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January 09 2014

BuzzFeed ranks 117 Buffyverse Characters from Worst to Best. BuzzFeed has compiled this exhaustive list of the best and worst characters of the Buffyverse, from Buffy's Sunnydale to Angel's L.A. and every dimension in between.

Curses! I was just about to post this as well! As long as it's out there. Well done.
My own personal list puts David Nabbitt at the bottom. I didn't mind his first appearance, but he wore out his welcome with me very quickly. He's one of the only Buffyverse characters that I didn't like, or even like to hate. Molly is another.

I positively like Kennedy, Riley, Connor and most of the other folks that people seem to hate.
Buffy herself will always be number one on my list.
I am sure everyone will have an opinion on this list, though I categorically agree with the choice of Willow as #1, since I think she is most viewers' entree into the program, their point of identification (note: most). But what slays me here is to see how many excellent actors this show has used- holy cow, what a list of great actors!
I too felt Kennedy as dead last was more grousing than honest criticism. Not that I don't sympathize, but still. No time to go through the whole list yet - BuzzFeed and my work ISP are not super-compatible.

(I make itneresting uses of her in my fics. In one, set at an interdimensional tavern, two Kennedys from two alternate histories take a room upstairs to fulfill a life-long fantasy.)
Except that I didn't expect Willow to be #1 (she is on my list, but...), I knew where this list was going before I even looked at it. I should just stop bothering.
Kennedy is annoying but putting her last doesn't sit right with me, especially when I'm finding it hard to remember if Ben or Graham even had personalities.

Glory's minions are hilarious and should be higher. The more I flick through the last the more I realise how much I love so many of these characters, so I'm going to just stop with the 'should be higher'/'should be lower' stuff because there are just so many good characters that it must have been a difficult list to make.

Lilah would've made my top ten. That's a pretty good top ten though. Spike is the only one I don't love, but his inclusion is not unexpected either.
If a list allows one episode Billy Fordham then where is Amber? The demise of Warren's first robot is so sad.
Well Billy was in two episodes but seeing as the rules required three episodes, I hereby declare the list invalid. Anyone who didn't like the listings can feel better now.
What! Principal Flutie all the way at #111? He was great! I saw his death in "The Pack" as the first indication of how dark the show could go.
I perused, saw Buffy was number four and moved on.
Does seem a bit prejudiced against Angel characters. I certainly wouldn't have put Kate so close to the bottom. (Liked the way she went from what was seemingly the replacement romantic interest to antagonist, to being somewhat at peace with everything.)

Also don't agree with the comment in the beast ranking about that arc having no effect on Buffy. As they did call Sunnydale for Willow's assistance.

But I've seen worse lists. Definitely agree that Buffy should be top. Though I like Wesley being higher than Angel.
I'm currently (and finally) watching Angel all the way through and just passed the episode where Doyle dies. Although I've seen that scene before (and have known what happens for a long time) it still really broke my heart. So as I kept going higher up on this list, for anyone right after Doyle, I just kept thinking, nope, Doyle deserves to be higher than this person; nope, Doyle deserves to be higher than this person.
Thanks Simon. Thanks to a point of parliamentary procedure, I do indeed feel better.
Really, Angel at #19? And I speak in defense of Connor.
Jas, I agree: I liked Kate, and thought there was a lot of potential to do some very interesting things with her character; the problem was that the writers seemed to lose interest in her as the premise of the show changed. Ah well, to each his or her own. It's still a fun list to argue about. :)
Personally, I can't see how anyone could rank Johnathan higher than Angel and placing Kennedy behind the likes of Percy West or Candrid seems harsh, but lists like these are always subjective. I guess it also depends on how one chooses to approach this as whilst emotion obviously is a key factor I tend to prefer lists that try and remain somewhat objective. For example, based on just how much time the writer's spent developing Angel I can't fathom how he ranks #19 on this list. And whilst I did find Kennedy obnoxious and unlikable in S7 she's still a more fleshed out character than the likes of Dennis or Graham.

I always think Buffy should be #1 but I can't decide if I'm thinking with my head or my heart. Maybe it's both. Buffy is the character that started it all and is without a doubt the most iconic character from the show. I feel it's only right that such a monumental character should take first place. But she's also my favourite character and whilst I'd like to think I'd say the same thing if somebody else was my favourite, I can't say for sure.

But making lists like this must be exhausting! I'd be a mess trying to rank my Top 10 and I can't even imagine trying to rank 117 of them. So many of those other characters just come out in a wash for me that it'd pretty much just be random selection trying to slot a lot of them in.
My random reactions:

-Kate's position on this list is absurd.
-I'm not a huge Riley fan, but to put him below Forrest and the one-note stereotype joke (Chao-ohn) is just offensive. Same deal with Connor. He's annoying, but a very important character.
-What is the big deal with Marcie Ross?!
-Justine is higher on the list than Holtz. List invalidated.
-Seriously, the Buffybot cracks the Top 40?
-Cassie Newton is higher than Lorne. No. Just no.
-Halfrek cracks the Top 30?
-Angel at 19 is also absurd.
-Xander doesn't make the top ten, but the Mayor does?

Final thought: this list is a joke.
This list is awful. I feel like some of the characters were boosted up the list simply because the actor playing them later became famous (see: Felicia Day, Jeremy Renner). Angelus not being in the top 10 is a crime. Faith being higher than Buffy?!? What?!? Wesley should be top 5, at least (probably top 3). How is D'Hoffryn in the 50s? He's one of the most entertaining demon characters in the history of either show! He's top 30 easily. The Master is WAY too high, Connor is WAY too high. Doc is above Glory? Huh? Other than the top 20 or so, you could do a better job just blindly pulling names out of a hat.
Just a note, while I don't agree with the writer of the article, not agreeing with the list doesn't automatically make the list bad or a joke.
From the argumentation of Kennedy's at the bottom position: "Season 7 of Buffy is arguably the worst season in the Buffyverse"
There we go: the opinions of the article's writer and myself already couldn't be any more different.

Like with episodes, there are very few characters of which I'd say that they were truly bad - if any at all. Jonathan Woodward's Whedonverse characters (all three of them) tend to rub me the wrong way, I never took all that much to Kennedy either, nor Amy, but I didn't truly mind any of them.
So, TV only, right? Cause Melaka, Satsu, Betta George from the comics would be among characters that I would rank around top 50, without much sweat.
I had a feeling Willow was gonna be #1 on this list. Pretty much as soon as I saw Kennedy was ranked #117 (which, yeah, I kinda agree with, but maybe not QUITE the last one). Sure, I like Willow, but I wouldn't place her at #1. She was a great character until she turned kinda mean. I didn't like her in seasons 6 or 7, not just because the character wasn't really nice, but because she felt really un-Willow. The author of the list says that they like her because of how much she changed, but still remained "Willow", but did she really...? I'd say Buffy is #1, but, y'know, opinions, they're stupid, different things.
I don't think a person is obliged to put Buffy at #1 just because she's the lead - I know a lot of people who didn't like the character at all but still liked the show.

Not that I was one of them.

Subjective lists are subjective.
Exactly. Do we read lists like this just to validate our own biases? Or do we read them to see how someone else views the show? It is just their opinion and with 117 entries it is clearly impossible to have a list any one of us would completely agree with. It always bothers me when someone says something like, when I saw this person at this rating I stopped reading. Which someone did, above. It's just a list. Fun for discussion, nothing more. Because I'd have put Tara higher. :-)
This list is the worst. Doyle and Lorne shoule bw MUCH higher, worthless sunday and Warren should be name just a few. I think you get a much better feel of the real list (at least from the fandom perspective) from our tournaments, which ranks Giles at #1, btw. I was making faces throughout the whole list!
But buffyfest, isn't a tournament subjective? The people who vote are people who know about it, people who are fans of a certain character get all their friends to vote... and I love Giles, but he's not my favourite.

Unless you have some sort of objective criteria (which I don't know how you could), it's all subjective.
Everything from 26th to 1st I have no complaints about.

Even when I disagreed with the rankings, I had a warm smile on my face as I looked on all the characters I loved and loved to hate from eight years of Buffy and Angel. It's the best high school year book ever.

So thanks to the person who wrote the list, and thanks to the person who posted it here!
I think the list is pretty decent, even though the author violates his own rules. I think Wesley should be in the top 3, that Glory's minions are hilarious, that Season 6 was awesome, that I don't understand Kennedy hatred at all, but do Connor's. It's just a list, right?
D'Hoffryn needs to be higher simply for the awesome line "Looks like somebody slaughtered an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog".
Agree about D'Hoffryn! I love that line.

I would also put Percy higher because I thought he was hilarious. (There were TWO President Roosevelts!) And I really liked Graham.

And Chao-Ahn would be much lower on my list.

The top of the list is much too hard for me, but I'd put both Lorne and Wesley above Faith.
Having not seen the episode in a very long time, was there really something about the way the character of Cassie was written that made her so special as to warrant the attention given her? My vague recollections of any discussion about the character and episode tells me no.
To each our own list.
And I obviously don't have the same taste than this person. So this list will be as quickly forgotten as read.
I had a lot of fun reading through this list and being reminded of all these characters - despite the fact my own ranking would be very different!

But this line about Lilah '...she becomes a woman tragically trapped within her own villainy..' seems wrong to me. I loved Lilah because she was so consistently unrepentant in her villainy.
I wasn't bothered by the rankings of the list but rather by all the errors. There were so many I could barely keep track of all of them. It made me question just how much of a fan the writer and editor actually was.
I thought about it some more and I think my biggest problem with this list is that it shouldn't be titled "117 Buffyverse Characters, Ranked from Worst to Best" it should be titled "117 Buffyverse Characters, Ranked from My Least Favorite to My Favorite". Now I'm sure some will probably think there's no real difference between those two titles, but I assure you there is.

If I make a list of my favorite Buffy episodes, "The Body" won't make my top 10, but if I'm making a list of the best Buffy episodes, it's got to be top 5. Unlike my favorite episodes, The Body is not one I want to rewatch over and over again, but, for a "best of" list, I have to acknowledge the strength of the writing and acting contained within it.

Similarly, if I was putting together a list of my favorite characters, it'd go 1.) Anya 2.) Illyria 3.) Wesley... But if I'm putting together a "best character" list, I couldn't put Anya and Illyria at 1 and 2. There roles weren't large enough in the history of the Buffyverse to warrant that placement.

So while the Buzzfeed article ranking all of the Buffy episodes (which was written by a different author) was very well thought out and well argued, this one reads like a guy just saying "these are the characters I love" and "these are the characters I hate" with little more thought put into it than that.

One other thing, the inclusion of characters like Sunday and Cassie over, say, Vampire Willow or Jesse (from 2-part series premiere) is utterly baffling. I just can't wrap my head around what standards the author used when choosing which one-off/two-off characters to include.

[ edited by WindTheFrog on 2014-01-11 08:58 ]
WindTheFrog makes a very good point. There is a difference between "X is good / bad" and "I like / dislike X." The former ought at least to aim for some objectivity, insofar as we humans are capable; the latter is straightforwardly and appropriately subjective. And notice there's no necessary correlation between the two: I can quite sensibly say "Mozart is a good composer" and "I don't particularly like to listen Mozart" without contradiction.
I sincerely mean no disrespect but I find some of the above posts sort of disheartening. A person takes the time to write a list to post on a public website. He obviously spends a great deal of time on it and it clearly is designed to invite both debate and click through, which is sort of in the nature of the interwebs. And then folk take not the list to task- which could be fun and generate lots of interesting discussions about where we do and do not agree- but the author, his integrity, the title he chose, his motives and so on. eddy, above, suggests the person who wrote it is not a fan, because there are errors. I make errors, too, all the time. And I am surely a fan. Why would he question whether or not the author is a fan? He was fan enough to write an article listing 117 characters, yes? WindTheFrog feels that the title is all wrong, because even though it is clearly an opinion piece, the title does not categorically state that. He cannot understand the author's standards. But, he is not the author. And kreider204 feels the author failed to provide us the objective criteria used to generate the list. I am not sure what 7lovelyangel means when he or she says "I obviously don't have the same taste than this person. So this list will be as quickly forgotten as read." Does this mean that if the list was exactly as you would like it you would not forget it- that is, if it validated your own opinion? There is an excellent discussion over on mehlsbells about the issue of bias in fandom, since we are all biased in one way or another. Why can't we just enjoy the article, debate it and argue it passionately, and leave the more personalized comments behind?
I enjoyed it just fine, although I did find it a bit off. I do think my views on the Buffyverse stray from normal though. I like the drama of S6 and I tended to find people like Tara and Warren a bit too idealized as the writing staff was playing in certain political waters. With Tara there was nothing to dislike really and with Warren there was nothing to like. So my reality buzzer goes off with both of them. I have a hard time identifying with either(on the second, that's far from a problem.)

I guess I just wish the grading made sense to me. The writer is obviously primarily a Buffy fan. Not a bad thing, but I do feel some of the Angel characters are woefully downgraded on this list.
Dana, if this were an ordinary fan posting a list on their personal blog, I would totally understand your objections, but that is not the case here. This is a journalist, Buzzfeed's Senior Film Reporter in fact, writing an article I assume he was paid for and posting it to a hugely well-known news site. I think it's fair to hold a journalist to certain standards.

Yes, a list like this is subjective, but that doesn't mean it can't be wrong. We're about a month from the Winter Olympics now and there are many sports within those games that having a subjective scoring system. When a judge gives a suspiciously low score in figure skating, no one says, "hey that judge really put himself out there! We have no right to criticize him! Just think of all the time he must put in, having to watch all these routines!"

I realize a list like this is more subjective than that kind of judging, but there are plenty of other examples, like reality competition shows (Project Runway, Top Chef, etc.) or combat sports, that work equally as well. Now let me just show one example of why this article is titled incorrectly:

107 (of 117). Knox
"Stupid, flirtatious Knox and his stupid plan to use the stupid sarcophagus to release Illyria into Fredís body and consume her soul. BOOOOOOOOOO."

That is not someone ranking a character on a scale of Worst to Best. That is a fan of Fred hating on a character because Fred's death brought them so much pain. If anything, the fact that he despises Knox because of the character's actions (and not because of poor writing or acting) means Knox should 20 or 30 spots higher!

As for the author's standard for character included in the list: Yes, I'm not the author, but can you really argue that Sunday should be included on that list over Vampire Willow? No Buffy fan could make that argument. Angelus and Angel receive separate spots on the list, so, by those rules, obviously Willow and Vampire Willow should as well. And given he's clearly a huge Willow fan, so much so he ranked Willow first (and Kennedy last), it's an even more baffling oversight.

Now the one thing I will agree with you on is I don't think it's right to call someone out as not being a real fan. I have no doubt this guy is a huge Buffy fan, but he put together a terrible list.

[ edited by WindTheFrog on 2014-01-12 10:21 ]
@WindTheFrog I feel Sunday should be included over Vampire Willow, although I suppose I might be a somewhat atypical fan for loving "The Freshman" and nothing being that fond of "The Wish" and "Doppelgangland".
Very good points, WindTheFrog and kreider204.

Just hearing that Forrest is ranked above Riley (?!) alone (even without Angel barely cracking the top 20, Faith above Buffy, and other ...odd choices I'm hearing about here) is enough to tell me that I would probably just be irritated by this list and don't want to spend my too-short free time reading it.
Honestly, the only spots that matter to me on a list like this are the top 10 and bottom 10. I rolled my eyes at the top 3 choices. Willow? Seriously? Spike in the top 3 while Angel is number 19? Really? Giles in the top 3 and higher on the list than the far more interesting and cooler Watcher that is Wesley?

I couldn't disagree more, but I'll be respectful and just accept that this isn't my own personal list, it's someone else's. I suppose I am biased too as the top 3 are too Buffy centric for me and I'm more of an Angel show fan. My top 10 would consist entirely of Angel characters, or characters who I think got to shine more on Angel (Cordy, Wesley, Faith)

I do like Kennedy in the last spot though. I hated her. She's a lot like the annoying character Kat from Battlestar Galactica, who I also hated. And I dug seeing Faith one spot over Buffy. That's my girl
I, unsurprisingly, have zero problem with Willow being number one.
Kat was a terrific character. How could anyone hate her?

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