For some fans, the “will they, won’t they” nature of the romantic leads is the best part of any TV show. Ross and Rachel from Friends, Jim and Pam from The Office, Bones and... Mr Bones... from the TV show Bones, all classics. Yet for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, things were always a little different. For starters, this wasn’t your average “Boy meets Girl” situation, Angel was a centuries-old Vampire. And Buffy? Well, she was the Slayer.
Once they got past that little hurdle, though, they had the issue that Angel couldn’t experience a moment of true happiness without losing the soul he was cursed with and reverting back to the bloodthirsty monster he was before. After that, things just weren’t the same, and besides, Angel had a spin-off show to promote. As the show continued without Angel, Buffy had a few relationships before Spike came along and truly filled the gap left behind by Angel. The Vampire bad boy (Buffy definitely has a type) did such a good job of becoming Buffy’s new beau that fans ever since have debated over just who is the right man for the titular Vampire Slayer. Was it Angel, the champion with a soul, or was it Spike, the bleach-haired bad boy?
16 ANGEL IS HER FIRST LOVE
No matter if the guy was a vampire or a couple hundred years old (or both), you never forget your first love. Angel will always be Buffy’s first, and that’s a bond that can’t ever be broken. Sure, he may have lost his soul, tortured and murdered her friends and was killed (by Buffy) in order to avert the apocalypse, but still, they’ll always be close.
Spike may be Buffy’s current, but he’ll always be compared to the love that taught her what love means, and that’s Angel. The early seasons of the show were the best, and part of that was the sexual tension between Buffy and Angel, and seeing their forbidden relationship develop. It’s also what made their eventual break-up so devastating, and why things would never be the same for Buffy after Angel left.
15 SPIKE IS THE ULTIMATE BAD BOY
Angel may be Buffy’s first, but his stoic, brooding act came off a lot like moping in the shadows. Sometimes a girl just needs a bad boy who knows how to have fun, and Spike definitely fits that bill. The bleach-blonde British Vampire made his debut in the Season 2 episode “School Hard,” and for a good few seasons was a major recurring antagonist for Buffy and the Scooby gang.
It wasn’t until Season 4 when Spike, newly implanted with a chip in his brain that prevented him from committing violence, started to (reluctantly) work for the side of good. As the seasons progressed, Buffy and Spike grew closer, and although their relationship was never exactly healthy, it was intense in a way that Buffy and Angel never were.
14 ANGEL SACRIFICED HIS SOUL FOR BUFFY
When we first learned that Angel wasn’t just a mysterious helper in the shadows, but a full-blown Vampire, the question about why exactly he was helping the good guys was inevitably asked. The answer was due to a Romani spell over a hundred years prior, one that cursed the immortal monster with a soul, so that he can experience the overwhelming guilt for all the terrible acts he committed as the twisted Angelus.
A secondary layer to the curse was that if Angel ever experienced a moment of true happiness, he would lose his soul and return to his evil Vampiric form, something that happened when he and Buffy first spent the night together. Their love was so intense, their happiness so pure, that Angel’s very soul was forfeit. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best idea, but young love cannot be denied.
13 BUFFY MADE SPIKE A BETTER PERSON
When Spike first fell in love with Buffy (although some would say “unhealthy obsession” is more appropriate) he was a full-blown Vampire without a soul or a care in the world. Well, apart from the chip in his head that stopped him from succumbing to his more evil urges that is.
The point is, unlike Angel who’d had his soul returned to him, Spike was still essentially an evil dude when he decided to turn his back on the dark side and work with the Scoobies for the greater good. He always moaned about it and played the part of the reluctant hero, but the truth is that his love for Buffy made him want to be a better person, and it’s that love that led to him fighting (and ultimately dying) for what was right.
12 BUFFY'S LOVE BROUGHT ANGEL BACK FROM THE DEAD
After having his soul torn away from him and reverting to his evil ways, Angel -- now Angelus -- set about a plan to awaken the demon Acathla and bring about the apocalypse. Buffy saved the day, but only by killing Angelus, her former love, with a sword through the heart. Simultaneously, however, Willow and the rest of the Scooby gang had returned his soul to him, but it was just late enough so that Buffy could do nothing but continue with her plan, murdering Angel to save the world.
Now completely broken, Buffy returned to where Angel died and placed the ring he gave her on the floor as a gesture of her love. Inexplicably, moments later, Angel returned to life, spat out of whatever hell he was in and back in the land of the living, purely because of Buffy’s love.
11 SPIKE AND BUFFY'S PASSION WRECKED A HOUSE
It would be something of an understatement to say that Spike and Buffy’s relationship in Season 6 was an unhealthy one. After Buffy was ripped from a heaven-like afterlife (following her sacrifice at the end of Season 5), she returned with an understandable amount of emotional trauma at now being back in this violent, imperfect world.
How she coped with that trauma was the central focus of Season 6, and one of the ways it manifested was in a self-destructive yet intense relationship with Spike. This powerful bond reached its peak when they literally destroyed an entire house as they made love in the episode "Smashed." It was a moment where the metaphor for their unhealthy, destructive lust for each other overwhelmed the narrative in a spectacular fashion, and became a defining moment of the season.
10 ANGEL IS TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME
Looks aren’t everything, but when you look as handsome as David Boreanaz, they certainly don’t hurt. When Buffy first laid eyes on Angel back at the beginning of Season 1, there was an instant attraction. His smouldering good looks, mixed with his mysterious nature and touch of the bad boy aesthetic, made him an instant hit with both Buffy and fans everywhere.
He’s the very definition of the tall, dark and handsome love interest, and as his appearances on the show increased, so did our love for the brooding Vampire with a soul. The first season episode “Angel” introduced us fully to his Vampiric past and the curse he was placed under, and while it’s true he used to be evil, his later attempts to right the wrongs of his former life just endeared him to us more.
9 SPIKE REGAINED HIS SOUL FOR BUFFY
Spike’s obsession with Buffy started off extremely creepy. Aside from roleplaying as Vampire/Vampire Slayer with his current squeeze Harmony, Spike also went out of his way to acquire a robot clone of Buffy to use for his own unmentionable needs. As ultimate relationship goals, this guy is not even on the list.
Despite this, they began a relationship over time, although it was mutually destructive. In time, Buffy attempted to call it off, and in retaliation Spike attempted to force himself onto her. This disgusted and horrified Buffy. Disgusted with himself, Spike fled Sunnydale for Africa, where he sought a shaman who could restore his soul in a way to become a better person for Buffy. While this will never make up for his previous deeds, regaining his soul was a big move, and in the years to come, Spike would prove himself a better person to Buffy.
8 ANGEL AND BUFFY SHARED A PERFECT DAY
For fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was great news when it was announced that there would be a spin-off show starring Angel, even if that meant he’d no longer be in the main show. The show Angel evolved through its five seasons into a very different experience to Buffy, but excellent in its own right.
One of the best episodes came early in Season 1, called “I Will Remember You,” where Buffy joined Angel in Los Angeles to track down a Mohra Demon. When Angel dealt the killing blow, he was infected by the demon’s blood, which turned him human. This sudden change back to being mortal gave he and Buffy lots to think about, and in response they shared a perfect day and night in what they hoped would be the start of a wonderful future together.
7 SPIKE SACRIFICED HIS LIFE FOR BUFFY
The series finale of Buffy was an action-packed two-parter that saw a few fan favorite characters die (R.I.P Anya, never forget) and ended with the status quo of the entire world changed forever. With the defeat of The First -- an apocalyptic evil that birthed all other evil in the world -- Buffy had ensured that she was no longer the only Slayer in the world. Instead, any young woman with the potential to become a Slayer, gained those powers instantly, creating an all-new Slayer army.
All of this was only made possible, however, by the sacrifice of Spike, who came to the end of his character arc in the only way he could. In the fight with The First under Sunnydale, the powerful amulet around Spike’s neck explodes with blue flame, channelling sunlight through his soul and destroying the Hellmouth, turning Spike to ash in the process.
6 ANGEL SACRIFICED HIS HUMANITY FOR BUFFY
Following a successful fight with a Mohra demon in the Angel Season 1 episode “I Will Remember You,” the blood of the demon mixes with Angel’s, turning the Vampire with a soul permanently into a human. This change meant that Buffy and Angel could finally be together in a way that they couldn’t be before.
Following a perfect night spent together, this happiness was not meant to last. Angel soon discovered that by becoming human, he had sacrificed any chance he had at continuing his superheroic mission. In order to continue to fight the good fight, he convinced the Oracles to wind back time to before his fight with the Mohra, and before the perfect day he shared with Buffy. This heartbreaking decision was made worse by the fact that only he will ever remember the time they spent together.
5 SPIKE PROTECTED BUFFY'S SISTER WHEN SHE DIED
Spike and Buffy’s relationship may not have gotten off to the best of starts, but over time Spike demonstrated that he truly did care for the Vampire Slayer and the entire Scooby gang, frequently stepping in to help when the situation got especially dire.
His affection for Buffy stretched to her younger sister Dawn, although that affection was in more of a protective big brother way. Despite Buffy not trusting Spike -- and despite Spike kidnapping her -- Buffy came to understand and respect Spike’s affection after he withstood intense torture in order to protect her and Dawn. Following this, Buffy gave him the duty of being Dawn’s official protector, something that both Xander and Giles objected to. However, it was a duty that Spike carried out especially after Buffy died, providing one of the strangest but most enjoyable bonds to be found on the show.
4 ANGEL ALWAYS PROTECTED HER, EVEN BEFORE THEY MET
Ever since the earliest episodes of the series, Angel had always been there to lend a hand or some cryptic advice to buffy in times of need. He always showed a desire to protect her even though, as the Slayer, she was more than capable of looking after herself.
This desire to protect her stretched back earlier than their first official meeting on the show. In flashbacks it was revealed that he had been observing her ever since she initially gained her powers, becoming increasingly inspired by her spirit and her attitude. His observations of her had so affected him, that it snapped him out of his depression (caused by the fact that he had regained his soul) and encouraged him to move to Sunnydale in order to aid her in her fight against the Master.
3 SPIKE SAW (AND LOVED) BUFFY AT HER WORST
It’s one thing to know and love Buffy during her formative years in Sunnydale, to be there and fight by her side during some of her greatest triumphs like Angel did, but Spike’s relationship came at a very different time in the Slayer’s life. While Spike and Buffy grew closer before she died, after her resurrection at the start of Season 6, their bond took on a whole new turn.
Before their relationship turned toxic and mutually abusive, Buffy found that Spike was the only one she could confide in about her trauma. Her friends returned her to life thinking it was the best thing to do, except they had ripped her out of heaven, leaving her a self destructive mess. Spike’s love for her meant that he stayed by her side, being the one to confide in and comfort her through the hardest time in her life.
2 ANGEL AND BUFFY'S PASSION SPAWNED A UNIVERSE
It’s not many people who can say that their love can give birth to a brand new universe, but that’s exactly what happened between Buffy and Angel in the first Season of the show to take place in comics, after the series had ended.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 is filled with highs and lows, and while the season overall was an entertaining one, the convoluted and frankly baffling ending left a bad taste in some people’s mouths. Angel had been manipulated by a higher being into becoming the Big Bad, forcing the universe to gift Buffy with even greater power, until they were both like gods... gods who then proceeded to make love as part of the plans of the real evil being, named Twilight. This doesn’t even cover how bonkers those final issues get, but Buffy and Angel’s love has always been intense.
1 SPIKE AND BUFFY HAVE A MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP
By now, the canonical comics seasons have gotten to the end of Season 11, and going into that latest season you find a very different status quo for Buffy and the Scoobies. For one thing, Giles is now a teenager following his death at the hands of Angel/Twilight and subsequent resurrection. Then there’s Xander’s relationship with Dawn, something that gets creepier when you remember the age difference in the show.
One thing that’s been fascinating to see, however, is just how Spike and Buffy’s relationship has developed. It’s safe to say that their bond has grown and their love for each other has evolved in a very well written way, to the point where they were both seen to be working hard at an effective and meaningful relationship.