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February 20 2010

The top 10 Whedon heroes. Quite an interesting list with some characters you might not expect to see. The writers are also looking for help in choosing the best Whedon villains. So go and make your voice heard.

ARGH! I would have loved the Wesley description if not for the "locked his girlfriend in a closet" snafu. Did I forget someone other than Justine in a closet, 'cause I never got the impression they were involved.
azzers, though I've only watched Angel through once, I believe I recall that Wesley spent much of the first (few?) episode(s) of season four with Lilah locked up in his closet, or out on his boat while he searched for where Connor had dumped Daddy.

Edited to add that this is a demonstration of why one looks things up before posting.

[ edited by Mercenary on 2010-02-20 10:41 ]
That wasn't Lilah Mercenary. That was Justine.

And, so I'd be the first one to say it here. Where's Buffy?
Didn't really like the Heroes list. A lot characters like Angel,Giles,Illyria,Wes don't deserve to be on it imo. This list seemed more about who they liked most then actual heroics. Buffy needs to be on the top of that list.
Yea it was justine not lilah. But they got their point across anyway i think. Wes became a badass by the end!
My top Whedon heroes list would be in no particular order:

Buffy
Xander
Spike
Gunn
Fred
Cordelia
Topher
River
Wash
Mal
Honestly after thinking about it there are so many good heroes that it would be hard to narrow down to 10. Still, I really liked the list they had and I think Wesley was a good choice for number one. I want to see what they have for the villians. Even though he didn't have many votes, I am totally rooting for Skip to make it on there somehow. Lol.
Of all the heroes in the 'verse, Buffy is missing? Definitely didn't see Wesley coming out on top and I dare say I don't quite agree with the author's choices. Would like to have seen Doyle,Xander and Cordy featured on the list.
Oh, right. Yeah, Justine makes a lot more sense, since she'd actually know something about Holtz. My bad.
Mine would be (in descending order) Angel, Wes, Mal, Buffy, Gunn, River, Giles, Xander, Doyle, and Echo. Spike's too anti-hero-y to go on my list (and I liked him better in season two anyway), and I'm not sure about Echo. As for villains, Angelus, Alpha, Drusilla, Dr. Horrible, and Lindsey.
I agree with Vergil, this seems more of a "my favourite characters" list than any measure of heroism. Sure Wash is sweet and funny, but that doesn't equal heroic.
I'm kinda Firefly slanted, but I like Eddy's list there, in pretty much that order (descending). Most importantly, Mal #1, followed very closely by Wash. But I would replace Gunn with Dr. Horrible. Captain Hammer's the villain, Taaroko.

Wash is definitely heroic. Just because he isn't the best at hand-to-hand combat doesn't mean he's not a hero. But I might agree that this list is more "my favorite characters who are heroes". A "my favorite character" list would certainly include villains.
I thought that it was a pretty good list. I think that they were going for more non-stereotypical heroes. They listed people that overcame their natural selves to do amazing things. Illyria was originally a selfish god-king that, in the end, fought on the side of good. Anya was a vengeance demon, Angel was a vampire, etc. They were heroes because they fought their nature to do what was right. I do feel that a hero list should include Buffy, but I think their point was to pick people who overcame something. (But I was pretty much satisfied because Wes is my favorite and I think he deserved #1). It did suck though that they got the facts wrong on the show. Wes was in no way dating Justine.
While I agree they made a mistake w/ that whole Justine is his gf thing, the point was he went to a dark place. And while I don't agree w/ everyone they listed(Illyria, but no Fred, wtf?), I agree with Wes' placement. Wes went from zero to hero, no doubt.
What, no Sid the Dummy?
I think its an interesting list, very happy to see Spike make the cut. Bit odd to see Andrew as runner-up but no Buffy. Think my list would be similar to Eddy's, maybe with Anya thrown in for good measure.
This will mark my first post after years of lurking (finally logged on at a time new registrations were being taken!)

I'll give my top 5 heroes in the whedonverse:

1) Buffy - not afraid to sacrifice herself for the greater good. She had a much better arc then she's sometimes given credit for.

2) Xander - The consumate unsung hero.

3) Giles - until they character assasinated him in season 7. Sigh...

4) Angel - He really does help the helpless (and often works with the hapless).

5) Mal - Heroic in the classic rogue sense. His honor makes him heroic.

p.s. I like the articles choice of Wes who made the tough choices (which makes him a tragic hero). Though the stuff with Lilah is hard to reconcile.
p.s.s. I'm happy to be here as a member of the whedonesque community :)
They listed people that overcame their natural selves to do amazing things. Illyria was originally a selfish god-king that, in the end, fought on the side of good. Anya was a vengeance demon, Angel was a vampire, etc. They were heroes because they fought their nature to do what was right. I do feel that a hero list should include Buffy, but I think their point was to pick people who overcame something


Except Spike is the only one that really overcame his nature.
Anya fought the final fight as a human which was very heroic, she ran when she had her powers but not when she was human. Angel didn't overcome his nature, he's done very disturbing deeds even with a soul. Illyria joining the final fight was very simlear to souless Spike fighting on Buffy's side in season2, their reasons weren't heroic and they didn't do it because of it being the right thing to do.
Wes while he did evolve a lot as a character, he didn't go from being evil to being a white hat. Early Wes was an inexperienced idiot but his heart was in the right place, i would even go so far as saying that early season Wesley on Angel was more heroic then last seasons Wesley were almost everything he does is about Fred. Out of the Angel cast i would say Fred(and Cordy) was the most heroic, during and after her stay on pylea, where most people would have been broken and never be able to overcome it, she did. And she continued fighting, even knowing the risks now.

Out of the Buffy cast the most heroic imo would be Buffy,Spike and Xander. All for different reasons.

Dollhouse,Firefly i can't really say because those shows are less black and white and are more grey.
Where's Serenity?
Was going to post but Vergil ^ already said what I wanted to say pretty well perfectly.
I'm in the same position as Vergil, I've loved this site for ages but have only just been able to register.

I agree with pretty much everyone here - Buffy should have definitely been included in the list. My list would go (in descending order): 1. Buffy, 2.Mal, 3.Xander, 4.Spike, 5.Angel, 6.River, 7.Wash, 8.Giles, 9.Topher,10. Willow.
Yes i do think buffy should be on a list like this. but shes on all the lists. I like that this one is different, and the reasoning for each character really justifies their spots. maybe this should be more of a greatest transformations list or something. But i like seeing people think outside the box.
I was surprised not to see Buffy on the list but I also remember Anya remarking that Buffy wasn't better than the others, just luckier (in having her slayer powers). So perhaps one way of looking at it is to see who went into battle against the odds and without powers; what springs to my mind is Giles and Oz (and Larry) attempting to save the town from vampires in The Wish when it all looks pretty bleak in the absence of Buffy.

Another way would be to see who acted when they had most to lose and Buffy's decisions at the end of seasons 2 and 5 underline why her absence from the list doesn't seem right.

However, if the list isn't restricted to television, I would also put forward the unnamed slayer from The Chain.
Oh wow. Or Fray!
I never quite get that they always say Spike fought to get his soul back. I was under the impression he wanted his chip out, might have to re-watch that episode...I would definitely have at least one Slayer on that list, probably Buffy (maybe Faith).
And what about Faith? She went to the deep end, but willingly gave herself up to the police and came back to fight for good. I think she's deserve to be called a hero.
My favourite all time characters in every WHEDONverse:

Buffy: Spike

Angel: Wesley

Firefly: River

Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog: Captain Hammer

Dollhouse: Topher

Most Whedon fans love absolutely every character, like I do, but I think EVERYONE has one character that speaks best to them. These are mine. :)
I'm shocked that Buffy didn't make that list, but was very happy to see Wes show up at Number 1. He was definitely my pick before I opened the article. Most fulfilling character arc of anyone in the Whedonverse
My list would most definitely include Buffy, Xander, Cordy, and Topher. Angel would be higher on my list and Wesley would not be on it at all. I was surprised to see Giles, although I do love and admire him as a character, I don't see him as any more heroic than a lot of others. My list would probably be (in no particular order): Angel, Buffy (even though I do get the Anya argument), Mal, Topher, Cordy, Xander, Spike, Anya, Paul Ballard (a little one-note, but the series was short lived), and Victor/Tony.
I'm annoyed that Buffy isn't on the list, she for me is the ultimate Whedon hero, but i'm giddy about River <3
Buffy has to be on the list. The 7 seasons are her journey to become THE hero she is now. I can't believe she isn't !
Angel should have been higher, at least before Anya.
I'm ok with Wes and Illyria on the first places.
I like most of the list, especially with Wes at the top. But I don't get why Illyria's so high on this list. Badass? Yes. But a hero?

And it's hardly fair to exclude Buffy, even though she's an obvious choice- but I suppose most of the characters on this list are either unexpected heroes with humble beginnings, or overcame some huge obstacles and chose to be good. By those criteria, a person could probably make a list of literally a hundred arguably heroic Whedonverse characters.
Where's Buffy? And I think at least one Dollhouse character should have made the cut.
Yay Wes! Wes is my favorite and that bit about the most amazing character arc is something I've been saying for years.

I'd have liked to see Doyle on the list (I mean really. when we first meet him he's a bit...degenerate. but loveably so. and then he grows to the point where he kills himself to save the people he once turned is back on? total hero.)

lostinthis: there have been, if I am not misrembering, a number of interviews with the ME staff where they indicate that they always intended Spike to be fighting for his soul, but they wanted the misdirect of it seeming to be for the removal of his chip to heighten the shock value
Okay, kinda late replying, but Captain Hammer is the antagonist, not the villain, EddieBuck. Billy/Dr. Horrible may be the protagonist, but however satirized the whole thing is and despite how sympathetic Billy is, he's a supervillain aspirant for most of the blog and then a realized supervillain by the end. So, yeah, the villain. He just happens to be the one we're rooting for. He's not one of my favorite villains for the same reasons as Angelus, Alpha, Dru, and Lindsey, though.

Edit: Ack! I forgot about the Operative!

[ edited by Taaroko on 2010-02-20 15:06 ]
So yeah the Anya argument is valid...but Buffy died twice!! TWICE!! she could have walked away the first time and indeed she almost did...but she knew her fate and met it head on! She could have sacrificed Dawn instead...but again she gave herself in that place...and she sacrificed Angel...I'm sure there could have been an alternative...but she gave him up(like she said in Selfless)! Xander, on account of his part in Becoming Part 2 is less heroic...kinda selfish and just out to prove something so he's not really missed imo! Spike just isn't heroic...like Angel said in Destiny...he just did it to get in some girl's pants...and I'm still not sure he really intended on getting the soul initially! Jayne? Yeah...no..that's kinda wrong! Ehm and Wes and Illyria? Again i can't see them as heroic...but using heroism as a means to an end...Illyria needs to have a subordinate(her enemy) and to fulfill the I AM GOD issue and Wes as someone said above only became a decent fighter as a result of women in his life...both Fred and Madison!
My list would read:
1. Buffy
2. Angel
3. Doyle
4. Fred
5. Giles
6. Echo
7. Topher
8. Willow
9. Adelle
10. Faith

Sorry no space for Firefly when compared to these characters!

[ edited by BlueSkies on 2010-02-20 15:04 ]
Blueskies - the fact that you would choose Dollhouse characters over firefly characters is beyond me....And Angel's opinion of Spike is kinda biased and cant be trusted, (and Spike def. was trying to get his soul back, not the chip removed). Buffy and Angel are an Easy 1 -2 punch and i see what you say about jayne and doyle. But still. Dollhouse over Firefly????
I would definitely have Buffy on this list. I would assume that they left her off the list because she seems like an "obvious" choice, but really. They're including Andrew and not her? Seems kind of silly to me.

My list would include (out of order):

- Buffy
- Wes
- Xander
- Cordy
- Giles
- Topher
- Angel
- Willow
- Spike
- Adelle
Im amazed at the lack of Faith here, if your talking transformation, she went from being a Villian to a Hero. thats a character arc
I feel like im defending a list i dont even really agree with totally myself, but faith was an execution problem for me. Liked her on angel and in the comics, but Eliza's acting in buffy drove me up the wall. The character was written well, and the arc is great, but the casting took away the impact, for me at least.
illyria is probably my favorite character in all of the whedonverse.
Lordboreal, yeah...I would definitely put Dollhouse characters over Firefly characters not because the show was better(not saying it was worse...it was different) but because they changed alot!! I mean i would have put Zoe on there...but you know...Adelle made a better hero in the end...she wasn't a soldier or some kind of mercenary...she was a scientist and an HBIC...but she became more than that in the final episodes of s2...she became a leader and as Echo put it...a shepard for the rest of the population! And Spike never denied what Angel said...I mean when he went to get his soul/chip removed he knew Buffy hated him for trying to rape her...so Angel's comment confirmed my own theory on him...his sacrifice at the end didn't change the character for me...he died, he didn't have to suffer his soul and he would be hailed a hero...maybe go some place better than he deserves as he thought in Angel s5...again...selfish!
Sorry for the long posts!!!
What? No Buzz Lightyear? Malcolm Reynolds is the best hero Joss has ever written. Those who don't count the Firefly characters for whatever reason are leaving out Whedon's greatest creations. The story may have been short - but it was extremely powerful.
And River who ends up fighting that fight that helps expose the truth about the Reavers and the Alliance. I love so much about Joss Whedon, but aside from some actors doing a good job with what they had, there is not a whole lot redeemable about dollhouse.
The list is pretty accurate for me except that Buffy should have be on it as well. Overcame a ton of stuff.

As for Faith, I was a fan of the character but not really of the actress. She overdid it sometimes.

[ edited by 13 on 2010-02-20 15:46 ]
this maybe not allowed for asking this in a this discussion but have any of you named your children after a Whedon character?
my cat is named darla. she has one eye
I was meaning to add that my sons name was going to be Xander but my family is vocal about not liking things. So I named him Ethan. And Im sorry that my grammar/spelling/punctuation/ sucks today. Ethan is currently being a pain in my butt.
I'm going to have to join in here with those questioning the lack of Buffy on this list. Even if Buffy isn't a favorite character of everyone, I can't see how she's left completely off that list. She would be #1 on mine!
Another mistake in the article on Spike, it really cheapens his sacrifice saying that almost everybody has done it and he came back from it. Yeah, but Spike didn't know that he was coming back from it. And only Doyle,Buffy and Spike have done it, hardly consist of everyone.

On Fray, i agree with others, she's one of my favorite slayers equal to Buffy. They are so much a like yet still so different. Fray has always had a uphill struggle, where as others would have folded, she triumphed. I really hope we get more Fray comics in the future, perhaps after season9,10 ends because i think Fray is one of those characters that only Joss can get right and he might be a little too busy now. An animated Fray movie would also be cool tough.


I never quite get that they always say Spike fought to get his soul back. I was under the impression he wanted his chip out, might have to re-watch that episode...


As some have already pointed out, yes Spike's plan all a long was to get his soul. They were several clues to this on the show and ofcourse Joss and the writers confirmed that this was his goal, he says it very funny like on the commentary that this is a "plot-twist" and he's the first to have done it(jokingly).

And Spike never denied what Angel said...I mean when he went to get his soul/chip removed he knew Buffy hated him for trying to rape her...so Angel's comment confirmed my own theory on him...his sacrifice at the end didn't change the character for me...he died, he didn't have to suffer his soul and he would be hailed a hero...maybe go some place better than he deserves as he thought in Angel s5...again...selfish!


Wow, so Spike trying to force Buffy to kill him twice in season7 was what exactly, play acting? Spike came to terms with what he had done because Buffy was right. He couldn't change his past, he could only live in the moment and do the right thing now. In the destiny fight both Spike and Angel were petty and taking cheapshots at eachother, both were wrong. Spike was wrong about Angel being corrupt and Angel knew very little to nothing about Spike and Buffy's relationship.
I like this list, because it's people (not necessarily humans) who earned the word hero. It's not something that came easily, or was part of their nature. They're heroes in spite of themselves.

Buffy had the superpowers, yes, but she also had a loving mother, and a father (in her formative years, anyway.)

Then again, I'm a sucker for the bad guy who gets redeemed. Love Crais on Farscape too.

As to the naming question - the kids named my new granddaughter Kayleigh - the spelling is different, but the pronunciation is the same - and yes, my son is a Browncoat.
Poor Andrew. Always on the sidelines, never getting to actually be the hero.
Did Spike actually know that the amulet was going to kill him until it went all Pillar of Destructive Light? Because I was under the distinct impression that he just thought it would give him a power boost but that it was volatile enough for him to not want Buffy to wear it herself, just in case. Heroic sacrifice, therefore, that was not. And as to getting his soul, he had no idea what he was really getting into (as revealed by crazy newly ensouled Spike). It was a rash decision borne of rage and despair, as well the shadow of guilt and remorse. He knew Buffy couldn't love him as he was, but he was too angry in his soul-questing for it to come across to me as anything but a petulant "I'll show her!" move, particularly as he pretty much said that himself.
Mine, in No particular order would be
-Buffy
-Spike
-Cordelia
-Angel
-Wesley
-Mal
-River
-Topher
-Anya
-Xander/Giles( maybe Willow now that I think about it)
I wish I could have included Willow, but IMO, when you actually think about it, she's not really all the heroic. I think she was most heroic in the earlier seasons when she re-ensouled Angel, and decided to stay in Sunnydale to help fight the good fight. It seemed like her heroism kind of went downhill after that. Still love her to pieces though, definitely in my Top 10 characters. Hmm, this list really makes me realize how many heroic, or arguably heroic, characters there are in Joss's works.
Did Spike actually know that the amulet was going to kill him until it went all Pillar of Destructive Light? Because I was under the distinct impression that he just thought it would give him a power boost but that it was volatile enough for him to not want Buffy to wear it herself, just in case. Heroic sacrifice, therefore, that was not.


Both Buffy and Spike knew it was volatile. And Buffy pleading with him to leave with her because he had done enough and Spike in turn choosing to stay and close the hellmouth does make this a heroic sacrifice. Leaving with Buffy would be a dream come true for Spike, yet he chose to finish it.


And as to getting his soul, he had no idea what he was really getting into (as revealed by crazy newly ensouled Spike). It was a rash decision borne of rage and despair, as well the shadow of guilt and remorse. He knew Buffy couldn't love him as he was, but he was too angry in his soul-questing for it to come across to me as anything but a petulant "I'll show her!" move, particularly as he pretty much said that himself.


We don't know wether he was prepared for what it means to get one's soul back but i would imagen him having thought a lot about it the whole journey there. Which would have given him more then enough time to cool down and reconsider. Him being crazy in the basement has more to do with The First playing him.
What he did with his soul is what made him a hero,champion, not the aquiring of it. Which did make him the most unique souless vampire. You said it yourself, guilt and remorse, both things vampires should not feel.
I think the list seems to be steering primarily toward reformed heroes, who usually have the more heroic story arcs but aren't the more heroic overall. When you take someone like Buffy, who never had any moral doubts, it's easy to overlook how much of a hero she is because we didn't have to have it proven to us the way it was with Spike or Anya or Andrew. So some people (not me, because Buffy's my favorite character) might argue that that makes her less compelling, because her values don't change substantially over the course of the show. But it's really more a reflection of her arc. She's saved the world so many more times than any reformed ex-villian, and her motives are more pure - instead of saving the world to repent for things she'd done, like Spike and Angel, she just did it because she knew it was what she had to do and that's it.

When you take people who used to be villains and compare their actions as heros to what they used to do, they seem more heroic because of how much they've changed. But I wouldn't say it makes them any more heroic. Better people than they were before, sure. But in my book the biggest hero is the one who's never wavered and saves the world just because it's the right thing to do.

That's my two cents. And this is my third Whedonesque post ever, so please excuse any over-eager rambling.
All those arguments about whether Spike intended to get his soul; whether he thought it through or was simply angry/spiteful/lustful etc. I guess we should just ignore the dialogue Joss wrote for Beneath You (in fact, re-wrote this scene specifically):

Buffy: "Why? Why would you do that?"
Spike: "Buffy, shame on you. Why does a man do what he mustn't? For her. To be hers. To be the kind of man who would nevó (He pauses, almost crying.) To be a kind of man. And she shall look on him with forgiveness... and everybody will forgive and love. (Spike goes to the cross at the front of the church.) He will be loved. (He drapes himself over the cross. His skin begins to burn.) So everybody's okay, right? (Buffy is crying.) C-can we rest now? Buffy? Can we rest?"


And the final heroic burning up in the cave and insisting Buffy leave without him - yeah... he just wants into her pants!
I'm sorry, but this list is crap without Buffy on it. Period.
My version of a whedonesque heroes list would probably look very different from this one, but kudos to the author for daring to choose just ten and backing those choices with some well-reasoned explanations.

Put me in the Topher camp as per DH.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-02-20 17:45 ]
pathsunbeaten, you perfectly summed up my thoughts about this too. That's why I think Buffy is the most heroic over all the other characters.
Buffy definetly needs to be on this list. A whedonverse heroes list without buffy on it is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly...or the bread actually.
Yea, I think I'm with the people that think this list is for those heroes that well, weren't all that heroic from the get-go. Though I do still think Buffy should have been on this list somewhere, though number 1? I don't think so. Not for this specific list.
And as for Spike? I say just take him off entirely! The reasonings for all his actions were a little hazy to me, and honestly I never really forgave him for Season 2 and never saw him more than just a villain.(Which -- is what list he should be on!) As for hero, nu-uh. Pants of Buffy? Equals yes, that's where he wanted to be in my opinion.
I would much rather see Doyle on this cause well, he was a true hero!(Heck, the episode was called Hero when he died...and I don't think they were meaning that just for Angel!)
So yea, I think this list was for redeemed and true heroes that are harder to recognize if you look at their histories are just their lack of heroics.
And a big shout out for putting Wash up there; 'bout time he was recognized for being a hero that was just fine being one under the shadow of those that played the part better! Yay for Wash!
Woah...major differences on how Spike was viewed...and I get the whole quote Joss and the writers on what they say...but at the same time I choose to go with my feelings on it and not the intentions of the writer...that's the point...lead people to their own conclusions...and my...we've had quite a few conclusions...so...no one will ever be happy with any list that isn't their own...
btw...Wolffspridex and Taaroko, totally agree!!
1. a man (or woman) of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

3. The principal male/female character in a story, play, film, etc. (I don't necessarily agree with the principal part, because ... Doyle, Exhibit 1).

Most of us know that Whedon heroes are very often off-kilter from the strict definition above, flawed, dark, self-serving, but still people who put others before themselves. That's why Topher would never make any list I drew up. He fixed a horrific mistake but not a hero. Illyria? The infection that killed Fred? Fascinating character but I'd never call her a hero. Xander, the steadfast friend who saved Willow and stopped her from destroying the world? Absolutely. And there are minor characters in the Whedonverse who are heroes, like Anne who ran the homeless shelter on Angel, someone who really made a difference. So if anything, that list posted made me think a bit.
That's not the sort of list I'd like to make, just because every character has a quibble. And the fact that no one would agree with how I'd list them. First, I'd probably not have Spike on it at all. He's a hero in his own way, but there are too many others for him to make the Top 10.

Xander would have to be on the list. Mal would be higher, as would Giles. Illyria? Not on the list. Wes is definitely up there. Still, the list is difficult because all of Joss's heros are compromised in one way or another. So it becomes less an argument over whose actions were more heroic, and more an argument over whose flaws were smallest. In which case Fred would have to be pretty high, since she was among the least flawed and most pure of Joss's heroes, though her heroic streak was narrower than the others.

Still, an interesting list.

Edit: And I don't mind that Buffy's not on it. I mean, hello, obvious #1. So I kinda see the list as the ten top heroes *after* Buffy.

[ edited by ern on 2010-02-20 18:40 ]
Buffy will always be number one for me. I do think it takes rewatching the series to truly appreciate her, but once it hits you, she's incomparable.
In my opinion, a list of heroes that includes Andrew and Illyria but not Buffy and Xander is just silly.
Wow. How could they have left out Simon? and put JAYNE on the list? Also, I never really saw River as a "hero", per se...she was kind of scared, and being rescued for most of the series and film, and never freely made any great sacrifices. At the end she stands up, but that was literally at the very end.
And as for Spike? I say just take him off entirely! The reasonings for all his actions were a little hazy to me, and honestly I never really forgave him for Season 2 and never saw him more than just a villain.(Which -- is what list he should be on!)

So you leave Angel off as well, right? If they're evil when soulless it doesn't matter what else they do. If that's your logic, go with it.

For me I never saw anything hazy about fighting for a soul. The only demon ever to actually fight for a soul -- it's one of the most heroic stories going.

The list the guy gave is silly. Illyria is interesting, but not a hero. And obviously Buffy should top the list.
And no I'd definitely leave Angel on because to me, Angelus and Angel are two different things entirely. Angelus is the evil, soulless vamp that has no problems with torturing and killing, while Angel is the more human half that's fighting for redemption and helps the helpless. He's a hero and always has been.
Same face but the personality differs too much to see them as the same thing anymore.

Spike just...doesn't compare. You really can't in my opinion. He gets a soul and really doesn't do much else with it except make one "heroic" act, but that's just how I see it.
I understand that it was established after the fact that Spike fought for his soul, but I was wondering if anyone could provide clues from before the trials. I remember him explaining to the soul granting cave demon that it was "this bloody chip in my head" and angrily stating that he needed to get back to the way he was (presumably getting back to being a warrior, based on the dialogue) so he could give "that bitch" what she deserved. I must have completely missed any clues that he was fighting for his soul.
Ah xWolffspridex, that tired old 'two beings' for Angel(us) but only one (evil with a captial E) for Spike trope. I always found that so amusing because it actually undermines the value of the "good" Angel since it assumes 'he' never has to conquer his baser instincts to do good - just has to ensure someone 'chains him up'. Unlike Spike who had to constantly fight those baser instincts (even before the soul) to help subvert an apocalypse or two and save/comfort more than one damsel in distress. Who knows, maybe in the right light, Angel can even sparkle!

shotgun, I assume the whole business about Joss and company throwing us off the scent was intended to mislead us all about Spike's intentions. I take their 'after the fact' explanations and dialogue as canon.
I'm not sure it's possible for me to disagree more with that list, whether it's a list of heroes or a list of favorite characters. Maybe I would have put Fred there, but Illyria? And not including Buffy (despite her occasional forays into selfish bitchiness, she still consistently put her friends' welfare above her own) is just ridiculous. This list should have been titled "Names We Picked Out Of A Hat."
We "knew her death would be a lasting one" with Anya? This has become ridiculous. With the exception of Darla in BtVS S-1, every Whedonverse death that was ever reversed was obviously phony from the get-go, one that viewers knew wouldn't last. The vast majority have been exactly as permanent as everybody seems to think they aren't.
Well I'm not sure that's what I meant. I only meant it in the basic argument of not having Angel on the list. I agree of course, as I must, with the inner fight Angel goes with because he can't just get rid of the fact that's who he was and can become again. And Heck, I love Angelus, so don't get me wrong. And one reason I do is maybe just because I love watching Angel fight with him, or really himself because in a way it shows you can't run away from your "past", but you can fight to make things better within yourself, which in effect, will help others. So don't get me wrong, though I'm sure my phrasing didn't help, that I know Angelus isn't someone entirely different, I just was taking a note to the fact Angel's on the list over the name usually put to his eviler-side, Angelus.
And Oh God, don't get me started with that Twilight crap.

And I know my argument isn't bullet-proof, but just know I'm not so dim-witted in as to thinking that "Ooh look, Angel -- pure innocene!" And "Ohno! Run, for it be Angelus!" and not see them being for what they are -- one individual, though one comes up over the other more often than not, they don't tend to mix too much, just feed off the actions.
Sorry for the misunderstanding and horrible phrasing...I should have probably worded that better, but I was too quick in to trying to make my point against Spike being on the list, because well, I don't like him. Sorry again.
I understand that it was established after the fact that Spike fought for his soul, but I was wondering if anyone could provide clues from before the trials. I remember him explaining to the soul granting cave demon that it was "this bloody chip in my head" and angrily stating that he needed to get back to the way he was (presumably getting back to being a warrior, based on the dialogue) so he could give "that bitch" what she deserved. I must have completely missed any clues that he was fighting for his soul.


It was nothing but a classic misdirect, which yeah a lot of people seem to not get.
And how does getting out the chip equal the bitch getting what she deserves? The thing is, it would make no sense getting rid of the chip to fight Buffy, he already had the ability to hurt Buffy(chip didn't work on her).
Neither Spike nor the Demon ever say anything about getting the chip out. The chip is only mentioned in regards to Spike seeing that as the moment everything went wrong for him a few years back. And the demon ridiculing Spike for getting castrated.
Some people just assumed that they knew what was going to happen, obviously they did not. They mention the chip and restoration, but it's the people that connected these two.


DEMON: Something about a woman. The slayer.
SPIKE: (nods, barely concealed anger) Thinks she's better than me. Ever since I got this bleeding chip in my head, things ain't been right. Everything's gone to hell.
DEMON: And you want to return to your former self.
SPIKE: Yeah.

Close on the green glowing eyes as the demon laughs evilly.

SPIKE: What?
DEMON: Look what she's reduced you to.
SPIKE: It's this bloody chip-
DEMON: You were a legendary dark warrior, and you let yourself be castrated. (Spike looking angry) And you have the audacity to crawl in here and demand restoration?
SPIKE: I'm still a warrior.


Spike:I'll take anything you can throw at me, if it'll get me what I need to take care of the Slayer. Give her what's coming to her.


SPIKE: So you'll give me what I want. Make me what I was. So Buffy can get what she deserves.

Thank you all for your comments! And Whedonesque for helping us gather info on our villains section. Just wanted to say we love Buffy herself and she deserves to be on the list. We just think the others do to for their own reasons, and everything both positive and negative about all these characters are valid, and why we love Joss so much. For giving us so many great, yet flawed heroic, humans, vamps, and demons. After all of this We realize that a more appropriate list will include buffy, so we are going to be updating the titles calling this list Editors Top 10 Favorite Heroes, and after polling all of you (and hopefully more) we will have a Top 10 list, that reflects the whole whedon community more democratically, up next week. So go Vote! and hopefully on the next go round we will get it "right." I just want to say its all entertainment, and subjective, and this list is who we really do think deserve their time in the spotlight, and they are ALL heoroes in our book.....including buffy. Here is the link for compiling the new and improved list:

http://newicue.com/2010/02/the-search-for-the-greatest-whedon-heroes-continues/


Thanks all!
-Your team at Newicue.com
Okay but on the argument that it's the chip he wants gone then we can assume that he was going to kill her loved ones...like Angelus did to Dru...so being able to beat her(and lose) with or without the chip is not an issue...it's the fact that he can also kill Dawn when it's gone and he has an invite into the house to do so...well that's what I was thinking when I watched it...and please don't be so condescending to those of us who follow that train of thought...it's not particularly nice...
"some people just assumed that they knew what was going to happen, obviously they did not." was kinda harsh...
BlueSkies Joss has stated many times that Spike was seeking a soul, and not to have the chip removed. It's also backed up later in text as some have reposted above.

Blame Joss's writing If you didn't get the gag. *g*
My thoughts are that all heros in the whedonverse are flawed, they are heros in spit of them. Buffy has to be considered on any Hero list, imo # one. I think it is their flaws that make their heroic acts so meaningful. I like both characters of Angel and Spike for entirely different reasons and for each of them they have their own inner demons to fight. My hero list would be this.

Buffy
Angel
Mal
Spike
Giles
Wes
Doyle
Xander, not that I really like his character all the time, but he was the only Scooby not to have any "super powers" and he still would fight the fight.
River
and Willow

I would never place Andrew on any hero list, that just doesn't make any sense to me at all.
eh firstly relax on the separate opinion hate...I'm not an idiot...i do understand that that's how Joss wanted it read...my previous post was in relation to qualifying a line of thought that excluded the commentary...it was an initial reaction to the scene as it played...and you know I don't find the textual sources to be as concrete as you believe them to be...and apparently many others don't either...it's not a who got it and who didn't issue...it's a matter of personal interpretation!
Thank you Newicue for clearing that up and welcome!


Okay but on the argument that it's the chip he wants gone then we can assume that he was going to kill her loved ones...like Angelus did to Dru...so being able to beat her(and lose) with or without the chip is not an issue...it's the fact that he can also kill Dawn when it's gone and he has an invite into the house to do so...well that's what I was thinking when I watched it...and please don't be so condescending to those of us who follow that train of thought...it's not particularly nice...
"some people just assumed that they knew what was going to happen, obviously they did not." was kinda harsh...


Again you are assuming. Spike isn't Angelus, he did his evil his own way. He went after slayers head-on, he didn't go after Nikki Wood's Robin which i'm sure Angelus would have done.
Even before the chip he never went after the scoobies with intent unless they got in his way or he wanted something from them. But never did he go after them to hurt Buffy as Angelus tried to do.

And i wasn't being condescending or harsh. It's one thing to have an opinion and not agree, it's another thing entirly to ignore/deny factual evidence from both the show and it's creators. Like how you and some others have stated to simply not liking Spike, that's fine. I also don't like Angel but that doesn't mean that i should disregard/ignore his actions.
Perhaps if we could all focus our attention back on the list. As we seem to be tiptoeing down the path of "he said she said". And I don't particularly want to warn people unless I really have to.
Sorry simon...just saw your post ahead of mine...eh...wanna delete it on my behalf then?
My top ten:
1. Wes (they totally got that right!)
2. Doyle (Great heroes tale, up to and including his sacrifice)
3. Willow
4. Sierra/Priya
5. Anya
6. Tied for #6: Victor and Victor imprinted as Topher. (Enver might be the most talented actor in the entire verse!)
7. Faith
8. Spike
9. Buffy
10. Mal
LOL! What about Buffy? Buffy is THE hero.
I love Wes in first place on that list! His character arc is pretty much my most favorite one ever.

[ edited by refrigeratorelf on 2010-02-20 22:19 ]
So am I the only person who read the list, and more important the reason the author gave for why Buffy wasn't on the list? They explain it pretty clearly. It wasn't an oversight. Buffy was left off the list intentionally....

As to the list itself I like Wesley at the number one position, but can't fathom why Jayne made the list. I love the character, but his actions have seldom, if ever, been heroic. More like enlightened self interest.

Xander totally should have been near the top, if only because he was the only character on Buffy that didn't have a magical origin and fought the good fight without the aid of mysticism or superpowers.

I can't agree with any Dollhouse characters making the list. They all suffer from the "Gilligan" effect, where they might have done something heroic in the end, but were instrumental in causing the problem in the first place....
Wes made the number #1 spoil how about that l wonder lf Spike or Angelus made the villains' list as well
My top 10 heroes in no particular order:

Quentin Travers
Kennedy
Connor
Dawn
Captain Hammer
Gregor (General of the Knights of Byzantium)
Jasmine
Riley
The Shadow Men who made the First Slayer
Alpha

Yup. Those are the ones. And I'm totally, completely, in no way whatsoever joking about this. Except in the way that I am.
Personally, I always thought Joss should have spun off Kennedy as her own television series. Yes, she was THAT interesting.
Okay, kinda late replying, but Captain Hammer is the antagonist, not the villain, EddieBuck. Billy/Dr. Horrible may be the protagonist but however satirized the whole thing is and despite how sympathetic Billy is, he's a supervillain aspirant for most of the blog and then a realized supervillain by the end.

Yes. Dr. Horrible was a great protagonist, but he was not a hero.
"Personally, I always thought Joss should have spun off Kennedy as her own television series. Yes, she was THAT interesting."

Exactly! Finally someone who shares the vision!! She could have been the manager of a deli by day, but a slayer by night. With an all muppet cast of wacky demons working in the kitchen, this could have been the sitcom breakout hit of the 90's....

Or not.

But I never really understood the hatred of her as a character. She was intrusive and beligerent, but she seemed at least as developed as other characters and made a good match for Willow post Tara. I actually kind of liked her....
But I never really understood the hatred of her as a character. She was intrusive and beligerent, but she seemed at least as developed as other characters and made a good match for Willow post Tara. I actually kind of liked her....


For me, the dislike of Kennedy is based mostly on the fact that the actress simply didn't have any chemistry with Alyson Hannigan. I never believed their relationship. Of course, Kennedy was also annoyingly pushy, but she was being specifically written as "anti-Tara", so if the actress was someone I really enjoyed in a "pushy" sort of role (like Eliza Dushku's Faith) I could have accepted her. But I simply didn't like watching Kennedy, and the chemistry just wasn't there with Alyson.
Full disclosure: I actually liked Kennedy well enough. I just didn't understand why she and Willow got matched up. (See: Anti-Tara)
Haven't read any comments here yet; just wanted to say that this is one of the better lists of this kind I've seen. I liked the author's notes about each character, especially Wesley's.

But no Buffy yet Andrew was runner-up? So wrong. Also, the slight B/R bashing didn't impress me.
"Full disclosure: I actually liked Kennedy well enough. I just didn't understand why she and Willow got matched up. (See: Anti-Tara)"

That actually made sense to me. In the Willow/Tara relationship I always saw Willow as the more dominant. Not in a bad way, but she did seem to be more of the driving force in the relationship.

During season 7 Willow seemed more passive. Hooking up with a strong personality like Kennedy would let her not be the one in charge. She could in essence "take it easy".

Plus, if she had looked for and ultimately shacked up with Tara 2.0, she and we as the audience would have spent all of our time comparing her and the original. By choosing an anti-Tara, she was putting her past behind her and moving forward.
B/R? I didn't realize i was bashing anything in particular except Edward from Twilight.
No offense meant-it just annoys me when people just can't seem to write something as good as that list was without bashing either B/A, B/R or B/S to some degree, even if it's a small degree. :)

I voted on the villians thing-LOTS of great choices. I added a write-in: Wolfram & Hart.
HAHAHA yea it was kind of a low blow. It is meant as a joke more than anything else. Where i am not a B/R fan i do know a couple of people who are and it was a jab at those few more than anything else.
No need to be sorry. I was admitting that my comment was a low blow, not yours. You are correct. PAX indeed.
Long time lurker, first time poster. I have the agree with the majority that not having Buffy on this list was a huge mistake. I especially disagree with the argument that "River is a replacement Buffy and is better." Now I absolutely love River, but is she a hero? I tend to think of heroes as people who take on the impossible, knowing the odds are stacked against them b/c it must be done or because it's the right thing to do. River was/is insane (the questions is never truly settled - we know her mental capacity has improved but I still think she's a few cards short of a full deck) she probably couldn't fully grasp the situation and what was going on. It was Mal and Simon who protected her, guided her, and made the decision to see things through the end. And while we're at it - Jayne a hero? Pfffft.

My List:
1. Wes - for everything the list said was true.

2. Buffy - not just b/c she was chosen but b/c she time and time again chose the hero mantle herself.

3. Mal - it's difficult to put a Firefly character mixed in with the BtVS/Ats universe considering they fought in an arena that had much higher stakes (literally saving the world) but I think most would agree Mal would do absolutely anything for the right cause.

4. Doyle

5. Angel

6. Cordy

7. Giles

8. Gunn/Anne - for helping the downtrodden. Granted Gunn traded "up" for the bigger battle arena but both their motivations for fighting are heartwarming.

9. Simon - For his love for his sister, he would sacrifice anything...

10. Faith/Spike - Their stories of redemption are awesome, but I don't think we saw enough to put them on the same bar with Angel and Buffy since we never really know or saw what choices they would make if they were truly alone.

11. Fred/Willow - for choosing the fight the good fight when they had the talent and means to do anything and everything else.

Where's Xander? Mostly b/c I could never forgive Xander for all the pain and suffering he caused those around him (Buffy, Will, Cordy, Anya). I think in all the critical choosing moments, Xander ultimately chose himself. I never bought that whole "I'm so sage" act from S5 and on, especially after what happened to Anya. Yes, thank Xander for fighting the good fight but I can't shake the knowledge that at his core he is still a selfish jerk.
"Yes, thank Xander for fighting the good fight but I can't shake the knowledge that at his core he is still a selfish jerk."

It's been awhile since I broke out the dvds, but I don't remember this at all... Without sounding confrontational, could you elaborate?
Xander definitely went through a woe is me thing after high school. He screwed Anya over at the alter (although he thought he was protecting her). His insecurities just got the best of him for so long. Then he saved the world with Willow and became yoda. The one who sees the truth and all that bullshit. i missed the fun, secure Xander of The Zeppo. I feel like Xander regresses for so long. Basically it felt like his role was all over the board until the comics. He also defined himself by his relationships with women a little too much.

I have similar problems with Spike. Although not entirely the same. After Spike returns in the 3rd season because he was so well liked all the way until he got his soul back, i felt his role was really all over the board and unfocused as well. I love Spike and he does some amazing things, but his most solid stuff is in S2 of Buffy and S5 of Angel. I still think he is one of the greats, i just think that at times he was on the show based purely because of the charm of Marsters. Its like they didnt know where they were going to go with him until mid way through the 6th season of Buffy.

Its tough because these are two of my favorite characters that own some of my favorite moments, i just wish that they had been more solid from beginning to end.
"He screwed Anya over at the alter (although he thought he was protecting her)."

That's the popular theory anyway... Most of my friends look at it as though he's a cad for leaving her at the alter. And I'm not saying that's the best way for the situation to have been handled. But bear in mind the traumatic experience he had just endured, which btw was a result of Anya's actions as a demon. He left her because he feared what could happen and didn't want that future to come true. And even if you don't buy that his intentions were less than selfish, is it peoples belief that if he had doubts about marrying her he should have just sucked it up and married her anyway? That doesn't sound like a recipe for bliss!

People tend to forget that both Anya and Xander expressed doubts about the marraige, and after he walked away Anya immediately went into demon mode. No talking, no trying to work things out. Clearly he wasn't ready for the wedding and to force it would have likely led to a delayed disaster. But his walking away seems less selfish than Anya decideding that since she'd been hurt, she would go ahead and hurt others....
Was Spike heroic for seeking a soul, or was he just insane and suicidal by vampire standards ? 'Cause soul = no more vampire-demon in control of Spike, what we got instead in Season 7 was either William restored (with all of Spike's memories and experiences, and keeping the same bravado as he'd had as evil-Spike, probably for reasons of being pretty weak and pathetic, in his mind, in his former human life. And I guess that's just how re-souled vampires re-integrate, especially since the only two examples we got existed way longer as soul-free vamps than they did as humans). Or someone/something else entirely (always seemed a little fuzzy on how that worked. With Angel/Angelus, they were pretty much portrayed as two separate personalities--which makes the most sense to me, since your personality would be different with and without a conscience. But with other vamps, varying throughout the two Buffyverse shows, sometimes the personality of the human greatly informed the vampire version. Harmony, for instance).
I think Spike's a hero for being a vampire and wanting a soul, and Angel's a hero for being a vampire and wanting to keep his soul.

But one of the joys of Joss' shows is most of the main characters are both heroic and not at different times.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2010-02-21 05:01 ]
Jayne?

Really?

Jayne?
And I don't think Angel's a hero at all.

Craig Oxbrow-Well, there was that one town that thought he was quite the hero.

Welcome to all the first-time posters. :)
Jayne! The man they call Jayne!
The HERO of Canton
Post Deleted.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-21 06:38 ]
Azzers, spoiler warning?
And I'd like to add d'oh.

Actually, if a mod could kill these three comments I'd appreciate it.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-21 06:49 ]
Valid point re:Angel's apartness from others, azzers.
Nice to see Wes on there.
But there is no reason for Buffy not being there.
No worries azzers--no harm done to me anyway.
Re-reading the list it seems to me they have focused more on heroic character moments rather than traditional heroic actions. Anya's speech wasn't heroic, emotionally brave maybe, but not heroic. I could also argue the fact about her "quest for redemption", which I never noticed. She wanted to repent her actions in Selfless, but she never sought redemption.

And I've always disagreed about the whole "Buffy isn't special, just lucky" argument. As other's have mentioned Buffy chose to fight even without her power's in Helpless and most of the greatest Buffy moments had nothing to do with her superpowers. Everything leading up to those moments yes, but she didn't need super-strength to run Angel through with a sword or leap to her death.
Buffy is certainly a hero, but I don't know that she chooses to be heroic. She spends a lot of time initially trying to get out of being the Slayer, and there is never a moment where she turns her back on the choice of a truly normal life, because that choice is never there. Arguably the closest she comes is "Normal Again," and there it's not so clear that she's choosing the Sunnydale we know over the asylum one, but rather that she *believes* in the Sunnydale one once she has the antidote. This doesn't make her unheroic, but having Slayer powers and not using them would fairly quickly lead to the end of human life in town, resulting in her non-Slayer time being far less "normal" than it is already.
Buffy's heroic because she has the choice of a normal life (the choice is there in 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' IMO) but chooses instead to save the world. A lot.

She's also heroic because, conversely, she doesn't just accept that it's either/or, she wants to embrace what she is AND lead as normal a life as possible. It's that urge that leads her to make and keep friends and it's her friends that bring her back from the dead, twice (and it's arguably the greater Slaying experience that comes from dying and living to tell the tale that makes Buffy the best there ever was - mighty oaks from little acorns and all that).

But I get their reasons for not including her and also for maybe striving to produce a list that's not necessarily populated by all the usual suspects. And if I maybe wouldn't have Wes as number 1, he'd certainly be up there, mainly because he's not a hero born but maybe more than any other Buffyverse character, a hero made (by his own blood, sweat and tears).

(and welcome to all the new arrivals ;)
No Buffy? No Faith?

*is confused*
Did they miss the part where Andrew murdered his best friend? I'm just saying.
The term "heroes" only applies in that they're the good guys, not that they are the best at being heroes. It's really a list of the best characters on the good guys' side. If it were a true heroes list it wouldn't have Illyria or Anya, nor probably Wash, Jayne or even Mal, but you'd more likely find Buffy, Echo, Fred, Willow and Xander on there.
No Buffy? Jayne, Ilyria and Anya ahead of Spike? Not my kind of list. My list:

> Buffy. No matter that she fought her destiny at first and messed up a lot, she always came through, in the end.

> Spike. It's the journey, the choice and the uniqueness. When Angel didn't have a soul, he was incapable of love. Spike loved first Dru and then Buffy, before even having a soul, as well as having protective feelings for Dawn. And at the beginning of season 6, before Buffy was brought back from the dead, he was still there protecting Dawn. So much for the argument that he did nothing good or heroic except to impress Buffy, because as far as he knew, she was dead. All of which, along with his pursuit of his soul, makes him unique amongst Vampires.

> Wes. Everyone on Angel was compromised in the end IMO, because of the decision to go with Wolfram and Hart. But Wesley is such a great character and suffered so much with so little to show for it, yet always persevered.

> River. In spite of the horrible things that were done to her, she never stopped struggling to retain her sanity and her identity and in the end, she rose above it all and saved everyone (in Serenity).
(Anyone noticing a theme here?)

> Angel. The sulky, broody persona irritates the hell out of me, but even though he didn't pursue his soul, as Spike did, he tried to do the right thing, once her had it. But he's still nowhere near the top of my list, because of his selfish decision to accept the ultimate deal with the devil.

> Mal. The ultimate damaged cynic with a heart anti-hero.

> Topher. From the initial egotistical, arrogant unawareness to the first tinges of a conscious to the dawning of a sense of horrified responsibility for what he'd done, to his ultimate sacrifice, all in twenty-six episodes. I can only imagine how his journey would have unfolded, if Dollhouse had been given two or three more seasons.
(Interesting how many of the 'write in' votes are for Topher.)

> Echo. She created herself from sheer strength and force of will, and one of her first impulses was to help others. She constantly fought for her 'work in progress' identity and ultimately, fought for everyone.

Makes me so sad all over again that we lost Dollhouse and that we're again without a Joss created show on TV.

*Welcome to all the newbies*. We are mighty. (Just ask Olivia Williams). ;)
Thought a definition might be in order: From Websters (slightly altered for more inclusive language)

A person of exceptional quality who wins admiration by noble deeds, esp. deeds of courage

The lead character of a play, novel etc about whom the action turns and in whose fate the readers or audience a sympathetically involved

(Greek myth) A person of superhuman powers, regarded as a demigod after their death
@mbeauparland: Xander cheated on Cordy using Willow, who had always loved him. And he was always a monumental, judgmental jerk to Buffy regarding her relationships. Let us not forget his "kick his ass" comment. Some people are willing to overlook these moments since Xander is otherwise likable. I am not.

@Newicue: I feel the same way about Spike, but I still felt his journey was incredibly heroic and therefore deserved mention.
Saje, once Giles starts talking to Buffy and she sees how vamp- and otherwise monster-infested Sunnydale is, she can either be proactive or wait for monsters to show up on her doorstep and threaten her and Mom, because that's bound to happen. Even when Buffy flees to L.A. at the end of season two, she finds a Hell with an entrance (it's sort of a Hellmouth, if you will) and of course we know from "Angel" how monster-infested L.A. is. Not to mention that her L.A. existence is not "normal" for her -- she's not even acknowledging her real identity, and Slayer stuff finds her anyway. She bears up under it all fairly well, but all that griping she does throughout the series about being a Slayer is because she *doesn't* have a choice about it, or rather, the choices are rise to the occasion or pretend you're not a Slayer and let the world end (which will kill you, too). Apart from insanity (and she tries that one a few times), there is no way she can flee to a world without monsters where she would be allowed to walk away from the fight.
A world with monsters that she does absolutely nothing about already exists in a distant, semi-mythical place known as Cleveland ;). I.e. if the world survives the Hellmouth in Cleveland which, as far as we know, is left entirely unattended by the good guys (at least in the mainline Buffyverse) then it's possible the world would survive an unattended Sunnydale Hellmouth too. And even if not, she has the choice to abdicate her personal responsibility the same as any of us do on the more mundane level of things like carbon footprints or contributions to those in greater need than ourselves. In other words she could have chosen otherwise, could've left home, run away etc. And that makes her decision to fight the good fight (initially reluctant though it may be) just that - a choice.

And the Slayer stuff doesn't just find her in 'Anne' BTW, she finds it because again, damaged and emotionally battered as she is, she makes the choice to not just walk away from people in need.

Also, I don't think a person "tries" insanity. It happens to you, it's not a choice or an attempted escape, it's a situation outwith your control.

Mileage varies though, as always ;).
@Shey. Don't be too sad about Dollhouse. I am betting that Joss comes back at us strong soon. I just hope we can see all those great actors on new shows soon too.
Saje, sorry, didn't mean to be as glib as that came off about mental illness. Obviously, nobody chooses mental illness. Buffy did not intentionally go catatonic or invent the asylum universe. It does seem, though, that Buffy never gives up a *viable* non-monster-filled existence for Slayerdom. She was really miserable as Anne. Granted, a lot of that misery was due to what she was carrying around rather than *just* being bored as a waitress and new in town, but nothing was reaching her. I guess it's a choice, but it's a choice between active life, with Slaying, and active suckage, not active life with Slaying and something Buffy actively wanted. And we only know that no *Slayers* are in pre-"Chosen" Cleveland. There may be something else -- superpowered ducks perhaps? -- keeping the lid on things in that city :)
I agree with the notion that Buffy herself is sorely missing, so are Willow and so are the Dollhouse characters and Faith.

Spike of course belongs in there, his story is one of overcoming predetermined evil. As the redemption stories of the show go, it's the most interesting one, because it messed with the basic premise of the show that vampires have to be evil.

Also that you need to be good to be heroic. Spike often steps up for the ones he cares about before the soul. He's not the shiny white knight kind of hero but that makes him all the more interesting.

I miss a lot of others though, what about Cordelia? Sure she merrits a mention before Andrew?
There may be something else -- superpowered ducks perhaps? -- keeping the lid on things in that city :)

You have to watch out for those guys, they're all quackers. Ahem.

Yeah, I can see where you're coming from re: choices Shapenew, the "normal life" choice wasn't great either (or that normal). The way I see it though, Buffy didn't know that when she made the decision i.e. it didn't seem to me like she'd tried every other option, found them unworkable and then came reluctantly back to Slaying, dragging her metaphorical heels while at the same time kicking and screaming (it takes coordination but it can be done ;) because she had no other choice. If she'd tried e.g. running away or whatever and vamps (or the Watchers' Council) had found her and kept pressing and pestering then i'd buy the idea that she knew it was inevitable, as it is, to me she could have done otherwise and she didn't.

(and i'm mainly talking about early on BTW, by 'Anne' we see that being the Slayer is a fundamental part of who Buffy is and she's much happier in herself when she stops denying that)
I asked Joss once for a live interview he did on Geek Radio (? - if anyone remembers the name I'd appreciate because I lost the link when my last computer died) if Buffy would ever find lasting love and happiness --edit Aha! I found it. I actually asked if she would find lasting personal happiness and was that even a possibility for her end edit-- (the rest of my question was not used which gave more context and chagrined me to death, though Joss gave a very good answer: "Because of all the pain she'd had to go through"). But while she finds love and happiness here and there, I'm cognizant of the fact just as Saje points out, that she is ever a servant of her calling. That maybe it just isn't in the cards for her, which is heroic in and of itself. Sublimation (even though I haven't kept up with S8) of personal life is Buffy's stock in trade.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2010-02-21 22:56 ]
"Everyone's a hero in their own way..." Everybody sing!
"Do you know what the definition of a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed."
Personally, I think this should have been the criteria for making this list. :P
Fitting, yes?
I love that Joss's main heroes are all fallible (did i spell that right?. Mals at the top of my list, but heís not always a good guy. Buffy currently, is really lost and Iím not convinced she is a good guy right now. Angel and Spike... can you be a HERO with their credentials? Wesley??? Seriously Wesley, BABY STEALLER! OZ gave up everything to keep others safe from himself and Xander with no powers what so ever has always put himself on the line. So my top two are OZ and Xander. and side note Zoe's comment, see above, for the definition of a hero, I've always disagred with. A hero is selfles in the pursuit of protecting others.

[ edited by treenie on 2010-02-22 02:04 ]
Um, why is Buffy not on the list? Talk about failing to include the hero of the 'verse.

I noticed above a reference to Anya's line that Buffy wasn't better than others, but luckier because she had superpowers. Buffy having superpowers doesn't make her a hero. Superpowers just as easily led Faith down the villain's path. What makes Buffy a superhero is Buffy--her ingenuity, her faith in others, the fact that she wants more than anything to not fight but she keeps picking up her weapon because loved ones and all of humanity needs her. What makes her a hero is that she stands back up after every time that she's struck down, again and again, she rises up.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-02-22 03:32 ]
I just can't take a list of heroes seriously that doesn't have Buffy at #1. And to include Andrew (PUHLEASE!) and not Faith is criminal.

I think Angel is a hero, so glad to see him represented. Spike became a hero after getting his soul so I also have no problem with him being there, though I don't think it was the act of getting the soul that made him heroic since that wasn't about him overcoming his nature as much as it was an act of desperation. But what he did with it, that was heroic (Chosen).

Don't get Illyria being there, but I like her character well enough. Also don't agree with Anya being there but since most of the list is so lopsided to me, I guess it's a moot point.
Jayne, a hero?

"This must be what going mad feels like."
treenie-Wesley was a hero. Not one born but one who was made by circumstances. When he took Connor, he thought he was doing the right thing and with good cause. Angel was acting both happy and bizarre, a bad combination in anyone's book.
Well,I would put Buffy at #1.I actually would put Xander and Fred(not Illyria)in the top five myself because they fight alongside Buffy & Angel and are regular humans with no special training or powers.That seems very heroic to me.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-02-22 05:20 ]
Agree with everything you say about Buff, Emmie. Indeed, that line of Anya's (a character whom I loved) was not only untrue, as you explain, but cruelly ironic (deliberately so, I suppose, on the writer's part) in that, for much of the series, B felt the opposite: that she was *unlucky* - to the point of it being an affliction - for having been picked to be the Chosen One. Even so, she would pick herself up, go out, and do the whole hero thing again and again and again, even when all she wanted was to do the same things everyone else got to do. I dislike "Empty Places" for a number of reasons, but that line is usually the final straw for me, making me either throw something at the screen or turn it off . . .. Hey, it's good to feel passionately about a TV show, right? :-)
I grew to dislike Xander in the later seasons, mostly for the hypocrisy of browbeating Buffy for her relationship choices while merrily dating an ex-vengeance demon who killed thousands.
But as far as being a hero, I always remember him in season one. No power, no skills, no experience, but he dove into it anyway. That's a hero.
It's a list of unlikely heroes, really. People who have quieter heroic arcs that often get overlooked because they aren't center stage doing the obviously heroic stuff. That's why it's not Buffy or Mal or Angel. Or so I sort of inferred.

Anya's remark was pretty awful and untrue in the context in which she said it-- Buffy's powers are anything but a blessing to her personally. But there is something to be said for the kind of courage it takes to follow her into fights against demons and gods and pure evil itself without any superpowers to defend yourself. Which the other Scoobies have done as routine at this point. I think it's underappreciated that Dawn fought Bringers just with quick thinking and sheer nerve, for example.
This list lacked Topher. I could deal with the lack of Buffy. She's such an obvious choice in my opinion. If I made a list, I'd leave her off because it's not really fair to all the other Whedon heroes!

And Alpha is currently in second place on the villain poll. I thought that was kind of cool. (But he's ahead of the Mayor! How could that happen?)
Perhaps underappreciated in the sense of attention not consistently drawn to it, but not completely unnoticed as was shown in Potential. Dawn is very courageous.

I still wish the list had been more honest with it's rubric of what qualifies for Top Ten. As you say, Sunfire, it appears to be more like Top Ten unlikely heroes. Frankly, some of the inclusions are the sort who only qualify as heroes for the span of a few episodes.

That's why it's not Buffy or Mal or Angel. Or so I sort of inferred.

Did you mean that's why Mal or Angel aren't in the top spots? Because both Mal and Angel are on the list at the third and fourth spots respectively. The only other major league hero missing from the list is Buffy (the only lead hero not included and arguably the biggest hero of the bunch). It feels like talking about comic book heroes and pretending like Superman isn't out there.

I still find it odd that Andrew gets honorable mention for being heroic over Buffy, too. And no mention of Cordelia or Willow. I'm sorry to say this, but where'd all my beloved powerful women characters go from the Buffyverse? Anya has her moments but there are a number of others who I'd put in front of her not only by their actions by also by their moral judgment.

I know. It's just a list. Sad to say it's a list I don't really get--it seems to me it should read "Our Top Ten Favorite Whedonverse Heroes" rather than "Top Ten Heroes". It's impossible to be purely objective, but c'mon--a list that excludes Buffy isn't even trying to be objective on the matter.
The irony is that Buffy and Angel often get overlooked for their heroics because people just expect that of them, but when they do something wrong they get judged more harshly than anyone else. Angel does good 90% of the time but a handful of shitty decisions have pretty much defined his character in the eyes of some, and Buffy can be placed on such a high pedestal that when she messes up people come down on her like a tonne of bricks.

I think itís also true that characters that stayed on a virtuous path for the entirety of the series are often ignored in favour for characters that started out horrible and redeemed themselves. Those characters deserve credit but itís pretty unfortunate that people who have more or less stayed on a good path the entire time arenít as celebrated when they really, really should be. I think Buffy falls into this category as does Xander, but S8 seems to exploring some darkness in our girl so I donít know how long thatíll last.

The list is a bit bizarre as I would never not include Buffy and I wouldnít have Andrew as a runner up, nor put Anya or especially Illyria on the list. I do think Anya ended up being quite heroic and I loved how her story came full circle but surely characters like Buffy, Xander or Cordelia deserve a spot before her. And whilst I find Wesley a fascinating character I would never, never put him first. Angel and Spike make the cut but if they qualify than of course so should Faith, whoís arguably been less shady than both of them since reforming. Overall Iím not too happy with the list and donít agree with many of the choices. Angel, Spike, Mal and Giles are the only choices I agree with and some I really dont -- I mean, Jane? Seriously?

[ edited by vampmogs on 2010-02-22 16:02 ]
And Vamps....word to everything you just said!!! Couldn't have put it better myself.
Yeah I don't get Jayne's heroism...he was a mercenary...he's paid for putting himself out there...he kinda seemed to enjoy it...and Illyria was the same minus the money...it just enjoyed fighting...and had no other option other than to side with Team Angel...and i do kinda wish Andrew died in Chosen...not anya...then we wouldn't have the dawn xander issue in the comics...it's still weird....
Ahh...where's Buffy? She should be #1 on that list!

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