dropped after Season 12 (like the lead-ons and the male companion) but most are kept.
    • Season 17 was a conscious attempt to move away from the Arc-based storyline and Order Versus Chaos mythology of Season 16, and back to the idea of the Doctor going on loose adventures having fun and solving smaller-scale problems. He even had his direct control of the TARDIS removed in favour of the random travel associated with Hartnell and Pertwee.
    • The Ninth Doctor's tenure, while very different in a lot of ways, stripped away a lot of continuity for a "back to basics" approach and re-established points about the tone and the Doctor's character that had been part of the show right at the very beginning but were forgotten about later. The Doctor being a refugee from a terrible war who could never return home was part of the initial series premise (that got changed by Steven Moffat when he actually got to write The Reveal) and agony over changing the past and the Dirty Business involved in world-saving were emblematic tropes of the early years that soon got buried by the Monster of the Week premise the show developed — and RTD dug them both back up again in order to connect new viewers to the Doctor. While the show drew a lot from the Expanded Universe, it was much closer in tone and feel to the old show than the books had become by that point.
    • The Eleventh Doctor's tenure reintroduced a number of elements from the classic series that had been long gone. Series 7, itself a loose prologue to the 50th anniversary specials, saw the gradual reintroduction of the Doctor's face superimposed over the time vortex in the title sequence, and several 1960s and 1970s-era antagonists (the Great Intelligence, the Ice Warriors, the Zygons) were finally reintroduced into the show. Even the Eleventh's costume, bow tie and all, is based closely on the Second Doctor's old threads.
    • Peter Capaldi era:
      • Series 8's casting of Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor was a further move in this direction, bringing the Doctor back to the Cool Old Guy/Grumpy Old Man aesthetic of the character in the show's early days. Tellingly, Capaldi ties with William Hartnell for the oldest actor ever to take the role, but he follows Matt Smith — the youngest actor ever to take it. This is all heavily lampshaded in Twelve's debut story "Deep Breath", where Vastra points out to Clara that the Doctor has been an old asexual alien for far longer than he's been a handsome young Chick Magnet in a bow tie. His stories go on to take even more cues from the Classic series, with heavy use of major Internal Homage ("The Tenth Planet", "The Tomb of the Cybermen", "The Moonbase", "Robot", "The Ark in Space", "Genesis of the Daleks", "Terror of the Zygons", "Pyramids of Mars", "The Android Invasion", "The Deadly Assassin", and "The Invisible Enemy" all contribute major plot points and setpieces to various stories) and longer actor-driven scenes returning to the series' theatrical history. Series 8 even has two teachers at Coal Hill School and a disruptive Coal Hill School pupil serving as companions to varying extents, directly referencing the original companion team of Ian, Barbara, and Susan. (The Spinoff Class, which debuted between Series 9 and 10, is set at Coal Hill; Twelve appears in its first episode.)
      • The modern series brought longer episodes than classic Who — 45 minutes or longer compared to 25 minutes or lessnote  — but also more single-episode stories, meaning fewer cliffhanger episode endings. For Series 7 Steven Moffat eliminated cliffhangers altogether, and this held for Series 8 until the Season Finale: a two-parter with a classical cliffhanger in the middle that also brings back some classic series villains for the first time in Twelve's tenure. Series 9 is almost entirely multi-part stories. Series 10 returns to a mix of one-off and multi-part stories, partially to break in new companion Bill, and the first two episodes hearken back to the Hartnell era by being one-offs with endings that lead into the next episode's opening scene! (In DWM, Moffat explained that whenever they feel comfortable making Doctor Who, it's a sign they should try doing it differently.)
    • Chris Chibnall put his own spin on taking the show back to its roots in series 11, with there being three companions, and the show taking on an educational/family-orientated approach, much like the Hartnell era.
      • In "Spyfall", he introduced a new incarnation of the Master who, instead of the laser screwdrivers, disintegrators and sonic umbrellas of his new series predecessors, goes back to having the Tissue Compression Eliminator as his primary weapon.
  • Hannibal is a prequel to the Hannibal Lecter saga, but it notably takes most of its cues from the original novel Red Dragon rather than its more famous sequel The Silence of the Lambs; the opening credits even specifically say "Based on the characters from the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris". Among other things: veteran psychological profiler Will Graham is back in the protagonist role, most episodes heavily play up Graham's uncanny ability to understand the thinking process of serial killers by empathizing with them, and the story largely focuses on Lecter's official backstory from Red Dragon—in which he was a respected Baltimore psychologist who frequently advised the police on how to catch serial killers, despite secretly being a serial killer himself. Lecter's original backstory was somewhat downplayed in the sequels, which focused on the more iconic story of his twisted mentor-student relationship with Clarice Starling and his escape from Frederick Chilton's mental institution.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was forced by Christopher Meloni's departure to go back to a more rounded set of characters instead of being centered around Stabler and Benson.
  • Once Upon a Time spent Seasons 2 through 5 pitting the heroes against all manner of villains, including Peter Pan, The Snow Queen, Hades, and Mr. Hyde and sending them to all sorts of magical lands, including Neverland, Camelot, and The Underworld. Season 6 stays in Storybrooke the whole way through and pits the heroes against Rumpelstiltskin and (a version of) The Evil Queen, the villains who started it all, making it feel it a lot more like Season 1, to the point of recreating several iconic moments from it and ending in a finale featuring a perfected version of the Dark Curse being cast.
    • Season 7 also attempts this, being a Soft Reboot for the show, with the Dark Curse cast and characters being in a new location (a neighborhood in Seattle rather than a small town in Maine), an adult Henry playing Emma's old role while his daughter plays his old role, and the Wicked Stepmother from Cinderella playing a similar role to Regina.
  • Red Dwarf: Series X (aired in 2012, and the first full series of the show in thirteen years) returned to the basic setup of the four main characters alone on Red Dwarf, last seen in 1992's Series V. It was also entirely confined to the titular ship, like the very first series in 1988 was, although this was not intentional but the result of various difficulties surrounding the production which meant all the planned location filming had to be cancelled.
  • Parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch based on Soylent Green. The sketch portrays a series of fictional sequels (the real Soylent Green had none), each featuring the "twist" that some new Soylent product is made out of people. They end by saying that the next film will take the franchise back to its roots. Cue clip of Phil Hartman as Charlton Heston yelling, "Soylent Green is still made out of people! They didn't change the recipe like they said they were going to! It's stiiiilllll peeeopllllllle!"
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Voyager was this for the Star Trek franchise after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine focused more on political intrigue and Darker and Edgier themes: A lone Federation starship exploring the dangerous unknowns and meeting new life and new civilizations. Unfortunately, Voyager ended up becoming an example of why this trope isn't always a good thing: A lot of fans had rather appreciated DS9's switch to season-long story arcs and tighter focus on getting to know a couple of individual alien cultures, which combined with behind the scenes drama that got worse with every season resulted in the series becoming one of the most polarising parts of the franchise.
    • When Star Trek television was revived on streaming in the late 2010s, the first two live-action series Discovery and Picard were based around strongly-serialised season-long story arcs involving interstellar wars and civilisation-ending catastrophes. By contrast, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was a deliberate return to episodic storytelling about exploring strange new worlds in the same spirit as the original series, even bringing back the iconic Opening Narration. In fact, Strange New Worlds goes right back to the roots of Star Trek, being about the crew of the Enterprise who starred in the unaired pilot episode "The Cage".
  • Ultra Series: Due to it being a Long Runner, the franchise has seen major deviations in formula as much as it has seen return to the classic feeling of old shows.
    • Ultraman Max (2005) for the Ultra Series. After Ultraman Nexus proved to be a ratings bomb in its attempt to completely reboot the franchise in a Darker and Edgier manner, Ultraman Max returned to the franchise's roots of simple but exciting adventures against kaiju and aliens, maintaining a lighthearted and optimistic tone even when delving into serious matters, and producing numerous homages to the original series: Ultraman, Ultra Q, and Ultraseven.
    • Ultraman X: The series deals with a self-contained plot involving silly adventures and weekly unconnected antagonists, keeping an optimistic tone even in the darker moments and finally, having a proper fully-fledged attack team after Ultraman Ginga and Ginga S had none and a minor support team, respectively.
    • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga: Like Ultraman X before it, the show is pretty disconnected from the M78 Universe, instead opting to base itself on a self-contained plot involving only inhabitants of its universe though there are connections to past series they're instead geared for the Neo Frontier Universe both of which the series commemorates. It also brings back a proper attack team after the more mundane support teams since Orb.
  • The 2016 revival of The X-Files: Mulder and Scully are broken up, and back working as FBI agents. On the behind the scenes side, the show returned to filming in Vancouver, and featured episodes written by early season writers such as Darin Morgan.
  • For the most part, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is considerably different from the Indiana Jones movies in tone and style, being a (mostly) grounded and realistic historical fiction series with a strong edutainment component. But there are a few notable exceptions that have more in common with the original films.
    • "Transylvania, January 1918" (released on video as the film Masks of Evil), features Indy battling a deranged Romanian general who may or may not be the reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler (and also possibly a vampire). While the episode is rather infamous among fans for having almost nothing in common with the rest of the show, its story would fit in just fine alongside the original films, which were famous for mixing supernatural elements in with the action.
    • The made-for-TV film The Phantom Train of Doom is ostensibly historical fiction (it prominently features the Historical Domain Characters Frederick Selous, Jan Christiaan Smuts, and Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck), but its action-packed narrative and pulpy tone are right out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Case in point: it's all about Indy and Remy teaming up with a wacky band of aging soldiers in the British Royal Fusiliers to blow up a German artillery train hidden in an elaborate mountain lair on the African savanna. Apart from taking place during World War I instead of World War II, its over-the-top action sequences would feel right at home in one of the movies. It even has dastardly German soldiers (although they're obviously not Nazis), and a scene where Indy and co. get chased by angry Bantus.

  • Starflyer 59 did this twice.
    • Their 2004 album I Am the Portuguese Blues was a deliberate throwback to their first three albums, from the 90s: lots of guitar distortion and no keyboards, in contrast with the Synth-Pop-influenced sound they had evolved into since then. (In fact, most of the tracks were unreleased demos from circa 1997, re-recorded for this album.) Its cover art (a solid color, with no text at all) was also a reference to those first three albums.
    • The song "Runaround" (from their 2016 album Slow) was a throwback to even further in the past. It's a realization of the faster, punk-influenced sound Jason Martin considered playing, before he settled on shoegazing as the style for his first album.
  • Loreena McKennitt started off singing traditional Celtic songs and slowly expanded to include other cultures, becoming more of a World musician. In 2010, she released an album composed of traditional Celtic songs.
  • The Beatles and Let It Be. It bears pointing out that the Let It Be project was originally called Get Back because this was precisely the idea (and that of course is also the reason the song was called "Get Back"). This was an attempt to return to the sort of spontaneous, energetic rock and roll they'd played at the start of their career - as opposed to the sophisticated and intricately produced music they'd moved on to. The recording sessions were a disaster, the band largely abandoned the "back to basics" approach for their last recorded album, Abbey Road, and once Let It Be finally saw release in 1970, it was given a considerable amount of orchestral embellishments by Phil Spector that went sharply against the original intentions for the project. A "back to basics" version of the album wouldn't come to fruition until the 2003 Remix Album Let It Be... Naked.
  • Orbital first rose to prominence making acid techno—then they switched to a style based on eclectic sampling, while straddling the line between ambient and rave music. (Another attempted style change, 2001's darker drum 'n bass-heavy album The Altogether, was not as well-received.) For their 2004 release, Blue Album—at the time, meant to be their last album ever—they returned to the acid techno sound of their early years. The song "One Perfect Sunrise" was a modern counterpart to their classic "Halcyon + On + On". Even the title, Blue Album, was a reference to Orbital's first two albums, which were officially self-titled but unofficially known as Green Album and Brown Album.
  • They Might Be Giants' 2011 album Join Us brought back some of the drum machines and synths from their first few albums.
  • Ratt's 2010 album Infestation brought back the band's classic hard rock sound.
  • Elton John did this twice:
    • The 1983 album Too Low for Zero reunited Elton with his core band of Davey Johnstone (guitar), Dee Murray (bass) and Nigel Olsson (drums), the core musicians who backed Elton on his classic 1972-76 material and had Bernie Taupin back as full-time lyricist, and delivered a consistent and '70s-nostalgic set of material with subtle synth touches.
    • In 2001, the "stripped-down" Songs from the West Coast was aimed more at his singer-songwriter roots than the pop charts.
  • of Montreal has done this twice. 2002's Aldhils Arboretum and 2013's Lousy with Sylvianbriar are both built around straight forward rock songs (well, straightforward by Kevin Barnes standards) that harken back to the band's early indie days. What's more, both albums followed a series of elaborate concept albums.
  • Good as I Been to You (1992) by Bob Dylan marked his return to his roots by being the first solo acoustic studio album he recorded since Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964).
  • Disintegration (1989) marked The Cure's return to their Goth Rock roots after several years of a more accessible commercial sound.
  • Metallica's St. Anger (2003) was hyped as a return to the band's thrash metal roots (though the songs rarely had any guitar solos, which was a huge difference). 2008's Death Magnetic returned to the sound and style of their '80s material (albeit with some appropriately modern touches). Eight years later, Hardwired... to Self-Destruct went ever further with the "roots" motif, given the main inspiration was the band's debut album Kill 'Em All.
  • Korn's 2002 album Untouchables featured a mellow, more experimental soundscape, and was not well received by fans, so the group decided to change their plans for the next album, Take a Look in the Mirror. As the band's vocalist Jonathan Davis put it, even the title refers to going back to the style of their self-titled debut album from 1994: "[Take a Look in the Mirror] is about us as a band, taking a look in the mirror and remembering where we came from, remembering our roots, going back to basics." Featuring the signature aggressive vocals and distorted bass guitar riffs, it's much more recognizable, than the sounds of Untouchables were. In 2016, the release of The Serenity of Suffering also marked a similar period in their career. Guitarist, Head gave the following description: "[This album] is heavier than anyone's heard us in a long time.", referring to the album offering a style very similar to their early releases.
  • While they began their career as an Alternative Hip Hop/boom bap trio, The Black Eyed Peas reached the mainstream in the Noughties with the introduction of Fergie; this resulted in them taking a Pop Rap and Glam Rap direction with Elephunk and Monkey Business, before going more EDM with The E.N.D. Masters of the Sun Vol. 1, the group's first album since the departure of Fergie from the group, sees BEP - now back to their original form, go back to the sound from their first two albums almost completely.
  • Juno Reactor's The Golden Sun of the Great East returns to the duo's psytrance roots, following the more eclectic and experimental Shango, Labyrinth, and Gods and Monsters albums.
  • Front Line Assembly, following forays into Industrial Metal, IDM, drum n bass, and ambient, revisited their EBM/electro-industrial stomping grounds with Echogenetic.
  • By the singles released thus far, Midnight Resistance's third album looks to be returning his dark synthpop roots, after the more mainstream guitar-focused The Mirror Cage.
  • CKY's fifth album The Phoenix deliberately returns to a style far more in line with the band's first two albums, being written to be a follow-up to the band's second album Infiltrate. Destroy. Build. and building off of its sound.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk were one of the founding bands of the Future Pop subgenre of Industrial in the '90s, but in the 2000s, they made a total Genre Shift to Indie Rock. Then in the 2010s, they reverted to industrial electronica with the Exit Popularity Contest album.
  • This was the premise of the "neotraditional" movement in Country Music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Country music had taken an increasingly pop-leaning turn following the release of the movie Urban Cowboy in 1980, and while this brought the genre to new heights of mainstream success, this went hand-in-hand with an increased focus on commercialism and fashion over content and quality. Rising to prominence in retaliation to this trend were artists such as George Strait, Keith Whitley, Randy Travis, The Judds, Dwight Yoakam, and Ricky Skaggs, who pushed for a more twangy, traditional-leaning Three Chords and the Truth style of country. This culminated in the "Class of '89", a group of traditional-influenced artists fronted by Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Clint Black who combined their sounds with phenomenally strong sales and airplay. Demonstrating that country didn't have to "go pop" in order to be popular, they pushed older, poppier acts like Alabama, Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, and the like largely out of the limelight.
  • Many genres of rock music are also often rooted in the premise of taking rock back to the days "when it was still good" before the innovations that they spurned. Bands that claim to play Three Chords and the Truth are especially big on this.
    • In The '70s, the founders of Punk Rock set out to get rock music back to its scrappy, guitar band roots, feeling that the rise of Progressive Rock had made the genre inaccessible and obtuse. To quote Tommy Ramone:
      "In its initial form, a lot of [1960's] stuff was innovative and exciting. Unfortunately, what happens is that people who could not hold a candle to the likes of Hendrix started noodling away. Soon you had endless solos that went nowhere. By 1973, I knew that what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock 'n' roll."
    • The bands that founded grunge didn't have this as its original intent the way that the original punks did; many were only connected by their origin in the Seattle underground rock scene. To many listeners and later bands, however, it felt like a revival of '70s Punk Rock and Heavy Metal, and a repudiation of the excesses of '80s Hair Metal.
    • Britpop, in turn, was big on throwing back to the energy of the British Invasion bands of The '60s, pushing back against the American influence that its artists saw in grunge and bringing rock back to the days when the Brits ruled the scene.
    • By the 2000's, it came full circle, with the Post-Punk revival interested in bringing Alternative Rock back to the experimentation of the early '80s, in a repudiation of what both Post-Grunge and post-Britpop had turned into by then.
  • Discussed in Weezer's song "Back to the Shack", which is written as an apology for the band's poppier output (which received a lackluster reception from the fans) and expresses Rivers Cuomo's desire to return to his roots:
    Take me back, back to the shack
    Back to the Strat with the lightning strap
    Kick in the door, more hardcore
    Rockin out like it's '94
  • Elvis Costello's Blood & Chocolate was a conscious attempt to get back to basics after several albums of baroque pop and more tech-heavy eighties rock; Costello reunited with his backing band, The Attractions, and the producer of his early records, Nick Lowe. The songs were recorded quickly, with the band performing the basic tracks simultaneously in one room, leading to a rawer sound more akin to his second album, This Year's Model.
  • Mr. Bungle's First Reunion album is a rerecording of their early demo, The Raging Wrath of The Easter Bunny, done in a stripped-down Thrash Metal style as opposed to their more avant-garde studio albums from their original incarnation.
  • Der dritte Raum's 2017 EP Polarized Echoes revisits their classic progressive/tech trance sound, after many years of focusing on minimal/neo trance and microhouse.
  • AKB48 56th single "Sustainable" has the MV that revisiting their previous singles as well scenes that echoing them. Going all the way back to their first major single "Aitakatta"note , "Iiwake Maybe" and "10nen Sakura"note , "Koisuru Fortune Cookie"note , "Teacher Teacher"note . All shown singles are basically the major points in their historynote 
  • Eminem:
    • After Encore's original tracklisting was torpedoed with leaks, Eminem got into the idea of writing the album ultra-quickly to recapture the feeling of his original sessions with Dre and trying to cut back on the grandiosity of The Eminem Show. He wrote nine tracks very quickly by essentially freestyling them, that all ended up on the CD. This did not get a universally positive reception.
    • After several albums in which Em's alter egos had become so deeply integrated they no longer really existed as separate characters any more (with Slim Shady being Killed Off for Real... in two songs...), Em's Career Resurrection album Relapse was an attempt to revisit The Slim Shady LP. Both albums are Black Comedy shock-rap Concept Albums where he raps most of the album in character as an extremely fictional version of Slim Shady participating in Crosses the Line Twice, drug-fuelled violence, as a way of making fun of himself for a recent Creator Breakdown (a suicide attempt on SSLP; his drug addiction on Relapse). Both albums also see him altering his voice pitch and accent to play Shady to emphasise that it's a character, something unique to these two albums (and guest verses recorded around the same time). However, Relapse Shady is a much Darker and Edgier character than the original, who was basically a toon.
    • For The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem dyed his hair blond again and tried to return to Shady's year-2000, impish, slur-spitting characterisation, with some of the beats evoking the sound of the original The Marshall Mathers LP. However, it's sort of a Decon-Recon Switch version of this, as most of the content on the album is about Eminem dealing with the legacy of getting famous for being horrible.
    • SHADYXV, being an anniversary project for The Slim Shady LP, contains multiple songs where Eminem returns to the shock punchline-rap Heroic Comedic Sociopath style he used on that album — and even, briefly, reverts to the squeaky voice and cadence he used — but fifteen years of rhyming experience have made the punchlines and the rapping much, much more complicated.
  • ABC's The Lexicon of Love II, the 2016 sequel album to their 1982 debut The Lexicon of Love, is a Genre Throwback to their signature electro-funk style from that era.
  • Mike Oldfield: Return to Ommadawn was made as a conscious re-exploration of the style of Oldfield's first three albums, particularly Ommadawn, to which it is a sequel. Like those albums, Return to Ommadawn almost exclusively uses acoustic instruments, features a sound closely inspired by Celtic folk music, and consists of a lengthy instrumental suite split across two sides of vinyl. According to Oldfield, the decision to take this approach was inspired by two factors: a conversation with Jean-Michel Jarre where the latter revealed that he considered a collaboration with Oldfield, but chose not to seek him out after deciding that his style was too acoustic, and a fan poll on social media where voters requested that Oldfield go back to the style of his early work.


    Video Games 
  • PAYDAY 3 brings things far more in line with the original PAYDAY: The Heist and the early stages of PAYDAY 2, with mostly realistic, non-gimmicky guns, masks, and the lack of a heavily-implied-to-be-supernatural conspiracy.
  • Guitar Hero Live ditched the bass guitar and drums that were added in Guitar Hero: World Tour, but it kept the vocals and introduced a new guitar controller.
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time is this for the Crash Bandicoot franchise. Since the PS2 era, practically every Crash game tried to figure out how to make him work in fully expansive 3D environments, to varying degrees of success and often the addition of extra gimmicks, like with the two Titans games. It's About Time deliberately evokes the PS1 Trilogy with a linear map screen, Nintendo Hard difficulty and other hallmarks, while modernizing it with razor-sharp handling, infinite lives and new mechanics that add to the original gameplay rather than distract from or replace it.
    • To a lesser extent, this is the entire point of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, as well as Spyro Reignited Trilogy. While all remakes inherently have some of this, the N-Sane and Reignited Trilogies were the first time classic gameplay had been seen for Crash and Spyro the Dragon since the PlayStation 1 days, and many fans saw them as testing the waters for a proper "fourth" game. Thus far, only Crash Bandicoot has gotten one, though there have been hints that a similar game is in the works for Spyro.
    • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled followed suit by doing this for the Crash racing games, but was so incredibly expansive that it practically counts as both: it rolls in the original Crash Team Racing with Crash Nitro Kart, plus many new tracks and practically every character in the franchise.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic's legendarily rough career has led to a large number of games that claimed to be doing this, with wildly varying degrees of success.
    • Shortly after the release of Sonic Adventure 2 — which continued Sonic's trajectory into 3D gameplay and more elaborate and darker storylines— came the release of the first Sonic Advance, which played in 2D and served as a basic recreation of the earliest Genesis games (taking after Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in particular) in stage design, game mechanics, and a simple plot "Dr. Eggman kidnaps animals; Sonic rescues them". (Advance is however more of a downplayed example, as it wasn't explicitly stated to be based off of the originals and comes with its own fair share of changes, such as having the character designs and aesthetics introduced in Adventure and onwards.) While considered not quite as good as the Genesis originals, Advance generally gets approval as a solid Spiritual Successor.
    • After the relatively grounded Adventure games, Sonic Heroes went full-tilt on recaptuing the tone and visual style of the classic Genesis games, with fantastical and colorful locations and nary a human other than Eggman in sight.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) was actually intended to be this in response to the reception to Shadow the Hedgehog, and to a lesser extent, the Adventure games - a fresh start on a new generation of HD hardware with the simple title of SONIC the Hedgehog. Instead, it became the go-to example of all of the problems 3D Sonic games had been plagued by up to that point.
    • Sonic Unleashed was prominently described as this in the wake of the infamous Sonic 2006 disaster, with levels having a lot of 2D sections with seamless transitions to and from 3D, along with a very minimal cast of characters as opposed to the sprawling rosters of the prior 3D entries. The reception was mixed in just about every way possible.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was the first Sonic game specifically billed as a direct attempt at going back to basics, and was also the first 2D Sonic game released on consoles since Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • Half of the premise of Sonic Generations is that Sonic from the Classic era games is brought forward in time to the present, and also marks the first time Sonic's original design from that era is used in a new game. Classic Sonic plays very close to the original games, much closer than in Sonic 4, and is near indistinguishable in the 3DS version.
    • The second direct attempt at going back to the roots was made with Sonic Mania, built from Christian Whitehead's Retro Engine to replicate 1:1 the classic Sonic physics; designed by long-time fans and modders, the game was a mix of redesigned classic stages with new ones. Going the full retraux route of having 32-bit sprites reminiscent of the 16-bit sprites of the Genesis games (imagining what a 2D Sonic game would look like on the Sega Saturn), exclusively using the original designs, and billing itself as a direct sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles (and thus knocking Sonic 4 into Canon Discontinuitynote ).
    • After the one-two punch of Sonic Lost World failing to impress and the disaster of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Sonic Forces pulled out the Generations playbook and stuck to it hard, reviving the "boost" gameplay style, the presence of Classic Sonic as a playable character and the full-on usage of classic stages like Green Hill and Chemical Plant, not just similar-looking expies. This attempt to replicate the success of Generations was largely regarded as a failure.
    • Sonic Superstars was yet another go at capturing the style of the classic games like Sonic Mania. This time, the game was developed by Arzest, the company founded by Naoto Ohshima, the co-creator and character designer of Sonic himself, as well as old Sega employees who left during the Sega Dreamcast era. To avoid the pitfalls of Sonic 4, the game was built from the start to emulate the classics as closely as possible before building on top of it, using a slight variation on Sonic Mania's physics engine instead of the Rush-based engine from Sonic 4. Superstars is also explicitly stated to be an evolution of the classic gameplay, featuring 3D graphics and new mechanics that push the style forward. Co-existing with the more ambitious Sonic Frontiers, Superstars is the foundation for future 2D Sonic titles, instead of a one-off celebration.
  • After over ten years of collecting Stars and Shine Sprites in 3D, New Super Mario Bros. marked Mario's return to 2D gameplay and the original Super Mario premise of having to reach the end of the stage, flagpole at the end and everything. This idea was so successful that it not only spawned its own series of sequels, this linear gameplay style was transferred to the 3D installments: loosely into the two Galaxy games and fully-adhered to in Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World, which were themselves described by the two developers as having the exact game design style transferred to 3D. Things then came full circle when the shift to linear 3D Mario titles resulted in Nintendo's returning to Mario's 3D roots; with the open-ended exploration of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine revisited with the development of Super Mario Odyssey.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite returned to the 2-on-2 bouts that were first featured in X-Men vs. Street Fighter, making it easier for newcomers. It also brought back the Infinity Gems (now renamed "Infinity Stones"), a gameplay mechanic that hadn't been used since Marvel Super Heroes back in 1995.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10: By that time, Mega Man games had complex storylines and complicated gameplay. These two games kept their plots simple and plays almost exactly like an extension of Mega Man 2, even keeping the NES appearance. In fact, these two games were designed by the same people who made the original Mega Man games.
    • Mega Man 11 also keeps to the simplistic gameplay style of Mega Man 9 and 10, but modernizes it with cel-shaded 2½D graphics, a slightly expanded story, and new mechanics like the Double Gear System. It also notably lacks an intro stage like the classic games.
  • Mortal Kombat had two Continuity Reboots, and both of them had a "back-to-basics" approach that were executed in very particular ways depending on the nature of the entry:
  • Halo has done this a number of times over the years:
    • While Halo 2 and Halo 3 added all sorts of new aspects like duel-wielding and fully rechargeable heath (instead of just the shields), Gaiden Game Halo 3: ODST and prequel Halo: Reach deliberately scaled them back, hewing closer to the original gameplay model presented by Halo: Combat Evolved.
    • Halo 5: Guardians once again features a pair of protagonists, an idea that was tried in Halo 2 but was not expanded upon. Also, Halo 5's Arena-mode multiplayer was designed to reflect the original trilogy's multiplayer, resulting in the complete removal of the Armor Abilities, loadout customization, and ordinance drops introduced in Reach and Halo 4.
    • Halo Wars 2 features aesthetics more reminiscent of Bungie-era Halo than 343 Industries' take. This is even justified by the story: the Spirit of Fire's UNSC forces have just come out of a 28-years-long stay in cryosleep, while the Banished broke away from the Covenant before the events of Halo 2.
    • Halo Infinite is one of the most obvious cases. Following the extended criticisms of Halo 4 and Halo 5, Infinite features a story taking place entirely on a mysterious Halo ring, with Master Chief as the sole protagonist (with a female AI companion), the Covenant species as the primary enemies (in the form of the Banished faction from Halo Wars 2), and many of 343 Industries' controversial enemy design changes rolled back to look much more like Bungie's.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The series; after VI was a steampunk world that coined the term Magitek, VII and VIII shifted to a modern-esque setting with electricity and spaceships. IX then brought things back to a medieval setting of castles, airships and villages. As well, while VII and VIII had a three-character party system where they were as unique in battle (or not) as the character customized them, IX went back to the style of four party members with pre-set skills as earlier games had done.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake is much closer in tone to the original 1997 Final Fantasy VII than the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles of the 2000s had been, incorporating more of the original's goofy humour and irony (presenting Cloud as a "dorky" character) as well as its anti-corporation, environmentalist politics (which had been neglected in later titles). It also synthesises this with Advent Children-style character designs and environments, creating a more realistic, detailed and plausible world than the more abstract and cartoony depiction in the original game.
    • According to producer Naoki Yoshida, he wanted to create a more "straightforward fantasy" game with Final Fantasy XVI, which many fans welcomed after the last few games were very Science Fiction-heavy.
    • In their 2021 E3 presentation, Square Enix announced the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series, which encompasses I through VI of the franchise. Compared to previous remakes which had updated the mechanics of the games and added extra bonus content such as dungeons and collectibles, the Pixel Remasters are instead mostly sourced from the original releases, keeping their presentations similar to the NES and SNES games (albeit with slightly more polish to accommodate high-definition widescreen displays), with all the aforementioned extra content largely stripped out.
  • Atelier Rorona is intended to be this for the Atelier Series. After the more standard Eastern RPG style of Atelier Iris and Mana Khemia games, Atelier Rorona returns to the simulation, alchemy-based gameplay of the first five games (which are only available in Japan).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Thief: Deadly Shadows was in many ways a blend of the sensibilities of the first two games, but it recalls the style of the first one a bit more, without being a homage. It has a tighter story focus, more firmly medieval set dressing with less overt steampunk, a slightly more supernatural tone, and a smaller, humbler assortment of gadgets. All this while also keeping the narrative and gameplay focus on The City and on the mundane heist missions, just like the second game.
  • To date, nearly every game based on the Alien series has taken its cues from the later movies (Aliens onward), featuring badass Space Marines facing waves of Xenomorphs with BFGs. Alien: Isolation revisited the franchise's Survival Horror roots, pitting a lone everyman protagonist against a single alien in a dark spaceship, just as the 1979 original did. As the production staff has stated in interviews, practically everything in the game (from architecture to sound effects) is inspired by the original Alien in some way.
  • After struggling with the difficult-to-program and (initially) overpriced PlayStation 3, many people have observed that Sony's strategy with the PlayStation 4 returns to the principles that made the original PlayStation so successful, such as a developer-friendly system architecture and a competitive price point. This is alluded to by Mark Cerny in a press conference; since the PlayStation 2, Sony's architecture got progressively harder to work with and games took longer to develop for them. With the PlayStation 4's architectual simplicity, they returned to the swiftness of the original PlayStation.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
    • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is purported to be this by the developers. After a war-like third entry and a darker game-show-arena fourth entry, Tools distilled the series down to the core elements that worked the best from all four previous titles, whilst also adding in a few new ideas of its own and a larger emphasis on the plot. While later games went in different directions again, the tone and basic gameplay never deviated far from what Tools of Destruction established.
    • Full Frontal Assault was coined as being this for the camera angle after All 4 One used an on-rails third-person camera, while Into the Nexus was this for the gameplay overall.
  • DiRT Rally was deliberately developed as a technically up-to-date, no-nonsense Nintendo Hard rally simulation game, in the vein of the preceding Colin McRae Rally series (in which DiRT games are a Sequel Series to) and once-rival titles such as Richard Burns Rally. Codemasters kept the game's existence under wraps until the last minute, in order to give fans of their older rally titles a real surprise. Given the positive reception of the game, it seems to have paid off.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas does this within the game itself, and in-universe. Early in the game you would be killing rival gangs in Los Santos, taking over their territories. During the game you will end up buying properties in San Fierro, getting a share in a casino in Las Venturas, etc... - until Sweet reminds you of where you came from. Then, once you return to LS, you'll start shooting Ballas and conquering their territories again.
  • Doom (2016) returned the Doom franchise to its fast-paced and action-packed run-and-gun roots, in sharp contrast to how the previous main entry, Doom³, was more of a survival-horror game.
  • Dead Rising 4 was explicitly being called this in its advertising, as it takes place back in the city of Williamette, CO and once more stars Frank West (the protagonist of the original Dead Rising). It also takes place in a mall (same as the original game), however it's a different mall (Williamette Memorial Mall as opposed to Williamette Parkview Mall) and it's 16 years after the events of Dead Rising (one year after Dead Rising 3). Ultimately, the game is pretty different from the original, despite those few similarities.
  • The Driver series started off as a pure driving game and a homage to classic Car Chase scenes. As the series went on however it began to Follow the Leader of Grand Theft Auto, with mixed results. Come Driver: San Francisco: gunplay and on-foot gameplay is gone, and all the new mechanics focus purely on driving. The final result is considered the highlight of the series, and one of the most unique driving games out there.
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse's pre-fight dialogue, Broly behaves much closer to his original characterization in Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan than in its two sequels. After years of his more infamous portrayal as a mindless rage monster only capable of Pokémon Speak, Broly is much closer to his much earlier Blood Knight portayal.
  • Resident Evil moved from a survival horror series to an increasingly action-focused direction starting with Resident Evil 4. There have been a couple of efforts to return to the series' survival horror roots:
    • Resident Evil: Revelations has the player stuck on a ship in the middle of nowhere with limited supplies and plenty of exploration and backtracking.
    • While Resident Evil 7: Biohazard differs in its first-person camera, it's a throwback to the first game, Resident Evil. Several classic mechanics return, such as scarce ammo and health items, convoluted puzzles and locked doors, and frequent backtracking in a residence full of evil.
  • Since leaving the World War II setting in 2008, Call of Duty has been firmly set in the present day and beyond (with a short jaunt to the Cold War in Black Ops). Call of Duty: WWII finally returns the series to the staple Allied vs. Axis conflict that started it all.
  • Ace Combat, after a decade away from making mainline games in its established Strangereal universe, in which there were rather divisive games that for fans felt like a Follow the Leader of Call of Duty and an Allegedly Free Game, respectively, is apparently back to the style and setting of the PS2 era that earned it its fans with Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  • Soulcalibur VI returns to the original setting of the Soul Series, specifically the very first game titled Soulcalibur (which was actually the second in the series). This was after the infamous Soft Reboot attempted by the seventeen year Time Skip of Soulcalibur V, where many longtime iconic characters were replaced with younger, poorly-defined newcomers. With the setting, comes a complete host of iconic returning characters, a story the retells the tale of Souls and Swords, as well as gameplay elements that had been forgotten such as day/night settings and classic stages from the older games.
  • After Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy showed us just how Batman might work in a serious, modernized setting, Batman: Arkham Series reintroduced us to the dark, anachronistic Gotham and corny-but-not-to-be-trifled-with villains we got to know from the Tim Burton movies and the animated series. Then Zig-Zagged, as the prequel game took more cues from Nolan.
  • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! borrows many elements from the Gen I Pokémon games. Being a modernized remake of Pokémon Yellow, players receive a starter Pokémon that follows their character around: either Pikachu or Eevee, depending on the version played. The games take place in the Kanto region (the setting of the original games) and features only the original 151 Pokémon (not counting Alolan variants or Meltan). Held items, breeding, abilities, and weather effects (all additions made over previous installments) have been removed to simplify the experience.
  • Super Mario Party: After seven years of the franchise experimenting with alternate formulas, the game returns to the non-linear board game mechanic where players navigate around the board to search for stars and collect coins, and a minigame is played between rounds. Nintendo even describes it as a "complete relaunch" or "complete refresh" of the series. The back-to-basics approach is further endorsed with the follow-up Mario Party Superstars, which additionally brings back boards from the first three games.
  • Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth: After the third game added seafaring on a separate series of maps and the fourth game introduced an overworld that the player can explore, as well as the Untold games that retell the first two games with characters that have canon personalities and dialogue and the spinoff Etrian Mystery Dungeon, EOV ditches a lot of these elements and goes back to focusing on the "scale a 30-floor dungeon with a guild of player-created blank-slate adventurers" format.
  • DoDonPachi SaiDaiOuJou is more in line with its twice-removed predecessor DoDonPachi dai ou jou than its immediate predecessor DoDonPachi DaiFukkatsu, bringing back Element Dolls as partners (whereas in DFK, the Element Dolls are all enemy bosses), using a Hyper-stacking system similar to DOJ (whereas DFK does not have it), doing away with the bullet-cancelling focus of DFK, and making the strongest gameplay style an explicitly-billed "Expert" mode once again.
  • Konami's and M2's ReBirth games — Gradius ReBirth, Contra ReBirth, and Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth — are all designed to go back to the 16- and 32-bit days of their respective series. For Castlevania in particular, it also marked the first linear-progression "Classicvania" (as opposed to the more modern "Metroidvania" exploration-based format) since Castlevania Legends. Gradius ReBirth and Castlevania ReBirth also stand out for exploring elements of their respective canons that hadn't been touched since the early 90's (The MSX Nemesis / Burton-vs-Venom arc for Gradius, Christopher Belmont for Castlevania).
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge differs from other modern TMNT games by being based on the classic 1987 cartoon, rather than recent series or the IDW comic, something that hadn't been done in decades since Tournament Fighters. In addition, the gameplay goes back to the Turtles being individually selectable, rather than grouped-up at all times. Furthermore, it's in 16-bit graphics like the classic side-scrolling Konami beat 'em ups that it is patterned after (most particularly The Arcade Game and Turtles In Time), but with even punchier animations and a more dynamic art style (helped by the staff having previously worked on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game and the 2007 TMNT Game Boy Advance game).
  • Kazunori "Kaz" Yamauchi, the lead producer on the Gran Turismo series, has described Gran Turismo 7, the series' PlayStation 5 debut, as a return to the "CarPG" style of the older games in the series. Gran Turismo Sport, the series' lone PlayStation 4 entry, diverged heavily from series tradition by largely jettisoning most of the single-player mode and most of the tuning in favor of a focus on online multiplayer and e-sports, a move that was widely criticized by longtime fans who saw the series' appeal laying as much in collecting and tuning Cool Cars as in racing them. GT7 keeps the online multiplayer, but also brings back a massive single-player mode comparable to the older games in the series.
  • The Saints Row series began going into Denser and Wackier territory starting with the third game, with the Saints now living high on the hog and by the fourth game their reputation extended to the point they became ruler of the universe and the afterlife. Saints Row (2022) reboots the franchise to when the Saints were just starting out as their struggle to rise up in the criminal underworld, and tries to move the style of humor towards something that resembles Saints Row 2 more.
  • After several Assassin's Creed games moving closer and closer to a modern setting, culminating in the Victorian Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Assassin's Creed Origins brought the series back to it's ancient roots - being set in Ptolemaic Egypt, albeit with a radically different gameplay style. Assassin's Creed: Mirage continues this trend, heading back to the middle east around the turn of the first millennium and returning to the parkour-heavy gameplay of the original series.
  • Super Monkey Ball managed to get a grand total of two games on the Nintendo Gamecube, plus their Compilation Rerelease on PlayStation 2 and Xbox as Deluxe, that series fans herald as the golden era before immediately plummeting off a cliff with mediocre games heavily focused around Waggle or being more generic party platformer style titles in general. Then, for the series' 20th anniversary, Banana Mania came out as a Video Game Remake of the first three games, recreating them specifically to bring back in the old crowd and attract new fans in with what really kicked off Super Monkey Ball as a franchise in the first place.
  • Shingata Medarot was puported to be this: the plot is a remake of the original Medarot and the gameplay ditches all of the mechanics introduced in Medarot 3-onward like Medalias and Medachanging, playing identically to Medabots: Metabee and Rokusho. On the other hand, its radically different artstyle was not well-received by the series core audience.

    Web Animation 
  • For the Homestar Runner short "Hremail 7" (which retcons the origins of the Strong Bad Emails), the characters reverted back to older models (and for some of them, older voices), and the dialogue features a bunch of catch phrases or running gags that hadn't been used in years.
    • sbemail 100 which tells the story of Strong Bad and Homestar's first meeting, adopts a storybook motif and the designs from the original children's book.


    Web Original 
  • The Irate Gamer, since the jump to HD, had an ongoing storyline. Towards the end of the storyline, Bores created some non-sequential episodes that were closer to the earlier videos.
  • After its initial gimmick of mashing two or more popular weapons into a single weapon fell flat with the fans, Man At Arms: Reforged went back to the original series' premise of simply forging weapons from various fantasy series.
  • Joueur du Grenier: The X-Perts 2016 episode is done in the style of the videos from the beginning of the series, poking fun at their low quality and mocking several tropes used at the time.
    JdG: What's happening? Why is the picture so small? Why is it misshaped? Why is everything ugly and gross? AND WHY IS THE SOUND SATURATING WHEN I SPEAK LOUDER?!
    Seb: I think we're back in 2010... Oh fuck, my voice, shit!
  • Since his 2013 return, The Nostalgia Critic cycled between reviews that contain sketches with a supporting cast, and editorials where he discusses subjects ranging from fandom reactions to film trivia. Starting with the Cats Don't Dance review, however, the Critic has phased out the editorials in favor of a return to his earlier flavor of reviewing movies without his supporting cast or the emphasis on sketches.
  • After a 2-year phase of more commentary and reaction-based videos ala h3h3productions and Pyrocynical, PewDiePie returned to playing Minecraft in mid-2019 for “Gaming Week”.
  • Binging with Babish did this as an April Fool's Day prank in the episode on "Pizza in a Cup" from The Jerk. The video is done in the style of Andy's earliest cooking videos from the mid-2010s: he introduces himself as "Oliver Babish", he directly addresses his followers on Reddit, he uses the theme from Frasier as his opening theme, he uses his old background music, and he wears a wig to make himself look like he did before he decided to shave his head. He even manages to replicate the audio quality of his early videos, which had a much smaller budget than his later ones.

    Western Animation 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) was heavily inspired by the original Mirage comics, instead of the cheesy '87 series. This meant being less afraid to go Darker and Edgier (though still nowhere near Mirage's parodic levels of bloodshed; they still had censors to deal with), keeping Stockman black, and using characters like the Justice Force, Renet, and the Fugitoid.
  • According to its creators, Ben 10: Omniverse was an attempt to return the franchise as a whole back in alignment with the original Ben 10 series. Omniverse tones down the Darker and Edgier aspects and drastically changed the art to a less realistic style as compared to Alien Force and Ultimate Alien. The show frequently has flashbacks to adventures of 11 year-old Ben (that occurred a year after the events the Original Series) and reintroduces characters and aliens seen in the original series.
  • Blue's Clues & You!: There were a few things that were brought back from the early seasons of the original series. They even used them in the non remakes in Season 2.
    • "We Just Figured Out Blue's Clues" song returns from the first 4 seasons of the original series after its absence from the last 2 seasons of that series.
    • "The So Long Song" returns from the first 5 seasons of the original series after its absence from the final season of that series.
    • The full version of "Play Blue's Clues" returns from the first 5 seasons of the original series.
    • Standing up in the striped background before singing "Play Blue's Clues" returns from the first 2 seasons of the original series.
    • Guessing wrong answers to the Blue's Clues game returns from the first 2 seasons of the original series.
    • The music clues return from the first 5 seasons of the original series after their absences from the second half of the fifth season and final season of that series.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic zigzags this by having double-length episodes be similar in scale and tone to the adventure stories that were seen in the first generation of the franchise, while a majority of episodes consist of the Slice of Life seen in most other MLP shows.
  • The first two seasons of X-Men: Evolution are essentially this for the X-Men mythos, returning to the original premise of the comics: a High School drama about teenage mutants learning to control their powers while dealing with the typical struggles of growing up.
  • While The Spectacular Spider-Man took a lot of aspects from across Spidey's canon, it specifically drew many storylines and plotlines from The Amazing Spider-Man: making it very much a high school drama, with Gwen Stacy and Liz Allan appearing before Mary Jane for the spot of Peter's main Love Interests (and returning the latter to her original aloof and independent party-girl personality while making her Peter and Gwen's friend and who would have became the main love interest had the show continued, especially since Peter's other relationships with Liz and Gwen end on a low note by Season 2. The show is even credited as "created by" Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and only "adapted" by Greg Weisman and Victor Cook.
  • The 3-2-1 Penguins! episodes "12 Angry Hens", "Kennel Club Blues", "Oh, Mercy", and "Promises, Promises" had only one of the twins going on the mission like they did in the direct-to-video episodes instead of both of them.
  • The Batman started out doing its own thing with the Bat-mythos, but gradually, that got into more familiar territory: introducing Batgirl and Robin, giving Bats his signature Lantern Jaw of Justice (possibly to indicate aging), replacing Marion Grange with Hamilton Hill (who would be more familiar to the viewers of the previous animated Batman series) and playing down the new stylized designs of the villains.
  • After decades of dark, serious Batman stories, Batman: The Brave and the Bold revived the goofy silliness of the Silver Age stories.
  • Star Wars started out as a tribute to some of Lucas' favorite films. Star Wars: The Clone Wars acknowledges this by doing a lot of Whole-Plot Reference episodes to famous movies. Its (initial) lighthearted tone also makes it resemble a lot of the cheesy Star Wars kids' shows that popped up in the 70s and 80s.
  • The 2001 The Flintstones special The Flintstones: On the Rocks returns to its roots from the original show's early run as it is aimed for an older demographic.
  • Season 3 of Justice League Unlimited takes many cues from the earliest Justice League of America stories from the Silver Age as well as, to an extent, Super Friends, in marked contrast to earlier seasons, which were mainly based on more recent Bronze Age stories. Most notably, the first episode features the League establishing the Metrotower on Earth (a building heavily modeled on the Hall of Justice) as a second base in addition to the Watchtower, and continues the story with a fugitive Lex Luthor joining the new Secret Society (which is very much modeled after the Legion of Doom; they would've called it the Legion outright had some DC higher-up decided they couldn't use the term) after having his many crimes exposed. Overlaps with Decon-Recon Switch; the season spends much time reconstructing the same Superhero Tropes that the previous season deconstructed, returning to the light-hearted and optimistic tone of early League stories.
  • Transformers
  • Looney Tunes has been doing this since the 2010's with Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production / New Looney Tunes and Looney Tunes Cartoons, returning to their slapstick roots, after two decades of experimenting with sitcoms (Tiny Toon Adventures, Taz-Mania, The Looney Tunes Show), action-oriented shows (Duck Dodgers, Loonatics Unleashed), a mystery show (The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries) and a Spin-Off Babies show (Baby Looney Tunes).

  • In religion, this is the literal definition of fundamentalism: An attempt to boil a religion down to certain core precepts that the faith would be completely different without, often those that the founders and early followers believed. The tendency to be very vocal about this gave fundamentalists a reputation for holding Holier Than Thou attitudes towards other believers. The term comes from the Christians, specifically the Niagara Bible Conference in the late 19th century, which took the virgin birth of Jesus, His having performed miracles, His having died as atonement for humanity's sin, His bodily resurrection, and The Bible as the divinely-inspired last word on all matters of religious doctrine as the core precepts of Christianity.
  • Even the Internet has some sites that aim to “revisit its roots”: Neocities aims to revive the personal home pages of the late-90s (specifically GeoCities), and there are websites designed to emulate mid-2000s MySpace (SpaceHey) and late-2000s YouTube (VidLii). Some hobbyists still use the plain-text Gopher protocol that predates the World Wide Web, and it has recently gained a Spiritual Successor known as Gemini.
    • The 'Web 3.0' movement has revisiting the roots as its goal. It sees the modern social internet (what is sometimes called Web 2.0) as a series of heavily restricted walled gardens owned by a handful of Mega Corps, and are trying to return to a more decentralized internet where everyone can make their own space with their own rules.