Fortunately, this doesn't mean we've burnt through all the good ideas. The subject is so vast and has been explored so many times that a few relatively odd variants on the trope have emerged, and odd in different ways. Some of the items on this list are well-known ridiculous spoofs, some employ scientific concepts, but they are all creative twists on a well-worn notion for those bored with souped-up phone booths and the like. And until the aliens or the Yaqui Indians or whoever decide to show us the real way it's done, we have these options to mull over.
11) Homer's Toaster, The Simpsons
We begin with a beloved bit from The Simpsons' fifth Treehouse of Horror episode. "Time and Punishment," a spoof of Ray Bradbury's "The Sound of Thunder," among other things, opens with Homer praising his life and the country that makes it possible. Then he gets his hand stuck in a toaster. In the process of repairing it, he accidentally creates a time machine and becomes, in his own immortal words, "the first non-Brazilian person to travel backwards through time." (this supposedly being a reference to Carlos Castaneda and one of those great esoteric jokes The Simpsons excelled at in its prime). His romp through the past of course has disastrous results, and he ends up zinging back and forth in order to try and restore the present time to the normalcy he remembers. Unfortunately this means he misses out on even better alternate realities, especially the one where it rains donuts.
10) Hot Tub Time Machine
I know not how this idea came about, but I applaud it for a) not using a humor-killing definite article and b) sounding like the title was pulled out of Drew Carey's Uncle Sam hat during a Whose Line is it Anyway? episode. The rest of the world may have forgotten this silly, throwaway sex comedy, but I will never forget any movie that gets Craig Robinson to sing "Jessie's Girl", for many reasons. Both a goofy retro-fantasy farce and a parody of such, it follows the exploits of four dudes transported back to the '80s, three of whom lived through them already. Their means of conveyance? Take a wild guess. It turns out that splashing a can of an energy drink called "Chernobly" causes the otherwise normal Jacuzzi to open up onto a quantum vortex. The comedic palette of the film can be considered complex in that in encompasses jokes of both the vomit and blowjob variety. There's even a role for my beloved Lizzy Caplan as John Cusack's spunky love interest. And what sagacious figure guides our heroes on their journey? Chevy Chase. HTTM may not quite be comedic perfection, but in some ways that makes it better.
9) Mario's Time Machine
The Tubeterwebs are practically choking with videos of would-be James Rolfes spitting bile at this poor educational game from the '90s. Not only did I actually own it for the SNES back in the day, I played it all the way through (this was back before I had learned the concept that a game could be "bad" or "good"). The premise attempts to loosely appropriate Carmen Sandiego into the ill-defined Mario world with infamously disastrous results. Gameplay involves you selecting historical artifacts one at a time from Bowser's museum, filling out a form regarding the history surrounding said artifact, and returning it back to its proper time via the titular conveyance. The machine itself is ugly but not particularly strange at least at first. The weird part is that after you activate it, you suddenly start surfing. Time Surfing. You have to pick up 10 mushrooms and then crash into a whirlpool before traveling to your destination (provided you correctly adjusted the controls earlier). Then, after you've returned the artifact and are ready to leave, you push a button that appears to be imbedded in Mario's palm and get a bunch of points (or don't). Return to the museum, get a new artifact, lather, rinse, repeat. It's hard to say that anything feels out of place in a mythos as random as Mario's, but there's something seriously odd about seeing a 4-foot cartoon plumber interact with painterly depictions of Joan of Arc and Beethoven. This came out around the same time as Mario is Missing!, but at least that one had Yoshi in it, as well as a few boss fights, neither of which can be said for Mario's Time Machine. Instead, this game stands as the only time Mario has met Plato (so far, anyway: fingers crossed for a Mario Teaches Classical Dualism in 2013!). It should be noted that this game exists for multiple platforms, and that the NES version is radically different and much more Mario-like, although probably not good.
8) The Time Barrier, Timeslip
At a time when people were actually trying to compete with Doctor Who, ITV created a very different children's sci-fi program, rooted a little more in actual science and keeping the action closer to home. Consisting of 26 episodes bundled in four separate serials, Timeslip told the story of two inquisitive British kids, Simon and Liz, who discover a malleable point in the membrane of time and find they are able to pass through it to different points in the past and future. It may have been conceived with children primarily in mind, but like Who, Timeslip broached mature subject matter and themes including cloning and global warming. As a side-note, "time slips" are an actual reported paranormal phenomenon (so, "fiction") in which people claim to have momentarily experienced life in another era, though not by breaking through a time bubble. Would that something like this were real, although given the unfortunate future worlds depicted by this series, perhaps we should be thankful it isn't.
7) The Book, The Time Warp Trio
Time travel stories most often find themselves classified as science fiction rather than fantasy, as it's usually some machine or pseudo-futuristic device that transports the protagonist elsewhere. But sometimes magic explicitly fills that role, and Jon Scieszka's beloved juvenile novels gave its pre-pubescent heroes Joe, Sam and Fred an enchanted book that did the job, usually by misinterpreting some word or phrase and hurtling them somewhere. There were occasional variations to this, as when the gang attempted to use the power of numbers to pick a year to visit via "magic square." The book was a gift from Joe's uncle, a magician, though his mother seemed to be a little more adept at using it. Unbeknownst to me until researching this article, Scieszka's books were apparently adapted later into a PBS show which, even though it aired in 2005, still has one of the most '90s cartoon theme songs I've heard in many a moon.