Yes, another Buffy one! As anyone who has watched Buffy knows, there is generally one Big Bad per season, sometimes two. But there are lots and lots of ‘little’ bad guys too. Now, while I am sure there are quite a few very cool villains out there (Joss Whedon has a tendency to make those), here is my list of my top ten favourite baddies from Buffy (along with their first appearance on the show), all the way to my number one! And obviously, possible spoiler alert!
NUMBER TEN – THE GORCH BROTHERS (BAD EGGS)
Lyle and Tector Gorch, brothers and mass-murderers even before they were vampires. I thought these guys were hilarious, especially their exchange in the sewers while waiting for night. Brotherly love sticks past death – even if that happens more than once! So redneck, so run-of-the-mill evil rather than ‘destroy the world with big plans’ evil…but so memorable, and sometimes even likeable.
NUMBER NINE – DRACULA (BUFFY VS DRACULA)
I think if you’re doing a show focusing heavily on vampires, and there isn’t at least one Dracula reference, you’re doing it wrong. Joss Whedon addressed this with his usual wit and creativity, and I think it worked very well considering what was needed from this episode. Dracula was pretty much a smug little brat, as one would be after a century of hearing their name almost everywhere. I think another reason I love this villain is the opportunity it gave Xander to shine (Xander-heavy episodes are often the funniest), and because this is a very talented actor. Firstly, because this character could have come off as completely ridiculous, but somehow it didn’t. Also because the only other role I know I have seen him play is as a Middle Eastern terrorist in NCIS, and he managed to pull that off convincingly as well. So that definitely contributes.
NUMBER EIGHT – THE GENTLEMEN (HUSH)
My goodness were these guys creepy! Not being able to scream, not being able to hear them coming….and those grins! Eesh! If what you want from your TV villains is a chilling creepiness and an episode of hilarious misunderstandings, these guys rock. I believe this episode was the only one of the series to be nominated for an Emmy, and was actually up for two – Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single Camera Series. It definitely deserved it! These villains are one of the handful from the series that have a definite actual creep factor (see also, Der Kinderstod (Killed by Death) and The First Evil (Conversations with Dead People).
NUMBER SEVEN – ZACHARY KRALIK (HELPLESS)
Brought in by the Council as a test for Buffy on her 18th birthday, this insane serial killer vampire had a sense of humour and a problem with mothers. I think this is another one where my love of the actor also impacts upon my love of the character…but who doesn’t remember crazy Kralik and the ingenious way Buffy used to kill him? This episode also cemented her more father-daughter like relationship with Giles, rather than the impersonal Watcher-Slayer one the Council expected.
NUMBER SIX – THE TRIO (FLOODED)
The first Big Bad on my list, the Trio is a, well trio, of immature boys who decide they want to be supervillains in season six. They are funny (sometimes unwittingly so), and I really don’t believe Andrew and Jonathon are actually really evil…just misguided, lonely and occasionally angry at their lot in life – which is essentially just being nerds. Warren, on the other hand, pretty much deserved what he got. Warren and Jonathon both featured in earlier episodes, but the only link they have to Andrew is his brother Tucker was the bad guy in the episode The Prom.
NUMBER FIVE – CALEB (DIRTY GIRLS)
Played by the ever-amazing Nathan Fillion (another villain with an actor I love), and technically one of the Big Bads of season seven (the other being his boss, the First Evil), this character was terrifyingly realistic – a man with severe psychological issues doing what the evil voice in his head tells him, essentially. The only difference is that in Buffy, the evil voice is real. Although other baddies have appeared to have bested the Slayer in earlier episodes, Caleb does it multiple times, as well as also beating Faith and Spike, seriously injuring Xander (NOOOO) and killing multiple potential Slayers. VERY scary.
NUMBER FOUR – ANGELUS (INNOCENCE)
While he is evil and sadistic, he has a sense of humour that is to be admired. Angelus is cruelly creative, and as one of the Big Bads of season two, definitely makes an impact. I remember after watching the season two finale for the first time, I was distraught for weeks. While Angelus is an excellent cautionary tale about having sex in high school (‘he just wasn’t the same after that’), he is also one hell of a villain.
NUMBER THREE – ETHAN RAYNE (HALLOWEEN)
Ethan Rayne is a self-serving, smug little sorcerer who wreaks havoc wherever he goes and tends to err on the side of extremely cowardly. He is, however, rather creative, and uses his ingenuity and powers for evil every chance that he gets. He’s the rapscallion you love to hate, although rapscallion does seem rather tame for some of the shenanigans he gets up to. Actually, shenanigans seems rather tame too. He does a lot of damage to many innocent people, and yet people go, “oh that scallywag”. Obviously, he pulls it off with boyish charm.
NUMBER TWO – MAYOR RICHARD WILKINS III (HOMECOMING)
“What? There must be some mistake,” cry the people who haven’t seen the series, “that man obviously couldn’t hurt a fly, let alone be a notable villain!” Firstly, stop reading you fool! If you haven’t seen the series, you shouldn’t read a post with spoilers in it! Secondly, oh he is definitely a villain. Although, if you take away the need to become a giant demon and devour a whole town (look, I told you to stop reading, not my fault if that’s a spoiler for you), he is really a nice guy. Conscientious mayor, family man…but, then there’s that pesky evil villain thing. The Big Bad of season three, Mayor Wilkins giggles his way into our hearts along with his dislike of germs and swearing, and his assertion that “there’s nothing uncool about healthy teeth and bones!”
NUMBER ONE – SPIKE (SCHOOL HARD)
Come on, who doesn’t love Spike? He is a big softie in some ways, but starts out as one of the leanest, meanest bad guys around as one of the Big Bads of season two. I love his relationship with Buffy’s mum as it grows over time, it’s an incredibly human side to an otherwise larger than life character. James Marsters did an excellent job with this role. I can’t think of anyone who did not, at some point, absolutely love him. In the Vampires Special Edition issue of SFX (Special Edition 39), Spike was voted by readers as the number one greatest screen vampire of all time.
In case Buffy fans were wondering, other appearances on that list were: Angel/Angelus at number 3, Drusilla at number 10, Darla at number 25, Harmony at 31 (what?!), Vamp Willow at 32 (how did Harmony beat her??), and the Master at 39 (she beat the Master?).
Runners up on my list here were Adam (The I in Team), the Master (Welcome to the Hellmouth) and Faith (Faith Hope and Trick).
What about you? Who are your favourite villains from Buffy, and why?