Hey Buffy fans!! Or random non-Buffy fans that happened upon this post. I thought it’d be fun to take 52 characters and rank them from best to worst. Why 52? Because I wanted to do 50 but I couldn’t find 2 people I wanted to bump off. Well, that I felt should be bumped off, there were a few that I wanted to.
I’m definitely not the first to rank Buffy characters and I definitely won’t be the last. I am only basing it off of Buffy seasons 1-7, I am not including the Angel arcs, and so that does effect some characters. My criteria: A named character who had some sort of significant arc or memorable role. For example, The Gentlemen are on the list because they were part of one of the most memorable episodes in the series, “Hush”. I did not put Billy “Ford” Fordham on the list because he served more of a significance for an Angel character than he did for a Buffy character.
When I first had this idea, I was excited and, rather foolishly, thought it would be easy. This was a hard list to put together, especially the top 10, so I hope you enjoy it! If there’s something you disagree with or would change, I welcome comments, as long as it’s respectful.
1. Willow Rosenburg/Dark Willow
Played by: Alyson Hannigan
Willow went from shy geek to badass witch who went tried to destroy the world and then awoke all of the Slayers.
She was one of Buffy’s best friends and was also there to take care of Dawn when Buffy died.
2. Xander Harris
Played by: Nicholas Brendon
The only reason Xander isn’t number 1 is that Willow had a killer arc. Xander is the heart of the Scooby Gang and helped to hold the group together.
Xander was also the only one who fought alongside Buffy for seven years without any sort of supernatural help.
3. Faith Lehane
Played by: Eliza Dushku
Faith showed us what could happen to a Slayer that grows up without any sort of support.
She started off kind of bad, then really bad, then ended up redeeming herself, fighting in that final fight.
Her arc and the fact that she proved to be an excellent foil to Buffy is why she’s number 3.
Played by: James Marsters
Spike was a favorite from day 1 as a Big Bad. Like Faith, he switched teams and ended up sacrificing himself at the end.
He’s the only vampire, that we know of, who went and got himself a soul and he did it for Buffy.
Even without a soul, he fought alongside the gang and even shared some nice moments with Dawn and Joyce.
It’s just hard not to like Spike and it’s even harder to put in a few sentences why he should be in the top 5.
5. Rupert Giles
Played by: Anthony Stewart Head
Giles didn’t have much of an arc, but he was a father figure for the group.
The time he spent away from Sunnydale ended up coinciding with the darkest year the gang had, I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Without Giles, the group would have been all sorts of lost.
6. Buffy Summers
Played by: Sarah Michelle Gellar
It’s Buffy! The show would not exist without the Slayer!
She’s a hero, one of the best ones out there and she’s an icon.
She died twice (arguably 3 times) and “She saved the world a lot.”
7. Joyce Summers
Played by: Christine Sutherland
Joyce was Buffy’s mom and the only mother figure we see on the show outside of that one time we saw Willow’s mom.
Everyone loved Joyce and her death hit everyone hard, including Spike.
She was as supportive as she could be of Buffy’s slaying. There’s no reason she doesn’t belong in the top 10.
8. Tara Maclay
Played by: Amber Benson
Tara was a rock for Willow and in different ways, Dawn and Buffy.
Tara was there for Buffy when Joyce died and also there for Dawn when Buffy died.
She started off very shy, but gained confidence throughout the series and even got in an axing in the 6th season.
Like some other characters, it’s hard to put in a few sentences why Tara deserves to be in this spot. I’m still not over her death.
Played by: Emma Caulfield
Vengeance demon turned human turned vengeance demon turned human again.
The first time she became human, it was not what she wanted, but the second time was as a result of wanting to sacrifice her own life to bring a dozen frat boys back to life.
Anya was hilarious and heartbreaking as she tried to understand humanity.
Just thinking about her scenes in “The Body” make you tear up (unless that’s just me).
Played by David Boreanaz
To be honest, the only reason Angel is this high is due to his Angelus side.
I get the whole curse with a soul thing, but Angelus is just a better character.
11. Cordelia Chase
Played by: Charisma Carpenter
If I were factoring in her Angel arc, she would have broken top 10.
She had a killer arc on Angel and her character really developed.
That being said, she was bitchy, popular cheerleader turned less bitchy, less popular Scooby, who helped out the gang when she could have walked away. Okay, maybe I kind of was thinking about where she would end up, but I still think she was one of the best characters just looking at Buffy.
12. Dawn Summers
Played by: Michelle Tratchenberg
Dawn is one of those characters everyone loves to hate, but her character did develop throughout the series.
She went from whiny, obnoxious, teenager to someone who willingly handed over the chance to be a Slayer with little fanfare.
She grew up, and she ended up not being such a terrible character.
13. Jenny Calendar
Played by: Robia LaMorte
The first loved one that we see tragically murdered, if you ignore Jessie in “The Harvest.”
That scene in “Passion” where Giles finds her body is another one that really tugs at the heartstrings.
Played by: Nathan Fillion
Misogynistic preacher who poked Xander’s eye out.
I ranked him this high because he was one of the few characters that was rage inducing, which kinda means they did something right.
15. The Mayor
Played by: Harry Groener
The Mayor had a plan and he ended up being a really good Big Bad.
Played by: Julie Benz
Darla was the first vampire we saw and she left a good impression.
She did have a better arc on Angel but she was a good, albeit short lived, character in Buffy.
Played by: Juilet Landau
Had Drusilla been played by another actress, I’m not sure she would have been as good of a character.
Drusilla was crazy and fun, but she also helped to add to Angel’s back story and show that vampires were somewhat capable of love.
18. The First Evil
Played by: Various actors
The First was a good Big Bad to end the series on.
A non-coporeal, evil that took shape of anyone who died and pretty much could only mess with your head makes for a good character.
Some people may have viewed it as sort of a cop out, but it led to a great end for the show, if nothing else.
19. Turok-Han “Uber Vamps”
Played by: Various actors
Vampires that needed more than just a simple stake? Again, could be seen as a cop out or something hokey, but I thought they were a good character.
Played by: Clare Kramer
She was a scarier, more psychotic, more powerful version of season one Cordelia, and she came with minions and a human alter ego.
She’s one of the better Buffy villains, and was the only god.
21. The Gentlemen
Played by: Various actors
Demons that stole your voice and then your heart?
They made an impression for only being in one episode and were some of the better villains, especially in season four.
22. The Trio (Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew)
Played by: Adam Busch (Warren), Tom Lenk (Andrew), and Danny Strong (Jonathan)
I like The Trio and they were a decent Big Bad, at least until Dark Willow came around.
Separately, they probably could have made it further up the list but as a group, there were just better characters.
Buffy’s crazy mental ward reality did have one thing, the nerds were kind of lame until Warren came unhinged.
Played by: Seth Green
Oz introduced us to werewolves and was also the first member of the Scooby gang, besides Buffy, who became more than human.
That being said, there were just better characters than him.
Played by: Bianca Lawson
Kendra was activated after Buffy died, giving Buffy a chance to have a sister Slayer.
I kind of wish we could have gotten more of Kendra, just without the poor accent.
25. Principal Snyder
Played by: Armin Shimerman
Another character that people loved to hate and I’m not sure anyone was really upset when he was eaten.
26. The Master
Played by: Mark Metcalf
The season one Big Bad who killed the Buffy, he just didn’t do much else.
27. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Played by: Alexis Denisof
Factoring in his Angel arc, Wesley would have landed much higher on this list.
Played by: Sarah Hagan
The only Potential Slayer to come out of Sunnydale, and unfortunately didn’t make it out of the final battle.
Amanda stepped into the role of Potential as easily as Dawn stepped out of it.
Played by: Iyari Limon
A lot of people love to hate Kennedy for her relationship with Willow and for the brat thing she has going on, but she did step up as a Potential and a Slayer.
She was probably very close to being next in line after Faith.
Played by: James C. Leary
Clem is really the first and only demon we get introduced to who is a good guy without magical intervention. Outside of the eating cats, that is.
31. Robin Wood
Played by: D. B. Woodside
As the son of a Slayer, he had the potential for being a good character, just something fell flat.
He provided the bag that should have been passed to Buffy and some extra muscle and his bus driving skills in the finale, that’s about it.
32. Cassie Newton
Played by: Azura Skye
Cassie was a character that demonstrated no matter how hard you try, you can’t save everyone.
She made an impact in the short time she was in the series.
33. Violet (Vi)
Played by: Felicia Day
A Potential that could have probably had a really good story, if we had gotten to know her. She did survive the final battle though, which is a plus.
34. Riley Finn
Played by: Marc Blucas
Another character that started out decent but just went wrong.
35. The First Slayer
Played by: Sharon Ferguson
The First Slayer introduced us to how Slayers came to be, that’s about it.
Played by: Indigo
Another Potential with potential, we just never really got to know her.
All we know is that she was abrasive and survived the final battle.
37. Amy Madison
Played by: Elizabeth Anne Allen
Amy was Willow’s introduction to magic, as well as Willow’s introduction to magic as a drug. She helped Willow’s story along, but that’s it.
Played by: Hinton Battle
Another character who made an impact even though they were just in one episode. He sang, he danced, he forced the Scoobies to deal with their problems.
Played by: Clara Bryant
One of the first Potential’s we meet and one of the first Potential’s to die at Caleb’s hand.
Like the others, she probably would have been cool if we got to know her.
If you’re wondering, the Potentials are on this list because they were important to the seventh season.
40. Harmony Kendall
Played by: Mercedes McNab
Harmony had a good arc on Angel, but on Buffy she was a cheerleader, then Spike’s vampire girlfriend who went rogue. Placing her was kind of hard.
Played by: Kali Rocha
Anya’s demon friend who also happened to be the woman Spike fell in love with when he was human.
She’s here because she helped further other characters arcs.
42. Quentin Travers
Played by: Harris Yulin
The first member of the Watcher’s Council that we meet. The man that pointedout what we already knew, Giles and Buffy had a father/daughter relationship.
43. Ethan Rayne
Played by: Robin Sachs
Visited Sunnydale to cause havoc a few times, but not much of an arc.
44. Deputy Mayor Allan Finch
Played by: Jack Plotnick
The Mayor’s right hand man and the first person that Faith killed.
Without him, Faith would not have gone over the deep end and joined the Mayor.
45. Katrina Silber
Played by: Amelinda Embry
Katrina showed us what a scary, crazy, dude Warren could be.
Played by: Larry Bagby III
Larry was the first openly gay character on the show, who came out with Xander’s help. Unfortunately, he died during graduation.
47. Graham Miller
Played by: Bailey Chase
Graham was one of the only Initiative guys willing to give Buffy half a chance. He helped Riley’s story a bit, but that’s it.
48. Mr. Trick
Played by: K. Todd Freeman
Mr. Trick had the potential to be a really good Big Bad, he just died a little too soon for that.
49. Forrest Gates
Played by: Leonard Roberts
Another Initiative guy, except he actively tried to get Riley to dump Buffy.
Played by: George Hertzberg
The most disappointing Big Bad’s in the series.
The only good thing about him was that to destroy him, Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles redefined team work.
He had potential to be a good character, I’m not sure what happened.
51. Maggie Walsh
Played by: Lindsay Crouse
Crazy psych teacher with potential, but just didn’t amount to much.
52. The Anointed One
Played by: Andrew J. Ferchland
Worst on the list goes to the “annoying one.”
There is a reason Spike called him that, he served no real purpose and was kind of a waste of a vampire kid.