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TOP 40 CHARACTER LIST:
Once AGAIN, I'm wasting my semi-valuable time (and hopefully yours) to bring you the latest update in my attempt to catalogue the most significant characters in the BUFFYVERSE. Previous CUMULATIVE updates covered the first, second and third years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After that, the task became more complicated as Buffy's fourth season aired simultaneously (day and date, literally) with the first season of Angel. So the Year Four update included Buffy S4 & Angel S1. Year Five covered Buffy S5 & Angel S2. This update, Year Six, covers Buffy S6 & Angel S3.
As you may recall, I've tried to inform this subjective task with an objective formula. I tried, as much as possible, not to allow my knowledge of future events to influence the current standings. Still, I won't deny that subjectives have played a role. It's hard not to take extra notice of a character you know is going to be important later. And ties were broken based entirely on subjective criteria.
The idea behind a cumulative tally is to mimic the original experience of following the Buffyverse. It's a horse race. Some of the winners and losers are decidedly predictable. Others are a bit surprising - surprising enough that it's become absolutely clear that my system must be flawed. I've since dreamed up a new system, but it's too late to implement it. Someday, LONG after I've finished this first survey (but ONLY if I prove truly insane), I might just start over and see what the results are with OBJECTIVE SYSTEM 2.0. But for now - assuming you haven't nodded off - you're stuck with System One.
I have a list of ALL the characters that have appeared in both series up to this point. It's so long (including everything from leads to ridiculously minor characters) that I haven't even bothered to count how many there are. But my list of MOST significant currently tops out at 202 characters.
But I think listing the top 40 is both pleasantly traditional… and plenty. Or largely. I just want to note a few characters introduced (or revisited) in this set of episodes, who haven't yet or never will make the top 40, but whom I believe are memorable enough to merit honorable mention.
#197 - The Prima Ballerina. Summer Glau, later of FIREFLY & SERENITY, plays a dancer trapped performing the same ballet forever until Angel and Co. save her.
#196 - The Girl in the White Room. At Wolfram & Hart. A creepy, vicious little god-girl.
#191 - Lady with a Baby, a.k.a. Mother #2. Same actress played a mom with a kid on Buffy and then later played a mom with a kid on Angel - who's secretly working for Wolfram & Hart. No guarantee that these two roles on two separate shows are actually intended to be the same character. But I like to think so.
#175 - Arney. Lorne's Demon contractor, who betrays the Angel gang to Holtz.
#167, #168, #169 - Fury #1, Fury #2, Fury #3. Very funny trio, who defy their names by being REALLY into their former sex partner Angel.
#166 - Sunny. Connor's first friend - a junkie who doesn't survive long - after he arrives back on Earth.
#165 - Doctor. In Buffy's vision of being in an asylum, this was the Psychiatrist, who tried to convince her that her entire life in Sunnydale was psychosis.
#163, #164 - Josh and Sara Harris. Xander and Anya's two kids in the false vision of the future presented to Xander at the couple's aborted wedding.
#160, #161 - Mr. & Mrs. Burkle. Fred's parents.
#154, #155 - Caroline & Sarah Holtz - Victims of Angelus & Darla that send Holtz on his centuries long quest for vengeance.
#144 - Sweet. The tap-dancing Demon that brought us BUFFY: THE MUSICAL! "Once More With Feeling…"
#130 - Doris Kroeger. The woman from Child Services, who tried to take Dawn away from Buffy.
#118 - Cave Demon. The guy who gave back Spike's soul.
#117 - Billy Blim, a.k.a. Young Man. The guy that Angel saved from a burning hell to protect Cordelia's visions from killing her. He returns later as a guy who can bring out "primal misogyny" in men. Lilah kills him.
#113, #192 - Razor and Mag. Biker Demons who appear in the opening two-parters where Buffy comes back to life.
#108, #174 - Lorraine Ross & Gina. Buffy's boss and fellow employee at the Double Meat Palace, who each appear in a couple episode.
#102 - Sandy. Sandy first appeared when the Vamp-Willow came to our universe. She was a victim that Vamp-Willow bit. Then two seasons later, she resurfaces as a vampire, whom Riley allows to feed on him. Riley then stakes her. Again, I love that they used someone with continuity for Riley.
#99, #131, #162 - Tony, Rory & Jessica Harris. Xander's Dad, Uncle & Mom, i.e. the horrible family that convinced Xander - more than the misleading vision, that he wasn't ready for marriage with Anya. Personally, I never bought this.
#75 - Clem, a.k.a. Clemmet, a.k.a. Loose-Skinned Demon. With Merl dead over on Angel, we meet a newer, sweeter sympathetic Demon. Gotta love Clem.
#70 - Rack. Willow's magic pusher.
#69 - Skip. Originally Billy Blim's hell-guard. Later Cordelia's spirit guide. I really liked Skip and have to admit I was pretty bummed when in Season Four of Angel he turns out to have been a villain all along.
#55 - Halfrek… and Cecily Addams? Halfrek is Anya's best friend, a fellow vengeance demon. But the same actress also played Spike's first love Cecily. And when Halfrek first spots Spike, she recognizes him, so…
#45, 46 - Justine Cooper and Sahjahn. The demon who brought Holtz to the present, and the obsessed woman who fell in love with Holtz because he gave her purpose.
#41 - Connor/Steven. Angel's son. He'll crack the top 40 next season.
And before we start, a fond Top 40 farewell to Willy the Snitch (now at #51), Mr. Trick (#49), Jinx (#47), Holland Manners (#44), Amy (#43) and Adam (#42).
AND NOW THE TOP 40
Abbreviations for previous rankings…
Y1 - Buffy Season 1.
Y2 - Buffy Season 2.
Y3 - Buffy Season 3.
Y4 - Buffy Season 4/Angel Season 1.
Y5 - Buffy Season 5/Angel Season 2.
NR - Not Ranked that year.
#40 - The Master. Y5: 34. Y4: 27. Y3: 16. Y2: 13. Y1: 8. Buffy's first Big Bad from an abbreviated first season just barely holds on to the Top 40, falling 6 rankings. And it's not at all a given that he'll hold on after next season. After all, Adam has already fallen OUT of the top 40. Adam may not have been the best of Buffy's Big Bads, but I'm still stunned that he fell out of the Top 40. (Particularly given some of the less interesting characters that ARE holding on.)
#39 - The Groosalugg. Y5: 81. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Groo, the half-demon from Lorne's dimension, who fell hard for Cordelia, jumps up 42 rankings, as he joins the Angel team for half a season… before gallantly riding off into the sunset so that Cordelia and Angel can (not) hook up.
#38 - Gavin Park. Y5: 128. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gavin, in his second season as Lilah's post-Lindsey foil at Wolfram & Hart, leaps up a WHOPPING 90 positions. I really liked Gavin, but in hindsight I really should give credit for that to Daniel Dae Kim (now playing a totally different character on LOST), because other than functioning as a FOIL, he never really has any juice of his own. But he sure appears a lot.
#37 - Andrew Wells. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Andrew, the definite third wheel of the Season's Evil Trio (no, not Brooklyn, Lexikngton & Broadway) is #37 with a bullet, entering the Top 40 in his first season. He's very funny… and he becomes a near regular next season, so he's only just getting started.
#36 - Warren Meers. Y5: 82. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Warren, who emerges as the only non-banality of evil member of the Evil Trio, jumps 46 rankings. Murderer of Katrina and Tara. Creator of Dark Willow. He winds up skinned.
#35 - Forrest Gates. Y5: 32. Y4: 21. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley's ex-best buddy falls three rankings. Still twice-dead, he's one of the characters that I can't believe is still holding onto a Top 40 spot. I mean Adam's fallen off, but this guy holds on… based on having a lot of screen time.
#34 - Glory. Y5: 30. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad drops 4 rankings. Any big bad deserves the Top 40 in my opinion. Hope she holds on.
#33 - Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Y5: 29. Y4: 19. Y3: 14. Y2: 40. Y1: NR. The Mayor also loses 4 rankings. This guy damn well better hold on.
#32 - Graham Miller. Y5: 28. Y4: 22. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley Finn's second best friend falls four rankings. Like Forrest, another one that I can't imagine why he's still in the Top 40.
#31 - Maggie Walsh. Y5: 27. Y4: 18. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. And Maggie, the holding place for Adam (who actually had more screen time) falls four rankings herself. Still feels like she's too high up to me, but at least I buy her being in the Top 40. But her placement above Adam, Glory, the Master, and the Mayor is one of the things that points up a flaw in the current system.
#30 - Ben. Y5: 26. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Year Five's big bad's alter ego for Glory also drops four places. And here again, a flaw is pointed up. Ben ahead of Glory? And still in the Top 30? Really? Like Maggie ahead of Adam, it's about screen time, not actual character significance or OOMPH.
#29 - Jenny Calendar. Y5: 25. Y4: 17. Y3: 13. Y2: 11. Y1: 15. Jenny also falls four rankings. (Who are the four guys who pushed everyone back, huh?) Says something about Jenny's original significance that a non-regular like her is holding on for so long.
#28 - Harmony Kendall. Y5: 23. Y4: 25. Y3: 20. Y2: 26. Y1: 18. Harmony keeps bouncing back and forth, falling five (not four) rankings this year to her lowest ranking yet. Of course, this is the first year that Harmony doesn't actually appear at all.
#27 - Kate Lockley. Y5: 22. Y4: 23. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Angel's cop friend doesn't appear this season at all… and I hate to say isn't particularly missed. She falls five rankings. (Five being the new four.)
#26 - Lindsey McDonald. Y5: 21. Y4: 29. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lindsey has hit the road, and having also been absent all season, falls five rankings too.
#25 - Daniel Holtz. Y5: NR. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Captain Holtz, Angel's Big Bad for the Season (or surrogate, if you're counting Connor as the finale's final big bad) is #25 with a bullet. He's deadly and great and played by my buddy Keith Szaribajka (who played Psycho for me on MAX STEEL).
#24 - Jonathan Levinson. Y5: 33. Y4: 24. Y3: 17. Y2: 19. Y1: NR. Jonathan, the LEAST evil of the EVIL Trio, picks up the same nine rankings he lost in Year Five (when he had zero appearances). He's always welcome.
#23 - Francis Doyle. Y5: 20. Y4: 15. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Doyle falls three ranks (three, really?) and out of the top twenty.
#22 - Lilah Morgan. Y5: 31. Y4: 31. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lilah climbs nine positions. She has some really great moments this season - and really seems to come into her own with Wesley at Season's end. But the promise of the previous season, that she would be IN CHARGE doesn't materialize as she gets a new boss.
#21 - Principal Snyder. Y5: 18. Y4: 12. Y3: 9. Y2: 10. Y1: 12. Snyder falls three ranks, dropping out of the Top 20.
#20 - Faith. Y5: 17. Y4: 13. Y3: 10. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Faith loses three rankings and doesn't appear all season. Though she holds on to the Top 20.
#19 - Drusilla. Y5: 16. Y4: 16. Y3: 11. Y2: 8. Dru doesn't appear this season and falls three rankings her own self.
#18 - Darla. Y5: 19. Y4: 28. Y3: 23. Y2: 23. Y1: 11. Darla jumps up only one ranking for her half-season on Angel. She has one of the best death scenes EVER. EVER.
#17 - Lorne, the Host. Y5: 24. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Lorne becomes a de facto Angel regular and jumps up seven rankings to enter the Top 20.
#16 - Winifred "Fred" Burkle. Y5: 50. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Fred leaps up 34 positions to reach the Top 20. Being a new regular gives you a boost, huh?
#15 - Riley Finn. Y5: 12. Y4: 11. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Riley makes his last appearance (as a married man no less) but still falls three rankings.
#14 - Joyce Summers. Y5: 11. Y4: 9. Y3: 8. Y2: 7. Y1: 7. Joyce appears in Buffy's Madhouse Vision, but misses out on the rest of the season, falling three slots.
THIS IS WHERE I LEFT OFF, DUDE.
#13 - Tara Maclay. Y5: 15. Y4: 20. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Tara moves up two rankings, but she'll probably peek at unlucky #13. I can't belive that I haven't seen Amber Benson in a hundred things since Buffy. She is so missed.
#12 - Daniel "Oz" Osbourne. Y5: 9. Y4: 7. Y3: 7. Y2: 12. Y1: NR. Well, Oz falls three rankings, dropping out of the Top Ten. Two years of non-appearance'll do that to ya.
#11 - Dawn Summers. Y5: 14. Y4: NR. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Dawn, on the other hand, moves up three rankings, trading places with mom Joyce.
#10 - Charles Gunn. Y5: 13. Y4: 37. Y3: NR. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Gunn climbs 3 ranks to crack the Top 10.
#9 - Anya Kristina Emanuella Jenkins. Y5: 10. Y4: 14. Y3: 22. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Anya continues her steady climb. Only one ranking this year, but within the Top 10, that's still impressive.
#8 - Wesley Wyndam-Price. Y5: 8. Y4: 10. Y3: 15. Y2: NR. Y1: NR. Wesley stalls at a still impressive #8, as he begins his turn toward the darker Wesley.
#7 - Spike. Y5: 7. Y4: 8. Y3: 12. Y2: 9. Y1: NR. And Spike likewise stalls, maintaining at #7. And there's a HUGE gap between him and #6.
#6 - Willow Rosenberg. Y5: 6. Y4: 6. Y3: 4. Y2: 4. Y1: 4. Willow stays at #6. Again, her being this far below Xander absolutely demonstrates that the system is flawed, particularly when this was Willow's turn to be the Big Bad. It just doesn't make sense.
#5 - Rupert Giles. Y5: 3. Y4: 3. Y3: 2. Y2: 2. Y1: 2. Giles falls two rankings, but manages to just barely hold onto the Top 5, despite missing much of the season. Willow's hot on his trail though, which seems right.
#4 - Cordelia Chase. Y5: 5. Y4: 4. Y3: 5. Y2: 5. Y1: 5. Cordelia moves back up one ranking into the #4 slot by passing Giles.
#3 - Angel. Y5: 4. Y4: 5. Y3: 6. Y2: 6. Y1: 6. Angel moves up one ranking also by passing Giles. Is Xander next?
#2 - Xander Harris. Y5: 2. Y4: 2. Y3: 3. Y2: 3. Y1: 3. Xander maintains his #2 ranking for now. Since he just saved the world from Dark Willow, maybe he's earned it.
#1 - Buffy Anne Summers. Y5: 1. Y4: 1. Y3: 1. Y2: 1. Y1: 1. Duh.