The 66 Best (And 5 Worst) Buffyverse Characters
This is basically a response article to this BuzzFeed article. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not just my favorite TV show--it's my favorite thing. I didn't quite agree with the BuzzFeed list (because I'm a nerd and we all almost never fully agree on anything but that the Transformers movies suck). Also, I felt there were certain characters who didn't even really need to be on the list (there were two different white old dudes who ran Wolfram & Hart...but, I mean, they really weren't that different) and some who legit just served the purpose of moving the plot (like the Deputy Mayor who Faith accidentally kills and Warren's girlfriend who he murders). Also, I didn't include the comics (otherwise some things might have been different and Fray would've been on this list). So, my list consists of 66 of the best characters and then the 5 worst. Here we go:
66) The First
The final Big Bad. The First should have taken the form of every character. Remember how awesome the ending of Lessons was when The First took the form of every former Big Bad? Well, that should have happened a lot. At the very least, it should have happened in the finale. It, conveniently, took the form of Buffy and Spike constantly--but, never once did it take the form of Jenny Calendar (aside from in season 3), Tara, Angel, Kendra or the 9879 other characters it could have. I don't hate the finale the way a lot of fans do--I just was overall let down by a Big Bad that couldn't really do much but be an annoyance (it had to have Bringers, Caleb and Turok-Hans do its dirty work).
65) Mr. Trick
He was one of the better lackeys. I wish he'd stuck around longer. He had one of the better villain introductions.
64) Billy Blim
The first two seasons of Angel were weird. The third season is when things picked up. Billy was a sign of things picking up. He was a throwaway character Angel saved who then came back to fuck shit up for everyone in one of the better episodes of season 3 of Angel. This episode has a really great ending that made me love Lilah Morgan. I almost wished he'd stuck around to be a villain in more episodes.
63) Violet aka Vi
I don't hate the potentials. I really don't. But, well, most of them were, as Anya put it, "cannon fodder." Few of them had actual personalities. Vi was one of them--mostly thanks to the absolutely delightful Felicia Day.
One of the best one-off villains. I mean, who doesn't love Once More, with Feeling (my roommate, that's who).
61) Virgina Bryce
Wesley's actress girlfriend who first sleeps with him because she thinks he's Angel. She was fun. I think the writer's had no clue what to do with her because she was only in 4 episodes. But, hey, at least she didn't get killed like nearly every other person anyone on these shows dated.
60) Billy "Ford" Fordham
"Lie to Me" is one of my favorite season 2 episode of Buffy. The exchange between Giles and Buffy at the end always makes me tear up (but, to be fair, everything on this show makes me tear up). Billy could have been a nothing character--but, he and Buffy had actual chemistry and his reason for betraying her was actually kind of tragic.
59) Professor Maggie Walsh
She really would have been a way better Big Bad than Adam (more on him later).
58) David Nabbit
Before there was Andrew on Buffy, there was David on Angel. Sadly, he was only in two episodes.
56) Quentin Travers
The great/terrible head of the Watcher's Council. Doesn't it seem like he was in more than only 3 episodes? I once helped him find a book when I worked at Barnes & Noble and didn't recognize him because he doesn't actually have a British accent.
He was really fun and great until they ruined his storyline by having him have something to do with the horrendous Jasmine storyline (more on her later). Fun fact: He was played by the same guy who played Roy (Pam's ex) on The Office.
After Willy on Buffy, there was the far superior Merl on Angel. He should have been around longer than just 2 seasons.
53) Marcus Hamilton
51) Principal Robin Wood
His mom was a slayer? Cool! He slept with Faith? Okay. He got an annoying scene in the finale where you think he's dead but then he's not but you're too busy crying about Anya to care about a character who was only introduced that season? Exactly.
I will never ever forget his name because I got it wrong at a Buffy the Vampire Slayer trivia once. Which is crap since he was on Angel...but, I digress. He was like a grumpy old man demon who smoked. I enjoyed that. Clearly not enough to remember his name for trivia but...
49) Kathy Newman
Buffy's demon roommate. Another one of those "shoulda been around longer" type characters. Buffy being constantly annoyed by her was never not funny.
Buffy got a sister and Angel got a son. Joss maybe sometimes used the same ideas (but, so what who cares). Connor was a baby for nearly a full season and then was kidnapped and came back as a super powered human teen. Then he had sex with Cordelia and everything became terrible (and I'm pretty sure the writers had no idea what they were doing in season 4). He was way less annoying as a vaguely brainwashed teen in the final season. His best appearance was his appearance in the final episode. Also, I used to have a giant crush on him. What can I say, I like angst.
47) Ethan Rayne
I love his episode. It's one of the best season openers. Dracula fits so well into this show. I wouldn't have minded seeing him pop up again once or twice.
One of my favorite members of the "cannon fodder" potential slayers. She fit really well in the Whedon-verse. Which is why Joss decided to kill her.
44) Riley Finn
I am an unapologetic Riley apologist (say that 10 times fast). I think Buffy did push him away and he did get stupid and jealous (and I really can't defend him letting vampires suck his blood--BUT PEOPLE HAVE WEIRD COPING MECHANISMS). It breaks my heart when, in The Replacement, he tells Xander, "Yeah, I'm well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy's like nobody else in the world. When I'm with her, it's like - it's like I'm split in two - half of me is just on fire, goin' crazy if I'm not touching her. The other half is so still and peaceful, just perfectly content. Just knows, this is the one. But she doesn't love me." His exit also makes me cry (mostly because it provokes Xander to give Anya a speech that makes me sob). Riley is a good guy. He doesn't deserve all the hate. He was a great addition to the Scoobies. He just wasn't the best addition to Buffy's love life.
43) Larry Blaisdell
A great side character who also happened to be gay. Who also happened to be killed by a gaint snake monster at graduation. Sigh.
She was a fun addition to Buffy and helped expand the Slayer mythos. She also lead way to another, even better Slayer. Her accent wasn't my favorite but her death was still sad--although, I really wish she hadn't been sliced by Drusilla's french manicured nails (I mean, c'mon, at least have her get bitten or give her a Jenny Calender neck snap). Fun fact: Kendra was one of the last action figures released in the Buffy action figure line (sadly, we never got an Andrew).
41) The Groosalugg
I'm not going to lie. I have such a crush on him that it might be blinding me from fairly ranking him. He was like a Disney prince. He looks like an adorable puppy dog! I wouldn't have been mad if he'd stuck around Angel longer (or had, at least, come back once or twice)
40) Lindsey McDonald
He really should've just admitted he wanted to funnel Angel's hog. Then, maybe, I would've liked him more. But, I did like him a lot better when he came back for the final season of Angel.
39) Anne Steele aka Lily Houston aka Chantarelle
One of the weirder reoccuring characters. She's one of the few side characters who made the leap from Buffy to Angel. They did a good job developing her more on Angel than on Buffy (where she was mostly a helpless victim). I always enjoyed how she was on both shows but it was barely addressed.
38) Gwen Raiden
Like, I understand why she's not well-liked...but, well, I don't care. She was clearly some weird Faith/X-Men character mashup but it completely worked for me. She stuck around for 3 episodes of Angel then oddly was written off in a line of dialogue saying she "ran off." She would have really worked in the final season of Angel. Sigh.
37) Charles Gunn
Remember how I said I'm an unapologetic Riley apologist? Well, that applies to Kennedy but times 9087. Was she the love of Willow's life? No, that was Tara, you fool. But, she was the girlfriend Willow needed. She was the potential that all the other potentials needed to be. She was the only potential Slayer who wasn't "cannon fodder." She could hold her own before she got her Slayer powers. She also did more than run around and scream and die (like every other potential). After Buffy and Faith, she was next in line to lead.
Before there was Glory, there was Sunday. She broke Buffy's beloved Class Protector award. Also, when asked by a fellow vampire if a sweater made her look fat, she had the great reply of, "No. The fact that you're fat makes you look fat. The sweater just makes you look purple."
Isn't it weird that he's only in 4 episodes? It seems like way more. He kills one of my other favorite side characters (more on her later).
33) Principal Snyder
A much better principal than Flutie. Even if he did hate my beloved Buffy. Also, he had a pretty great death at graduation.
She was made to be a gross sex robot...but, she's oddly charming and gets along well with Anya. I think Buffybot works so well because of the acting chops of Miss Gellar.
A "good" demon who doesn't have a soul and he babysits Dawn!
30) The Master
He just works so well as Buffy's first Big Bad. He wouldn't have worked as well if he had come after someone like Glory--but, he's a great introduction villain and really banters well with Buffy herself. Also, he has fruit punch mouth.
29) Warren Mears
There really was no better way to follow up Buffy having to fight an all powerful Hell God than having her fight a truely evil human. He's probably the villain everyone hates the most.
28) Dawn Summers
Oh, I'm also a Dawn apologist. I feel like you try having an absent father, a superhero sister, a dead mother and then find out you aren't really real and then you tell me how "not whiney" you are. By season 7, she's a legit useful part of the Scoobies.
27) Jenny Calendar
I'm forever upset she never came back as The First in the final season.
Everyone loves Halfrek, so do I need to explain why she's so high on this list? Fun fact: I once rang up Kali Rocha (the actress who played Halfrek) when I worked at Barnes & Noble (it was the UWS--lots of famous people came in) and she was an absolute delight. I told her I recognized her from Buffy. She told me I made her day by recognizing her. She then asked me my name and introduced herself to me and said she hoped to see me there again. Sadly, I quit a week later. But, how cute is she!?
25) Jonathan Levinson
One of the longest running side characters on Buffy. I almost wish he'd made it to the final to help Buffy and the Scoobies fight The First. Also, come on, how much do you cry when he gives Buffy the Class Protector award?
24) Amy Madison
23) Joyce Summers
Let's not talk about The Body because I'll start crying.
He deserved a better ending than the one he got, but I love him. He was one of the most charming characters on Angel.
Excuse me while I rant: She was one of the first faces you see in the Buffyverse. She was the character that specifically told you that the women on this show wouldn't be helpless. For me, that first scene is such a big deal. It's what showed the audience how clever this show would be--even if that 1st season was filmed on, what looked like, a home video camera. She came back to bother Angel countless times on his show and even sacrificed herself for her child. Fun fact: the Darla action figure in her schoolgirl outfit is one of my favorite Buffy action figures.
20) Lilah Morgan
Lilah was suuuch a great character. She deserved to be bumped up to main credits cast member in the final season of Angel...and, yet, she wasn't even in the final season of Angel. Lindsey got to come back and she didn't? Bullshit! She was a casualty of the bad writing of season 4.
19) Harmony Kendall
EDIT: I accidentally left off number 19 when I wrote this list. Harmony is number 19. Thanks to Shaun for pointing out her absence. That's what happens when you stay up until 6am writing a list.
18) Mayor Richard Wilkins
17) Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
One of the best developed characters on Angel (aside from a certain someone else that we'll get to soon). He started off on Buffy as a fine side character and was made into a really great, loveable main character on Angel. I sob just thinking about when Illyria "lies" to him in the final episode.
The only time I really bought Angelus as a villain was in season 2 of Buffy. That's because it was before we met The Gentlemen or Glory or any monsters of the sort. However, I liked Angel a lot better once he was on his own show.
My crush on Seth Green was absolutely out of control when I was a teen watching Buffy. I still have a giant crush on him. And, well, it's mostly due to the character of Oz. You guys can have Spike and Angel--I want Oz to be my boyfriend.
The love of Willow's life. Her and Willow had one of the best romances on TV. A friend of mine had spoiled Tara's death for me (she had read a spoiler online) and I didn't talk to her for weeks because of it. I'm almost glad Amber Benson didn't come back to play The First as Tara in season 7 because it would've broken my heart into 78979 tiny little pieces.
Joss Whedon was a great writer. But, that's not the only reason Buffy and Angel worked so well--he also had the great fortune of having some really great actors and actresses on his shows. Juliet Landau is one of the best in a group of great performers. I loved her on Buffy and I loved her on Angel. Drusilla was a character I never got tired of seeing.
12) Xander Harris
I never got over him leaving Anya at the altar. He's the least loveable of the Scoobies--but, it's hard not to love him. I mean, have you seen him give Willow the "yellow crayon" speech?
It's a shame Angel was cancelled so abruptly. I think Illyria could have been even more fleshed out. I kind of would have preffered a Angel/Angelus thing rather than having Fred die so close to the series finale. It's weird to think she was only in the last 8 episodes and was still such a great character. Her punching the dude's face off in the finale is incredibly gratifying.
Hands down the best villain of the Buffyverse. Buffy describes her as being, "kind of like Cordelia actually" and she is--in the best way possible. Even when Cordelia was turned evil (groan) she never measured up to Glory. Buffy and the Scoobies actually ran away from Glory. She was more than a physical match for the Slayer and she was insane--which was what made her so fun to watch. Fun fact: I've probably met Clare Kramer (who plays Glory) more times than any other celebrity at any comic-con--and she's always super sweet.
The nerd the show needed. He was the voice of the audience. He was gay (let's ignore that dumb reveal in the final season of Angel). He worked well with every character (especially with Anya and Spike). I don't even love the episode Storyteller that much but I love him. Fun fact: I once met him at a gay bar in NYC and we were both equally awkward with each other.
The Willow of Angel. But, you know, less gay. Her addition to the cast in season 3 was when Angel really started to come into its own. And, I think, a lot of that had to do with her.
He's great as a bad guy and great as a good guy. He's hot as a 70s punk. He's loveable as a terrible, lovelorn poet. He's one of the most complex characters in the Buffyverse. He's also a much better match for Buffy than Angel is. I only wish Buffy had realized this before both shows were off the air (yes, I know there are comcis but eeehhh). He also has one of my all-time favorite Buffy lines, "Out. For. A. Walk. Bitch."
The father of the Scoobies. He reminds me of a British version of Atticus Finch (from To Kill A Mockingbird). He always does the right thing. He's a better parent to Buffy than her father (duh) and, arguably, than her mother. He's just wonderful. Also, he had sex with Joyce on the hood of that police car that time.
5) Cordelia Chase
"Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass." The character with the best development on Angel and, well, the best development overall (aside from the ladies that come ahead of her). From Mean Girl with a heart of gold to a true hero. It's a real shame the writers didn't know what to do with her in season 4. They wrote themselves into a hole after season 3. But, her final episode is my favorite episode of Angel and, oh boy, do I sob when she says, "Oh, and you're welcome."
There was a while in my teens when I would have argued with my now (much) older self about Faith being the best character on the show. I still think she's great though. Eliza Dushku is a ridiculous sex-bomb who you still really care about. She definitely wanted to get into Buffy's panties (even if she didn't realize it) and became legit friends with Angel later on. I'm almost torn as to which show I liked seeing her on better. She was the high point of season 4 of Angel and she's what helped make season 3 of Buffy so fucking great. I really wish we'd gotten that rumored Faith spin-off series. Hell, I still hold out hope for it.
I can't think of a character that made me laugh as consistently as Anya did. Nothing (and I mean nothing) makes me cry like her speech in The Body. Wait! I said we wouldn't talk about that episode because I'll end up crying. So, shut up, everyone. Also, when she's left at the altar in Hell's Bells and when she meets her end in Chosen and and and. Ugh. I love her. She's another character that's great because of Joss's writing and the actress's acting skills. Humblebrag: Emma Caulfield (who portrayed Anya) and I follow each other on Twitter. She's a delight.
2) Buffy Summers
You so often hear, "No one loves the main character," but, well, that's wrong. I love Buffy Summers. She's a perfectly flawed hero. She thinks she's always right, she shuts people out and she's willing to "give you all a nice, fun, normal evening," even if she has to, "kill every, single person on the face of the Earth to do it." Sarah Michelle Gellar recently joined Twitter and she sure does bring up Buffy a lot. Which makes me melt into a puddle of Buffy feelings every single time.
1) Willow Rosenberg
I hate that this list is written in repsonse to another and we have the same number 1--but, Willow is the best written character in the Buffyverse. She's an awkward nerd, grows up to be more confident--eventually becoming a very strong wiccan lesbian. Her relationships with both Oz and Tara were two of the best relationships on Buffy. Even when she goes evil, you still love her and she's still Willow. She comes back from her darkside a stronger person. She is the reason all the Slayers are given their power. If there were a show I'd wanna see more than a Faith spin-off, it'd be a Willow spin-off. Also, it doesn't hurt that Alyson Hannigan is a great actress.
And now, The 5 Worst Buffyverse Characters:
5) Detective Kate Lockley
She's just the worst. The fact that she never trusts Angel even though he's constantly helping her out is really really annoying.
4) Daniel Holtz
I get it, he hates Angel for killing his family. But, like, YAWN.
I'm not sure if it's bad acting or the fact that she replaced one of the best characters on Angel, Lilah--but, LORD, she's dull.
He should have been Professor Walsh's lackey...not the Big Bad of season 4 of Buffy. There's only one character I hate more than him...
The absolute worst. Everything that happened in Angel was supposed to lead up to HER!? Not only was Jasmine lame but her weak storyline was just...the worst. There's nothing good about her. But, hey, I like Gina Torres just, you know, not as Jasmine.