Tag Archives: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review-Wesley Wyndam-Price

*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.

By stereotype, the British are believed to be traditional, by the book and unable/unwilling to move away from the tried and true. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this 2D character stereotype was introduced in the form of Wesley Wyndam-Price (Alexis Denisof). Sent by the Watchers Council to be a second watcher to assist Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart-Head) with slayers Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Faith LeHane (Eliza Dushku), their relationship does not start well. Full of it and not exactly able to do his job, Wesley is as ineffective as one can get as a Watcher.

It does not help that there is a mutual crush between himself and underage Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter). When the final battle happens between the students of Sunnydale High and the Mayor, Wesley is knocked out as the battle is just getting started.

The viewer then sees Wesley in Los Angeles. Filling a void left by Doyle (the late Glenn Quinn), he joins Angel Investigations working with Angel (David Boreanaz) and Cordelia. When Faith is hired by Wolfram and Hart to kill Angel, but she kidnaps and tortures Wesley instead.

A while later, Wesley develops feeling for Winifred “Fred” Burke (Amy Acker), the newest member of the team. He also switches to the dark side when he tries to save Angel’s newborn son, Connor (played as a teenager by Vincent Kartheiser), but his throat is slit in the process. After dealing with loss, a bruised ego and discovering the truth about his father, he dies next to his beloved, Fred.

To sum it up: Over the course of his time on screen, Wesley moves from a pompous know it all who is obsessed with rules to a man who more often than not, gave into his flaws and weaknesses. But in the end, he redeemed himself by fighting for what was right. As an audience member, I can’t ask for a better character arc.

P.S. Fun fact: Alexis Denisof and Alyson Hannigan are married IRL and have two daughters.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Darla

*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.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Kendra Young

*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.

Art has a strange way of imitating life. Like in real life, some people are not meant to be around forever. They are just meant to be part of our lives for a short time before moving on. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kendra Young (Bianca Lawson) was only on the show for a brief time. In the world of BVTS and Angel, when one slayer dies, another one is immediately activated.

After Buffy is killed by The Master before being brought back to the life, Kendra is activated as the new slayer. Kendra’s entire world is being the slayer, while Buffy is balancing being a normal teenager with her slaying responsibilities. She nearly kills Angel (David Boreanaz), thinking that he is one of the baddies.

Over time, Kendra and Buffy become friends and learn from each other. That friendship is cut short when Kendra is killed by Drusilla (Juliet Landau).

To sum it up: We learn from everyone we meet and every experience we have. Though her time with Buffy is brief, Kendra teaches Buffy to accept her destiny as a slayer and Buffy teaches Kendra to enjoy life. When creating narratives and characters, no matter how far out the world maybe from the real world, there still has to be an element of reality. Buffy and Kendra’s friendship, as brief as it is, leads to life lessons that can only be learned from one another.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Faith Lehane

*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 concept of the frenemy is as follows: a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) frenemy is Faith Lehane (Eliza Dushku). In the world of BVTS, every time a slayer dies, a new one is activated. After Kendra Young (Bianca Lawson) is killed, Faith is activated as the new slayer. She tries to become one of the Scooby gang, but she fits in like square peg fits in a round hole.

When it becomes obvious that Faith will never be part of Buffy’s inner circle, she becomes bitter and angry. When she accidentally kills a human who she thought was a vampire, Faith turns to the dark side. Aligning herself with the Mayor, she becomes his surrogate daughter and henchwoman. Buffy and Faith get into the fight of all fights at the end of the third season after Faith nearly kills Angel. Buffy wins the battle, leaving Faith alive, but in a coma.

When Faith wakes up from her coma, she takes revenge on Buffy by switching their bodies. While in Buffy’s body, she does some not so nice things and is taken into custody by the Watcher’s Council. After they revert to their own bodies, each woman has come to realize that they misunderstood each other. They may never be friends, but at least there is an understanding of the other woman.

Faith is then bound for Los Angeles, where she is hired by Wolfram & Hart to kill Angel. This second quest to kill Angel leads Faith on a journey to figure out if she has some chance of being a hero or if she will only ever be a villain. This jump from hero to villain and back to hero takes Faith back to Sunnydale. Fighting with the Scooby gang in the final battle, Faith proves herself to be a hero.

To sum it up: From a writing perspective, a frenemy is a great antagonist. He or she knows our hero/heroine. They especially know what makes the hero or heroine tick. As one of the major antagonists in the BVTS and Angel universe, Faith knows our heroes well. This allows her to get under their skins. But they also know her well, allowing them to reach her humanity.  Like many of the major baddies on BVTS and Angel, she balances the villain with just enough humanity to catch the audience’s attention.

Which is the reason why BVTS and Angel fans still respect and adore this character.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Tara Maclay

*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 death of a beloved character often feels like a death in our own families. We watch these shows for years, become entangled in lives of these characters and when they die, it feels like a deeply personal loss.

Tara Maclay (Amber Benson) was introduced as a new character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 4th season. Like Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Tara is also a witch who is just beginning to develop her powers. But unlike Willow, Tara’s skills are more developed.  Their relationship soon grows from friendship to a romantic relationship.

Like all relationships, the roles within the relationships change as things change. As Willow becomes more confident and powerful as a witch, Tara become the “damsel in distress”, needing to be rescued by her girlfriend. Tara also becomes a surrogate parent to Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) after she and Willow move in with the Summers following the death of Dawn’s mother.

When Willow becomes addicted to magic, Tara supports her girlfriend as she tries to come clean, but Willow’s addiction nearly breaks up their relationship. When Tara is killed by The Trio, her death triggers Willow’s grief and anger, pulling her to the dark side.

To sum it up: Though Tara was not on on BVTS for the entire run of the show, her character was still a significant one. Willow and Tara were one of the first major female LGBTQ relationships on television. It felt real and normal. Tara was as beloved as both Willow’s girlfriend and as an individual character. Her death was a blow to the audience and to the characters who grew to love her as much as Willow did.

To this day, BVTS fans still mourn Tara. We mourn her not just because of her unexpected passing, but because of the impact that she left on us. From this writer’s perspective, that is the mark of a great character.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Cordelia Chase

*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.

According to the lore of the high school social hierarchy, the popular cheerleader is the girl that we should all aspire to be. On the top of the pyramid that the social aspect of high school, the girls want to be her and the boys want to date her. She is also often cast as the mean girl who takes pleasure in putting down her classmates.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the character trope of the popular cheerleader/mean girl was filled by Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter). When Cordelia meets Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), she genuinely likes her. That is, until Buffy becomes friends with Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and becomes a target for Cordelia’s cruel taunts. She is also unaware of the darker elements that are engulfing the school and the community.

At the end of the first season, Cordelia’s eyes are opened about the nature of the world that she lives in. Not only does she become friends with the Scooby gang, but she starts an on/off relationship with Xander (Nicholas Brendon). Towards the end of season three, as the prom nears, Cordelia reveals that her family is having major financial issues and she must now fend for herself.

After surviving graduation and the destruction of Sunnydale High School by the mayor, Cordelia moves to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming an actress. Instead, she works with Angel (David Boreanaz) to solve supernatural cases. She is no longer the popular cheerleader/mean girl that she was in high school, she is working for a greater cause. After gaining the power to know when someone is in trouble from Doyle (the late Glenn Quinn), the person that she was back in Sunnydale disappeared. Instead, she has become an adult who understands what it means to sacrifice yourself for something greater.

To sum it up: the essence of any character arc is to watch a character develop over the course of the time that they are on our screens. Between BVTS and Angel, Cordelia morphed from the standard teenage trope of the popular cheerleader/mean girl to a woman who put others needs before hers. It is a remarkable journey for a character that could have easily remained two-dimensional and predictable.

Instead, the writers of BVTS and Angel created a character who grew from a young girl to a woman. The one thing I remember about Cordelia is that her arc felt very real. The growing process from our teenage years to adulthood is full of emotional potholes and barriers. By the time Angel ended in 2004, Cordelia was a woman who looked like the young girl that she was, but was a very different person from the audience’s initial introduction.

That, if nothing else, is the mark of a good writer.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Joyce Summers

*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.

To be the parent of a teenager is not easy. Especially when your teenager is different from their peers. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland), is Buffy Summers’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) single mother. Joyce hopes that moving to Sunnydale will give both of them a fresh start. But while Buffy is caught up in her new identity as the slayer and Joyce focusing on creating a life for them, their relationship becomes strained.

When Joyce finally comes to understand who her daughter is, she is understandably shocked. She gives her daughter an ultimatum: stay home or leave. Buffy make the decision to leave her mother’s house and Sunnydale. After spending time in Los Angeles, Buffy returns home and learns the difficulties her mother faced without her.   But underneath those difficulties, Joyce has never stopped loving her daughter.

Joyce appeared for the last time in the fifth season. She has not one, but two daughters. Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) is the key placed in human form so it can be protected by Buffy. As far as anyone knows, Joyce has always had two daughters. When she tragically dies from cancer, she leaves two heartbroken daughters and a circle of characters who are grieving as much as Buffy and Dawn are.

To sum it up: Being a parent requires love, patience and understanding. Joyce Summers embodies all off these qualities, even if she is not always the perfect parent. Despite her initial misgivings and frustration about her older daughter’s abilities, Joyce never stopped loving her children. If nothing else, that is what anyone would wish to receive from their parent?

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Anya Jenkins

*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.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, especially when a woman takes revenge on her cheating husband or boyfriend.

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya Jenkins (Emma Caulfield) was introduced in third season as a guest character. Though she was once human, the audience meets her as Anyanka, a demon that women call on when they want to take revenge on the men who have cheated on them. When Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) catches her boyfriend, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) kissing Willow (Alyson Hannigan), she wishes that Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) had never moved to Sunnydale. This opens the door to an alternate reality where there is no slayer and the vampires control the town. Thankfully, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), destroys her necklace (where her power comes from), returning the world back to normal and returning Anya back to human form.

Because she has lived for 1000 years as a demon, Anya is unaware of the social cues and social norms. This leads to uncomfortable moments within the Scooby gang and comedy for the audience as Anya says and does things that someone who is aware of social cues and norms would not say or do. She also has a will they or won’t they relationship with Xander, which leads to them nearly saying I do. But Xander is manipulated by someone from his soon be wife’s past and his growing anxieties lead him to break off the engagement just before the ceremony. At the end of the series, Anya becomes a martyr, sacrificing herself to save her former lover.

To sum it up: the woman taking revenge on her cheating significant other is a standard narrative. Anya makes the character more interesting by adding the comedy and the lack of awareness of what not say and do. This comedy not only lightens the dark mood of BVTS, allowing the audience to laugh and wanting to come back for more.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Dawn Summers

*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.

To be one’s little sister is not always easy. Especially when one’s older sister is the Slayer. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that little sister is Dawn Summers. Introduced in the beginning of season 5, Dawn appeared to be the average, annoying little sister. She adored her sister’s friends and wanted to be around them. But like any big sister,Buffy did not want to have her sister around.

But up until that point, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), was an only child.  But no one questioned Dawn’s existence. Then Buffy discovered that Dawn is the Key, a mystical object turned into human form so she can be protected from Glory (Clare Kramer). After Buffy defeats Glory, Dawn is accepted as she is. But then her mother dies and Dawn has to deal with the loss of her mother. In her grief, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) helps Dawn with a spell to bring her mother back, but that does not end well.

The sisters finally mend their relationship after Buffy’s bought with with depression and Dawn’s feelings of abandonment. During the final battle at end of the series, Dawn fights with the Scooby gang and earns her stripes as an ally of the Slayer.

To sum it up: The stereotype of the annoying little sister can be fun to play with as a writer. The character of Dawn is interesting because she is much more than the basic character trope. Beyond her magical conception and abilities, she is a fully formed character whom we love to hate because she is so annoying. When a character is memorable because they are annoying, the writer(s) have done something right.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Character Review: Spike

*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.

Change is a hallmark of the human experience. No matter who we are or where we come from, we all change somehow. When building characters, the key to a character’s success is to see them change somehow. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Spike (James Marsters) transformed from a villain with a capital V to a good guy over the course of both series.

Spike was originally introduced to the Buffyverse as the villain of the week in the first season. Like any villain, he wanted to be the one who would finally do away with the slayer. But Spike is not your grandparent’s vampire, he is all rock and roll. Cockney accent, bleached blonde hair, leather jacket and bad ass in every shape and form. But he didn’t start out that way.In the late 19th century, he was a young man who just wanted to be a poet. Then was transformed into a vampire by Drusilla (Juliet Landau) and joined Drusilla’s gang of vampires. During this time, he and Drusilla become and item and stay together for many, many years.

After Drusilla dumps Spike, he starts to realize that his feelings for Buffy go deeper than the typical villain. Buffy also starts to contend with those same feelings and they play the will they/wont they game for quite a while. This game continues until the series finale of Buffy, when Spike sacrifices his himself to save the rest of the Scooby gang. The next thing he knows, he is in LA working with Angel (David Boreanaz). Despite their shared past and ex-girlfriend, Spike works with Angel to save the world once more.

To sum it up: Change is the spice of life and the backbone of any writer’s toolbox. Characters, especially major characters must change, in one form or another.  The transformation that Spike experiences over the course of both series represents the ideal change that a writer puts a character through. That transformation is why over twenty years later, fans of the Buffyverse still adore Spike.

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