I have a paranoia of violating copyright laws, so I
Buffy the Vampire'd myself.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series shouldn’t need an introduction. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It’s available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I would wonder if its appeal is something that stems from growing up on the series, but Joss Whedon’s involvement makes me suspect that those of you younguns who missed its heyday would still appreciate the wit and weird that makes the show. At the very least, you can laugh at the special effects. Visual expectations have changed over the years.
Choosing a favorite character from the series is difficult. This may be due in part to the shifts that took place over the years. We go from a very long high school experience full of monsters, witty one-liners, and angsty slayer-on-vampire love to an average length college experience full of witty one-liners, monsters, and angsty man problems. Despite my sarcasm, there was enough consistency in the series to placate those of us who are resistant to change while developing character arc. The cast stays consistent although there were major tweaks to their personalities.
Buffy vacillates between ditzy pint-sized hero to confident badass. There is something about a tiny woman with super strength batting giant bad guys through the air. Her love interests consistently manifest as sensitive guys with an evil streak, and over time her intelligence and complexity are revealed. Xander is the wit machine, master of self-deprecating humor. Now that I think about it, he didn’t change much. Both Willow and Giles take on the role of brainy worriers. Willow broke out of the background with a werewolf boyfriend, a hit and miss talent for witchcraft, and, eventually, a change in sexual preferences. Giles had a somewhat regrettable stint as a cafe musician (very soulful and strange), a history in dark magic, and lots of conflict with the Watchers.
The main characters provide a likable foundation, but as the series evolved, I found myself enjoying peripheral characters more than the main cast. My fascination with Angel was likely a symptom of my age - teenage hormones and all that - but he was the bad boy trying to do right. This appeals to me. Or it did until I got bored with it. Next was Oz, Willow’s clever love interest. That interest was short lived as he went from clever and sweet to snarky. I rooted for Cordelia, and secretly loved her thin, shallow exterior and righteously bitchy commentary. She was voted off the island to spin-off land with Angel. Riley Flynn was interesting when he was a covert agent. Then he became extremely insecure and I cheered when he was sent away on a mission.
With my fascination of bad boys, it shouldn’t be surprising that the one character who consistently entertained and drew me in was a jerk. A big plus were the self-appointed nicknames. Spike is the man I loved to watch as he bumbled around Buffy crowing about his prowess as the Big Bad. His attraction to the broken and deadly Drusilla was sweet. His dysfunctional fixation with Buffy hedged on stalkerish. As someone who feels stalkers should be taken very seriously, I became a hypocrite and giggled when a Big Bad was caught sniffing Buffy’s sweater. The episode Fool for Love almost broke me, introducing Spike’s origins as a sensitive poet lacking in game and talent. His ascension from outcast to misfit tag-along to a slayer killer was loaded into a single episode character that almost backfired. Somehow the edgy exterior and strange love brought me back.
As I re-watch the episodes and work my way through season 5, my favorites will probably change. Who was your favorite character? Did your favorites change as the seasons progressed, or did you always have a preference?
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.