There were seven series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in total. Each one boasted a different villain for Buffy to face off against. I am not talking about the one-time enemies, like Friday the Vampire or the Gentlemen. I’m not even talking about the series regulars, like Mr. Trick, Faith or Drusilla. No, this article is about the seven main antagonists throughout the series from which the main plotline revolved around. I shall compare them and rank them, depending on which one is my favourite. If you agree or disagree, leave a comment below.
7 – THE MASTER, SEASON ONE
It pains me to say this, but the very first villain, the Master of the Vampires, was one of the biggest disappointments of the show. It is a shame, because he does look awesome. It’s just he doesn’t really do much. As Angelus points out in one series of the spin-off, Angel, the Master spends most of his life (un-life?), skulking around the sewers, waiting for the uprising. His method of going about starting the uprising is questionable, however: he continues to send vampires in small groups to take out a girl who has proven herself to be capable of taking out demons with relative ease. This is how he loses his right hand woman, Darla: through poor tactics. He eventually ‘kills’ Buffy, when she comes looking for him and walks right into a trap. He gets lucky and takes her out, without needing to directly fight her. However, he then walks away, without checking her pulse, and she returns to kill him, in a fairly quick fight.
Most of these flaws are down to the actual series needed a bit of smoothing out. The first season has a few teething problems and therefore the Master took a few knocks, because of this. His final fight was short, but then again, a lot of the fights throughout the season weren’t long. Eventually, the writers worked out a system they were happy with and when the Master makes a few guest appearances in Season Three and throughout Angel, he is a fairly cool, capable villain. It’s just a shame that they didn’t get him right to begin with.
6 – ANDREW, JONATHON AND WARREN, SEASON SIX
In Season Six, the writers went for a different route. They went through the entire series and hand-picked three of the nerds, who guest-starred in previous episodes. Each of them were seeking vengeance, but in the same way, the quiet kid at school dreams of the school bully getting humiliated in class: no one ever expects anything to come of it. However, Joss Whedon took that feeling and explored where that line of thought could go.
For the most part, no one takes these three seriously. They add a bit of comedy to the proceedings and the real drama comes from the internal relationships of the group. However, then, seemingly out of nowhere, Joss Whedon pulls a final twist and we are left reeling. The only reason that these guys did not rate higher is because, before the series is out, they are removed from the story and the role of the villain is replaced by a corrupt Willow. This is not a bad move, as it is one of the greatest showdowns seen on the show.
5 – THE MAYOR, SEASON THREE
Throughout Season Two, there are several references made to the mayor of Sunnydale, but we never see him. In fact, it takes us a good few episodes into the third season before we finally meet him. The Mayor is a fantastic villain: a polite family man with a destructive side. It wins a few laughs for the season, as he is ever so polite, even when slaughtering thousands to achieve the ‘Ascension’. The Mayor suffered from two things, however. One, the real star when it came to villains was Eliza Dushku as Faith, the vampire slayer turned mercenary for hire. She was played so brilliantly that the Mayor got drowned out. Also, the final fight between the Mayor and Buffy felt kind of hollow. A bit like the Master before him, there is a sense of ‘Is that it?’ Personally, I would have left Faith’s showdown to after the Mayor’s, as there was much more drama in that encounter, suggesting it would have made a better end to the Season.
4 – ADAM, SEASON FOUR
Adam was a great villain in his own way. Although Buffy already covered their version of Frankenstein, they obviously wanted to explore that storyline in a more serious way. Therefore, halfway through Season Four, we are introduced to Adam, the ‘human’ that was built. He quickly kills his creators and then begins his own experiments in Sunnydale: murdering hundreds of people out of interest. He becomes a behind-the-scenes man, the puppeteer for most of the fights that Buffy has in the final half of the season. Sadly, he is also the most forgettable of the villains. Maybe it’s because he only appeared in the second half or because he rarely made an actual appearance, but he never quite makes the impact that some of the other main villains managed to have.
3 – GLORY, SEASON FIVE
Glory was one of the more interesting creations in the Joss Whedon universe. For all intents and purposes, she was a God, albeit one from another dimension. Buffy spends most of the season, running from her, rather than fighting her, which was a nice change of pace; sometimes Buffy can be a little too powerful for the storyline. Her weakness was the fact that a side effect to her existing in our universe, she was subjected to sharing a body with a human. It brought up some interesting ideas.
Sometimes Glory seems a little too quirky for her own good and the respect we should have for her gets lost. At times, it works though, which suggests that it is an issue for taste among the audience. However, I must admit, when it comes to a finale, Glory bagged one of the best fight scenes in the entire run of Buffy. Season Five was a little slow at times for me, but the final episode was a fantastic pay-off for the wait. And also, going back to her human double, it brought an interesting side to Giles. It was a storyline that was never mentioned again, but unlike a lot of the forgotten plot devices, this one didn’t need to be brought up afterwards. It was just a nod to the audience about how far Giles is willing to go to save his Slayer.
2 – CALEB, SEASON SEVEN
Caleb was given the job of closing this epic series and for the most part, he did a terrific job. In the role of Caleb was Whedon regular, Nathan Fillion, an actor who doesn’t get enough work. Caleb was the twisted reverend, who was willing to let the First (pure evil) use his body as a tool to wipe out the Slayers. Like Adam, we could argue that his character is held back by the fact, he makes his entrance midway through the season. However, unlike Adam, Fillion makes up for lost time. He handles his dialogue perfectly, subtly giving off menace with every word. The first time he attacks the group, he slaughters several main characters and rips out Xander’s eye. He is not someone to mess with. He definitely allowed this great TV Programme to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper.
1 – ANGELUS, SEASON TWO
Part of me didn’t want to put Angelus, Buffy’s lover turned evil, when his soul is ripped from him, as the top spot. It seemed too obvious and also, I feel the effect he had on the Season was lost, when he was resurrected almost instantly in Season three. However, when focusing on Season Two as an individual entry for this article, there is no other winner.
It is almost about the emotional turmoil that occurs when Buffy faces off against Angelus each time. As each episode of the season gave us any slice of evidence that Angelus was no longer a good character, Buffy was still determined to save his soul. This storyline comes to a head in the final episode and Joss Whedon controls the story perfectly, managing to squeeze the last drop of drama out of the encounter. Episodes like that remind me of the reason I love Buffy so much.