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February 24 2010

The top ten Whedon villains. There's the writers' choices and then those villains as chosen by you.

Dark Willow as #1? Really?
Why no Angel villains?
Didn't see Lindsey on there, did you?

Edit: Or Holtz?

[ edited by Taaroko on 2010-02-24 23:57 ]
Jesus, evidently not. I was blinded by dismay at not being able to see any of these villains again? Sure, that's plausible.
Um, wow, that list is horrid. Where are the Dollhouse characters? Alpha is amazing!

And YoSafBridge rather than Jubal Early? Madness.

And no way Dark Willow belongs any where on that list, much less number one.
Thanks for linking this, Simon!

I love this list, both the poll results and the editor's choices. My favorite part was (of course) this:

Funny how the two characters that have these types of rivalries with Angel are also the hottest men ever.

I miss Lilah on that list and jubal Early
And i also don't think dark willow or Alpha should be there

[ edited by samtree18 on 2010-02-25 00:12 ]
I guess it depends how you define villain. At least Alpha racked up a more impressive body count than Willow, and he's just so very devious, and dapper.
I have to say, overall I like the writer's list better than the voter's one. Although I'd put both Glory and Holtz higher. Holtz especially. He's by far the best villain ever to feature on Angel.
I would've given a runner-up to Niska, Boyd, or Harding. And what about the First?
He's by far the best villain ever to feature on Angel.

I agree. What made him the best villain was his absolute belief that he was good.
Holtz is a fantastic character. His S3 arc on Angel was my absolute favorite. <3
Jon From Newicue here. He's mine too. If it were just me He would be #4 where the Operative is. Unfortunately some others here don't show him enough respect. But i fought hard to keep him on the list. Although i also fought hard to keep Spike off, so you can all be mad at me for that one :P
Angelus would be my number one, and Alpha a very close second. Harmony wouldn't even rank in my book. I really would want to rank Boyd somewhere in there for, well, just being so damned sneaky and conniving. Niska should definitely be there somewhere, for his impish glee while torturing and maiming Mal and Wash (plus countless others)... though I have a hard time deciding who else to bump. If body count were a mitigating factor, that would probably thin the herd a bit. Or maybe not.
No Spike? Really?

No Lilah? Really?
I miss the three most influential villains on Buffy:

Faith: She was not only a superb psycho but she showed clearly which way a Slayer could easily go.

and following this philosophy:

The Demon who is the source of the Slayer-power: Seriously, can anyone imagine something that brought Buffy more pain than the fact that she is the Slayer? Without the power she would have grown up as a normal girl. She would probably also have been killed since living in Sunnydale is not a healthy thing to do but she would have never suffered to have the faith of the world on her shoulders ... again and again.

And last but not least:

Buffy: This girl tries so hard to do right all the time and almost always she screws up big time. She has to fight her emotions, her decisions, her regrets ... summed up: She fights herself all the time. So she herself is one of her biggest enemies.

Yes, that's all a litte philosophic but hey, this is the Whedonverse so i suppose you guys can easily follow that thoughts.
The mayor was just everything a person could ask for in a villain. Of all the characters whose primary function was villainy (many of those on the list did not function, primarily, as villains), he was the most fully realized character. And the combination of the commonplace/banal, his fatherly affection for Faith and his over-the-top giant snake evilness was wonderful. I think he may be my favorite fictional villain of all time.
I always thought top villian should be a two way split between Caleb and Glory. They were hands down the best "big-bads" ever and both were (to use a Buffy phrase) 'screaming loonies'!
I know, I know this is major villans here, but I have to big up Mr Trick. I loved his style.

Other than that no-one has mentioned Adam - odd that. :-)
I don't get the whole Alpha or Dollhouse thing. Don't we want villains from the better shows at the top. And Don't we all want Joss working on something a little better. Not that is all sucked, but lets be honest, not his best work. So how is a villain from that show #2 over some characters that impacted his better work more?
The Mayor and Angelus would be a big ole tie at the top for me. They're just both too awesome.
Mr. Trick did have style.
I'm still stuck at Harmony -- ???
I definitely agreed more with the fan dastardly...and mean!! The Mayor would also be one of the tops...."two words...miniature. golf." Oh how he comforting and chilling all at once...nothing is worse than miniature golf!!! And Alpha was awesome...blowing up Echo's former lover and cutting everyone up and tricking Ballard to get back inside,,,and the clothes...the guy was really a great choice for #2; the psychological games and the threat that he presented...former killer turned highly intelligent sociopathic serial killer...awesome!!!
But where's Faith?!! And seriously...Harmony? it's like jayne all over again!
I think Glory should be higher. She and The Mayor are my two favourite Buffy villians. But to echo Viewingfigures, I'm surprised to see a lack of mention for the Master.
Greatest Whedon villian : The Reavers. Terrorized the 'Verse for decades and freakin' killed Wash.
Okay, food for thought; Surely the best villians are the ones who hide it so well. These villians do a brilliant reveal as people who firmly believe in their cause and will do Anything to anyone to achieve their goals. So I have to change to Boyd Langton - Dollhouse and the redeemed Company man assassin in Serenity.
Man, they chose the ones I didn't think were good enough.
We are talking VILLAINS! Saffron was a THIEF, not that evil, just annoying. Glory, Harmony, Lindsey, and the operative were not my top choices for hard-to-the-core villains. True they are BAD but there's better . Gentlemen = INSANELY EVIL! so very glad they made it. Dark Willow = KILLER EVIL! Good choice there. I do like the Mayor so I am glad he made an appearance. Alpha does deserve a spot if we are talking Villains, plus Dollhouse deserves some action.
Um, wrong on Warren:
"But letís not forget cheating on his first girlfriend with a robot"
the robot came first.
Glory scared me most. Lot of her scenes were properly chilling.
Poor Dollhouse. It's like it just doesn't exist. I definitely would have had Alpha on this list. I thought he took the show to a whole new(and much better)level. Not to mention Alan played him brilliantly.
Harmony? One of the best villains? I don't think so.
I would have liked to see the reavers at least. I had nightmares about them after seeing Serenity for the first time.
I think I'm one of the few people who saw Topher and Adelle as two of the best villians in the Whedonverse. When you really think about it,

Topher was so self-centered and arrogant that he created the tech that ended the world.
Adelle was so obsessively controlling over the dollhouse that she handed over the dangerous tech to Rossum in the first place.

So yeah, even though they both completely reformed themselves at the end, They were the worst(best) kind of villians really. They were the kind with so much built up lonliness that they deluded themselves into thinking they were helping.
I actually completely agree with the top three. I don't think that's ever happened.
Glad my despicable nnear-look-alike (near!) mde #9.

And I love Harmony (& no, we aren't related) vicious as a human, amusingly inept and kinda sympathetic as Spike's girlfriend, (of course as a human we only saw her as an adversary, not in private moments) and downright adorable as Angel's secretary.

The MAyor is sort of like dark Willow in a way. I think he made several dark deals before he became evil; thsoe were what turned him. I think he started somewhere as a downright good man, but fears and/or appetites corrupted him.

But glad soemone I hate was #1.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2010-02-25 02:49 ]

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2010-02-25 02:49 ]
I have some serious issues with Harmony being on the list. Don't quite agree with most of it, though I do agree with The Gentlemen, Angelus, Glory and The Mayor. I never saw Warren as a super-evil-genius-villain, not in the league of most of those others. I was heartbroken at Tara's death, but he never succeeded in his actual evil plan (or any of them that I recall), so it's hard for me to see him as a top 10 villain. Not that, I suppose, a villain must succeed to be truly villainous, but I felt he mostly showed himself to be inept. I'm probably not making much sense at this point, so that's enough of that...

Aside from Angelus, my favorite villain, The First, didn't make either list, so that's rather disappointing. I did like the inclusion of Alpha on the fan list. A little Dollhouse love and, well, he was REALLY evil.
I definitely think Harmony should be off that list.
I feel Angelus should be ahead of Dark Willow.

Actually, the voter's section pretty much sums up my feelings.
See, we're gearing up to do our March Madness tournament and this poll/list has confused things even more. Last year we did "Favorite Character of the 'verse"...then we did Episodes. This time around, we batted around the idea of flipping it and doing villians, but I think the angel is let's find out the "most hated" character in the 'verse.

I guess it depends on how you define villains, but this list seems to be more based on a bad-ass villain that you like, rather than dislike. Did that make sense?
I liked this list a lot better than their last one.
I'm glad the voters brought in Drusilla. I mean, come on, remember when she killed Kendra? That was way creepy. And yes, I would include Spike also. I still remember his entrance to the show in "School Hard." He just had so much zest! I kind of feel bad Darla didn't make the list, but when I think about it, she was more a thorn in Angel's side, a reminder of his past, rather than a truly stand-on-your-own villain.

And what about Dr. Horrible? I mean, I know he's on the "we're rooting for you" side of things, but he is a villain (even if it's more wannabe than actual).
The fan-voted list is far better. Any top 10 villains list that doesn't include Drusilla is ridiculous.

And, Dark Willow at number 1? No. Too snarky, didn't bring the darkness nearly enough. Too often she acted like Willow in a bad mood, petulant, trying to top Buffy with the quips, not Willow dealing with shattering grief.

And Harmony? Harmony?

My list:

1. Darla: One of the best characters Whedon ever gave us. The evolution of her character as the seasons passed was always compelling and Julie Benz was always up to the challenge. She traveled so far from where she started in season one and she ended up in a wonderful place.

2. Drusilla: She's just delicious. Endlessly charming, steals every scene she's in, but at the heart of her you can always see that poor broken girl.

3. Angelus: Boreanaz chewing the scenery with Shatneresque abandon and I loved every minute of it. Too bad he couldn't do more damage; he really should have killed a Scooby. (Xander.) If he had done more damage instead of just making speeches about how evil he was he might have been number 1.

4. Vampire Willow: Wow. Where did this sultry, sexy ingenue come from? Vamp Willow showed that Alyson could do anything. The little physical things Alyson added to sell us that Vamp Willow wasn't just Willow with fangs--the confident walk, the deeper voice--were pitch-perfect.

5. The Mayor: I wish he was my uncle. His chemistry with Eliza was precisely perfect. I believed every minute of their relationship.

6. Lilah: An L.A. villain if there ever was one and a nice departure from the Buffy types of villains. She never backed down from anyone and she stole scenes like a professioal cat burglar. With her bewitching beauty and her statuesque build she radiated power. Then she hooks up with Wesley and lets him be in charge, and he breaks her icy heart. And guess what? I believed it.

7. Warren: A regular guy. The kind of villain that's really out there in the world, despite the gadgets.

8. Spike: Would have gone much higher if not for the chip, the soul, and the fact that he was allowed to run away with the series. I call him "Fonzie". Still, his charm (and Marsters' acting chops) can't be denied. Sizzling chemistry with Gellar and Boreanaz especially--and with everyone else, in fact. He even works playing opposite Willow. He's like Oreo cookies. Sort of bad for you, empty calories, but yummy. Just don't eat too many. Ultimately, BTVS ate too many and season seven forgot Alyson, Tony and Nick and too often became The Spike Show.

9. Lindsey: I just love this guy. I love how he grew up dirt poor and wanted to be a lawyer and have some power so he just worked and worked and worked. I loved him opposite Boreanaz. I loved his crisis of conscience, his hopeless unrequited love for Darla, and his dark turn at the end. I love his last scene where he pleads with Lorne that Angel is the one who is supposed to kill him. (And I love him in Leverage.)

10. Dark Willow: Has to be included because she's so important to Willow as a character but I think they dropped the ball with her to a degree. The veins and the black hair and black eyes--wouldn't it have been creepier if Willow looked like Willow when she was killing people? The snark didn't work for me either. It was like Dark Willow was trying too hard to impress people. Swing and a miss on the part of the writers but I give Alyson points for trying.

Runner-Up--The Gentlemen: Scary and creepy in a cool Victorian way, sure, but they weren't actually characters, just monsters, so they don't make it onto the list.
For cereal? Where is Early? Not feeling Dark Willow as the number one villian. Angelus? Yes.Alpha? Yes.Glory? Yes.Also, did I blink and miss The First?
#1 Dr Horrible - The villain with his owne sing along show(makes me want to dance), and because he use to play a child/sevant doctor on T.V. for pretend. Its cool!!

#2 Nishka - Because of the way he smiled when he turned the screws into his victims(classic sick-o). "And now lets get to know the real you, Mr Reynolds." There is you sequel Joss.

the wrath of nishka

#5 (3 Sir!)The Monarch - I know its not a Joss villian but he is one of my favorites of late.
Love love love the Mayor. I STILL think Harry Groener was completely gypped by the Emmys for not getting a best supporting character nomination for his portrayal of the Mayor (but of course, Buffy had 7 seasons of getting gypped). He is on of the best villains of all time IMO. Agree with most of the selections, though I agree that The First and/or the Master should be on at least one of the lists, if not both (seeing how I voted for both of them).
The Evil preacher from Buffy and then evil angel. I usually like the villians but they were easy to hate.
I do think that Caleb should have made the list, no one was easier to hate than him. Which is saying a lot because of all the love for Nathan.
I'd have Angelus on top on the list followed closely by the Mayor. He was cunning, delighted in the havoc he wreaked and is simply one of the best villains in the 'verse. The Mayor also provided a different dynamic to the traditional characterisation of the villain - fatherly, gentle, yet totally hellbent on destruction.

For some reason, I found The First to be one of the more weaker villians across Buffy's seven seasons. I never really felt that sense of impending danger as when Angelus or even Dark Willow came onto the scene.

Good to see that there was no mention of the Beast...
And just for fun, here's my list:

1. Angelus. What's not to love about Angelus? He ticked all the boxes of a great villain. His very existence was entangled with emotional and character issues. My rule for great villains, which I mostly got from Buffy's second season, is 'always make it personal'. It makes for much, much more involved viewing.
2. The Mayor. He was the first Big Bad to show some humanity. His love for Faith, his weird checklists, the fact that he was both funny, scary and seemed very, very real... all that makes him essential to any list.
3. Drusilla. Because, well, c'mon. It's Dru, people.
4. Spike. I might not have always been on board with where Chipped!Spike went, but as a villain? One of the best ever. His weird chemistry with Joyce, the inherent humanity in his love for Dru, the complex relationship with Angel and his very cool attitude, make him, well... one of the coolest villains ever. Eventually the character became a victim of his own success. I always felt he was mostly pathetic while he was still evil, chipped and eventually housebroken in S4-6. He became palpable again when he got a soul and refound a purpose and in his current state, as a hero, he's nearly as great a character as he was when he first rode into Sunnydale in 'School Hard'.
5. Niska. He was the scariest villain on Firefly, and deserves a nod for it. The torture scenes, the uncompromising evil and the fact that, unlike those previous villains, he's human, make him a chillingly great addition to the Whedonverse rogues gallery.
6. Vampire Willow. Quite possibly the sexiest villain on any show, ever. Perfect.
7. Glory. Another great villain and a return to form for the show. I loved how she was both an airhead and a very powerful, scary God. She was one of those great Buffy villains - like The Mayor - who managed to be both scary, funny, almost farcical, and yet still convincingly real and emotionally relevant.
8. Yo-Saf-Bridge. I think the authors summed this one up. Not quite sure she should be on a villain list, though. She's certainly a lot less evil than most of the people on here, but she was, without a doubt, one of the best characters on Firefly. What's not to love?
9. The Operative. Joss loves his complex villains, and The Operative, the man who's single-minded in his belief that he's doing evil for all the right reasons, is one of the more brilliant creations the big purp ever, well, created. He goes through the exact opposite journey to Mal in Serenity, and I still can't help but feel that he's very close to what Book was before he became a Shepard. He was, in short, the perfect villain for Serenity.
10. Lindsey. Another morally complex villains, we were never quite sure whether he was evil or just incredibly misguided. He's on par with Lilah, but I give Lindsey a slight edge for the buckets of on-screen chemistry he had with pretty much all those around him. Very, very, good.

Runner up:
Captain Hammer. He was smarmy excellence and needs no explaining.

Worst villain ever:
Adam. He was uninvolving, looked silly and had a floppy drive, for God's sake. One of the low-points of the show.
I think this list fails in the same way that the heroes list did; it's not a list of the ten most villanous Whedon characters, it's a list of the author's ten favourite characters who showed elements of villany.

Really, Drusilla is more of a fun popular character than a strong villainous character

And Harmony isn't?

Also while I don't want to pass judgement on the author and I'm possibly misinterpreting, I did find it very disconcerting that he spent a full paragraph basically explaining that Saffron is his ideal woman, when the bulk of what we saw from her she was as submissive as hell.
I definitely thought the Reavers ought to be on the list.

I'm really glad to see the Gentlemen though - Hush is definitely the creepiest episode ever.
Der Kindestod always creeped the hell out of me. As did that kid in the Angel episode "I've Got You Under My Skin".

For some reason, I found The First to be one of the more weaker villians across Buffy's seven seasons. I never really felt that sense of impending danger as when Angelus or even Dark Willow came onto the scene.

Mother's milk is red today.
I prefer the fans list, it's much closer to what I'd pick, so glad The Gentlemen are on the list, them and Der Kindlestood are the scariest monsters in the Whedonverse! Also glad Alpha was high on the voters list cause Alan Tudyk nailed it!

[ edited by Gota luv that Buffy on 2010-02-25 11:15 ]
Its funny how opinions differ sometimes as I thought Glory was probably the worst thing in the show! The idea was sound but thought the character was awful. Anyway, Angelus, Spike, the Mayor, Holtz and Niska for me (although Lindsey would be close behind)
Oh and Buffy's dad in Nightmares. Cause that felt real and what he said played on the insecurities that children have.
I do think that Caleb should have made the list
Constant | February 25, 07:53 CET

I agree - and he did make the fan poll list. You'd have to go a long way to match the chilling misogyny oozing from Caleb in his first appearance (Dirty Girls). That was more frightening to me than the powers given to him by The First.

Between the two lists, they pretty much covered it for me, with a couple of minor quibbles. Harmony just doesn't make the cut, IMO, and Lilah should be on at least one list. And after reading GHV's post, I'm thinking a case can be made for Vamp Willow, as well.

Love this about Spike: "Whatever can be said about Spike he is hot, he is cool and he is easy to love."
Amen to that. :)
I'm a little surprised to see so many whedon fans going for the obvious in-your-face villains instead of the interesting ones. I totally get why harmony is on that list, she sucks at being bad and that makes her great fun to watch. she's not a stereotype villain. the reavers on the other hand aren't interesting at all. what you see is what you get. it was a great story and fun to discover how they came about, but you won't find yourself wanting to know more about them because they don't have personalities.
Awesome list, GVH. (I haven't actually looked at the lists linked to yet... later! later!). Yes on the weird chemistry Spike had with Joyce - I loved that bizarre periphery friendship.

But no love for the Master? He was a wonderful send-up of the cheesy stereotype of a vampire villain, and the actor, whose name I have shamefully forgotten, had so much fun with it.

I found Glory the scariest villain, or maybe I just thought S5 was the scariest season, but the Mayor / Faith duo will always be my favorite. But yeah, Angelus wins for sheer heartbreak.
Dark Will imagine that. l was surprised that the Master and Ethan Rayne didn't make honorable mention. What about Darla and Drusilla, these ladies wreaked serious havoc.
Caleb, Adam, and Dark Willow, I think, all suffer from a similar problem: to some degree, they're all there to make a point rather than be fully-realized villains. Caleb is the embodiment of misogyny, Adam is science (over magic), and Dark Willow stems in part from the whole magic-is-like-drugs-and-drugs-are-bad-mkay? storyline.

What's more, while I love Alyson Hannigan, and she can make the tears flow (hers and mine) like nobody's business, she just doesn't make a very good bad-ass. Her delivery of the line, "Oh, Buffy. You really need to have every square inch of your ass kicked," didn't have the quiet menace behind it that it needed.
I do think that Caleb should have made the list

Caleb had the potential to be a great villain and Nathan Fillion did a wonderful job portraying his slithering misogyny, but unfortunately the writers let him down. He was a blithering idiot because the plot required him to be. Consider: he's trying to retrieve the Slayer scythe (it's an axe, actually, but whatever) from that cellar beneath the vineyard. The thing he wants to not happen more than anything in the world is for Buffy to find it. So what does he do? He gets his Bringers to lure her and Faith and the Potentials to the vineyard--where the scythe just happens to be, and which is also his hideout, so he can "trap" them. Does he consider maybe luring them somewhere that isn't his hideout? No. And when he gets them there, what does he do? Does he kill Buffy, which he most certainly has the power to do with ease? No. Does he kill Faith? Nope. He kills a few Potentials and puts out Xander's eye and then lets everyone run away. Now Buffy knows where he is. So what was the point? Making evil speeches?

Then he corners Buffy at Sunnydale High. Does he kill her this time? Nope! He smacks her around to once again demonstrate that he could kill her with ease, and then he makes another speech about how he's going to kill her with ease at some point--instead of, you know, just killing her right there. Then of course Buffy manages to find the scythe because Caleb was the one who lured her to the vineyard in the first place and she now knows it's his hideout and she decides to search it. And then she kills him with the scythe. Because he was an idiot.

And it's really too bad, because Nathan Fillion was awesome as Caleb. If I only went by charm and swagger he would have made my list. But the writers forced the character into bufoonery to service a silly plot full of swiss-cheese holes.
I agree with Hellmouthguy about Caleb. He started off really scary, but ended up kind of lame.

And I'm signing my name under GVH's list (yay me, I don't have to write my own!), except that I have to put the mayor first. I love him to pieces--every single scene.
I'm signing my name under jcs's post. Yay, I don't have to write my own post! ;)
In all these "ultimate Wedonverse villains", I always see Angelus as like one or two. Really, I think it's a bit too played out. Yeah, he was creepy, but all evil incarnations of Willow freak me out- the vampire and Dark Willows. But Angelus was just insane. I think I'd like to see a Dollhouse person included, except for the fact they really had no great "Big Bads" due to lack of air time and all that kinda stuff. Alpha was great, but he reformed so he can't. Boyd was definitely the most shocking villain, and Clyde Randolph was pretty kick ass- especially when Amy Acker portrayed him. Or of course, some may count Bennett since she was slightly antagonistic in the first two episodes we meet her and even more in Getting Closer, although she does partly reform. But she's just too cute to be considered a villain! I would say Illyria when she was FIRST resurrected, only because of Amy. She's just amazing. Also, Warren is considered so bad just because the dude had a breakdown and shot Buffy and killed Tara. Really, he's not scary at all. And Mayor Wilkins was always lame to me.

[ edited by Tarth on 2010-02-25 19:16 ]
And Mayor Wilkins was always lame to me.

The Mayor...lame?

Good Heavens.

Harrumph. That is just stuff and nonsense. It is, in point of fact, an imprecation of the most vile sort! If this was the eighteenth century I would feel compelled, sir, (or madame) to challenge you to a duel forthwith!
Hahaha he was too much of a creeper and not enough of a...reaper? Yeah, I just rhymed. He was pretty cool as the Old One, but still, all he did was get other people to do his work for him.
Hahaha he was too much of a creeper and not enough of a...reaper? Yeah, I just rhymed. He was pretty cool as the Old One, but still, all he did was get other people to do his work for him.

Swords or pistols?
I'll sick my bunnies on your swords AND pistols!
The best villains were the ones we wanted to get back: Willow and Angel. (Somehow Cordelia just didn't bring it very well, though.) Next come the ones humanized by love: the Mayor, with his very real attachment to Faith, and also Spike, Dru, and Darla. You might also throw Holtz in there.

Caleb... was hobbled by being a last-minute thought. If we'd seen him killing Potentials and blowing up the Council, it might have worked well, but he wasn't invented until all that had already happened. If he'd been roaming around loose he could have made the First far more terrifying, too, since the Ubervamp? Not so much. His dealings with Buffy we may have to fanwank by saying he was simply too arrogant and enjoyed throwing her around a lot. And both he and the First seemed downright possessive, so maybe we can fanwank guarding Spike and guarding the scythe as a character flaw, not a plot hole...?

The less said of Adam, the better.
Oh, I love Willow in the last three eps of season six, a little irrationally. I think there are areas of both the execution and (especially) the setup that muddle Willow's S6 arc, mostly due to the magic addiction story in "Wrecked," although I'm becoming a little more zen about that. (I'm at the point where I see it primarily as a misdirect--Willow once again takes the easy way out, this time in blaming magic rather than herself after she hits a wall after Rack gives her some mind-altering, pleasure-giving magic. And her friends, reluctant to see any bad intrinsically in Willow and mostly caught up in their own problems, go along with it.) The writers of this list here are a bit reductive, I think, in describing her as being some symbol of grief. Because, yes, grief is part of what drives Willow, but a big part of the point of the last few episodes is that it is not about grief: she even abandons Tara's body (which Dawn, Xander and Buffy deal with) in her quest for vengeance.

What Tara was, was Willow's anchor (c.f. the spell in "Who Are You" where Tara is described as her anchor), the last thing keeping her playing by the rules she had been for years trying to escape from. The last thing keeping her from trying to destroy her "stupid mousy" Willow persona that she hates. And so when Tara dies, Willow breaks free. She's free to defy the "natural order" Tara cares about and fix the world around her the way she tends to try to do: a waste like Warren can be removed, the pain of the world can be ended. And before she's dosed with empathy from Giles and doesn't have to think about the outside world, she attacks everyone and everything around her, convinced that there is no point to anything she does, and then indulges herself in "bad" behaviour she's always been tempted by. (Doppelgangland: "Is it dangerous?" "No, not really." "Well, can we pretend it is?") Hence the wisecracks. Bottom line is that Willow is grieving, but she's also genuinely having fun being bad, revelling in the chance to be all the things she wished she could be. And I find that entertaining and compelling.

As far as the rest of the villains, I'm fond of the following: Darla, Angel, Spike and Dru are all wonderful; the Mayor is easily the best, most entertaining for me of the non-main character Big Bads; Lindsey & Lilah are both three-dimensional and complex, though Lindsey's S5 arc fizzled (until "Not Fade Away"), and Holland Manners, while less complex, is a delightful presence and the best mouthpiece W&H ever had; Warren is genuinely creepy and a perfect match for season six's real-world themes; Holtz is a bit less a character than a symbol except for his wonderful relationship with Justine (Watcher/Slayer?), but man what a well-acted symbol and what a well-executed revenge plan he had!; Jasmine was well acted by Gina Torres and a reaosnable concept but her end-of-season story felt truncated (and Charisma Carpenter's portrayal of Evil Cordy/Jasmine leaves much to be desired, perhaps understandably); Maggie Walsh may have made a great Big Bad if Lindsay Crouse hadn't stepped down, but I guess we'll never know.

EDIT: And I forgot about the rest of the Whedonverse! Okay, I love Saffron, Jubal, and the Operative. And the villains on Dollhouse are called, "the cast" (well, not really Priya or Anthony) so it seems pointless to go there. (Though Adelle and Topher FTW.) In AXM, Danger was a bit of a retread of other stories but still effective, especially late in Joss' run. And Dr. Horrible. Dr. Horrible. Also, the kid who tortures toys in Toy Story. (Did someone else come up with that part?)

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-02-25 21:02 ]
I will be your second in the duel, hellmouthguy, whether pistols, swords or bunnysuits. (I'm better at the outfits than that weapon stuff, but anything to defend the honor of His Honor.) Reavers, schmevers.
Though I wouldn't call The Mayor lame, I agree with Tarth that he doesn't belong on the list. To qualify for my top villain list one has to excel in one or more of the following: being very scary, very evil, and/or very effective at causing damage, and to me The Mayor (or Harmony for that matter) is none of the above. Enjoyable character? Sure. Top villain? No way.

Now, the Evil Cordy (bad idea from every angle)/Beast (cheesy)/Jasmine (boring) trio, Caleb (boring and stupid), and Adam (cheesier) would all qualify in the lame department for me.

From the above criteria, my top villain list would contain Rivers (scary), Gentlemen (ditto), Glory (effective), Warren (he is to me very high on the evil scale, higher than Angelus on account of having a soul), Holtz (scary and effective), Angelus (evil), Alpha (all three in spades), Senior Partners/Circle of Black Thorn (slow everlasting apocalypse is very scary), Boyd (planning controlled Apocalypse is both evil and scary), and Spike (killing two slayers is pretty effective in my book).
Angelus is the best, by far. Of all the Villains in the Whedonverse, he's the one I'd least want to run into.

If you go into the woods tonight you won't believe your eyes. If you go into the woods tonight you're in for a big surprise.
Re: Warren: The writer(s) of the list seem to forget that Warren also hypnotized, then killed, his girlfriend and then tried to blame it on Buffy. As a purely human bad guy, he ranks up there with the worst on Buffy.
Still, with Warren, you don't feel that much danger. Like, he's a nuisance but Buffy can kick the crap out of him any day. Just because he's suffering from some major sociopath-nerd stuff doesn't mean he needs to be a big bad.

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