Animated comedy Family Guy, now in its 12th season, isn’t exactly known for its emotional depths and drama. Indeed, with its wacky, irreverent jokes and ever-changing internal logic, it’s a programme that has barely changed since its 1999 debut. It even managed to survive its 2003 cancellation, returning two years later effectively the same as ever. Even more so than the likes of The Simpsons, it’s a show that has almost constantly avoided multi-episode story arcs or narrative developments that can’t simply be reset before next week’s shenanigans.
Brian was quickly replaced by a new family dog called Vinnie, a ‘pooch with attitude’ who many viewers were quick to spot is voiced by Tony Sirico, the actor that played mafioso Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gautieri in HBO’s The Sopranos.
Family Guy’s executive producer Steve Callaghan explained the decision to send Brian on a trip to Belize, telling E! Online: ‘This was an idea that got pitched in the writers’ room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up.
‘We started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.’
Killing off characters seems to be popular in cartoons at the moment with The Simpsons planning on doing the same, although given Family Guy’s love of undermining its own plots, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a return for Brian just yet.