Christmas has come early for Family Guy fans with the resurrection of the beloved character Brian.
As reported by CTV News, fans of the Fox animated series were left distraught when the talking-dog character was killed off in a car accident in November.
Negative fan reaction to Brian's unexpected demise was swift and vociferous. A fan-organized petition demanding the character's return garnered close to 130,000 signatures on Change.org.
But all was made right again in last night's new Christmas-themed edition of Family Guy. Titled Christmas Guy, the episode saw the baby-genius Stewie Griffin bring back his best friend with a cheap time-travel scheme.
Specifically, the episode's storyline had Stewie visiting the local shopping mall with the Griffin family's ad hoc replacement for Brian – the wiseguy-like new pet Vinnie, voiced by Tony Sirico of The Sopranos – for a sit-down with Santa Claus.
Stewie asks Santa to bring Brian back, to no avail, and then suddenly remembers that he has a spare time-travel device in his backpack (the original device was destroyed in the Brian death episode), which he immediately uses to rewind time to the moment just before Brian was killed.
And it worked, much to the delight of the high IQ infant and his canine companion.
Said Stewie: "You're alive, my friend! I couldn't live without you so I came back from the future to save your life."
Responds Brian: "Thank you for saving my life. A lot of other families would have just gotten another dog and moved on."
Whatever the method, Brian is back, and Family Guy devotees received the Christmas miracle most of them probably figured would happen the day after his abrupt departure.
And what about Brian's fleeting replacement? Arrivederci, Vinnie.
Immediately after the show aired Sunday night, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who has also voiced Brian for the past 11 seasons, went on Twitter to tell fans: "And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash."
MacFarlane also tweeted: "I mean, you didn't think we kill off Brian, did you?"