If you haven't already heard, Family Guy's Brian Griffin was killed off but if you're even hotter on the ins and outs of entertainment news, or just live in the US where episodes are shown first, you'll know that Brian has been brought back.

Family Guy Brian Stewie
What Was The Real Motivation behind Killing Brian Off?

Indeed, in the blink of an eye - well, less than a month after Brian was shown dying after being hit by a car, the makers of Family Guy have brought the Griffin family's beloved pet dog back into the plot. Though Brian's death was made out to be irreversible seeing as Stewie's time machine was supposed to be destroyed, all is not so.

The writers exploited a sneaky loophole in last Sunday's episode where Brian was returned to the show unscathed. Stewie is seen telling Santa that all he wants is his best friend back and the Griffin's new dog Vinnie, feeling sorry for his companion, takes Stewie to the toy store to cheer him up. Whilst at the store, Stewie sees a future version of himself and steals his own time travel device.

Transported back to the moment just before the reckless driver mowed Brian down, Stewie throws his friend out of the way of the speeding car before disappearing.

Watch The 'Family Guy' Scene Where Brian's Life Is Saved:

Whilst many fans will have assumed that the decision to write Brian back into the show will have been taken as a result of the 120,000-strong petition after the fateful 'Life of Brian' episode was aired, it's more likely that the FG team have had this move planned for some time.

Angered by executive producer Steve Callaghan's remarks that Brian's death was born in the writers room as "a fun way to shake things up" that "caught fire," fans massed in their shared annoyance and sorrow that Brian, the aspiring writer alcoholic, could be so easily flicked from the cast.

Family Guy
Who Will The Writers Choose To Toy With Next?

Though we're chuffed to see arguably the show's best character back in action, our cynical side condemns Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane and his team for not only running a cheap publicity stunt, but also for playing with the invested emotions of the show's most ardent fans.

MacFarlane was flippant on Twitter when he revealed the ruse, tweeting "And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash," he tweeted. The animator and actor addressed the death and resurrection of Brian directly, adding "I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be f*cking high."

"Oh and hey... thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude," the comedian tweeted.