*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Read at your own risk if you have not watched one or both television series. In this series of character reviews, I will strictly be writing about the characters from the television series, not the 1992 film.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
The hallmark of any good character is change over the course of their time that they are on the screen or on the stage. Without that change, the character is static and unappealing to the audience. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Darla (Julie Benz) went through what can only be described a roller coaster of change.
When the audience meets Darla in the premiere episode of BVTS, she is just another vampire out to kill as many humans as she can. But unlike other vampires on BVTS and Angel, the audience gets to know Darla. Born in the 16th century, she was turned into a vampire by The Master (Mark Metcalf) in the early 17th century. Nearly and a century and a half later, Darla sired Angel (David Boreanaz), who became her lover. In the mid 19th century, their twosome grew to a foursome when Spike (James Marsters) and Drusilla (Juliet Landau) joined their group.
In Sunnydale, Darla sees the town and her living residents as fresh meat. She understands that fighting Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) will require intellect as well as physical strength. She uses Angel, who is now with Buffy to get the slayer. Ultimately, it is Angel who stakes Darla.
Three years later, Darla is revived by Wolfram and Hart to get to Angel. This plan gets tangled when Angel and Darla sleep together. Her last act on earth is giving birth to their son, Connor (Vincent Kartheiser), redeeming herself after centuries of murder and destruction.
To sum it up: As a character, Darla goes through an extraordinary change. As a viewer, Darla is one of the more interesting characters because of the journey she goes on and the change that she experiences. It is our job as a writer to create that roller coaster. If done well, that roller coaster not draws the audience in, but keeps the actor on their toes. This is why BVTS and Angel fans still have a high regard for Darla.