Over the seven seasons that Buffy the Vampire Slayer shocked and delighted fans, The Slayer and her allies celebrated many victories against their supernatural enemies. Their triumphs were not without tragedy, however, as characters both integral to the series plot or simply integral to a single episode sacrificed their lives fighting against the forces of evil. With a parade of characters that were recurring cast members and special guest stars, the spontaneity of the storylines ensured that conflict and tension could be created with a character death at any time. Some would be missed, others notsomuch.
Some characters were beloved by fans from the moment they brightened their television screens, while some took several seasons to love. Some started as villains and became heroes, while others started as heroes and became villains. Some even started as villains and...stayed villains, but their performances were so entertaining and memorable that they were missed even as fans cheered their destruction. There were also those characters that when they finally died, fans cried “good riddance!” and were only too happy to see them stop wasting precious air time at the expense of better ones. Some characters fans will always miss (and continue to do so), while some couldn’t be killed off fast enough.
15 MISS: TARA MACLAY
No, not Tara! For every viewer that loved Willow, there were just as many that came to love her partner Tara, a shy yet powerful witch that first appeared in the show’s Emmy-nominated hit “Hush” in season four and stayed until her untimely demise in season six when she was killed by a bullet meant for Buffy. Consumed by the loss of her love, Willow became the ultimate villain of season six by succumbing to the use of dark magic.
In the three seasons she was in, Tara helped nurture Willow to be a strong, capable witch who wielded her powers wisely to aid Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang, and was often a voice of reason and sound judgment. Her calming presence amidst a chaotic group of strong personalities would be sorely missed.
14 DON'T: JENNY CALENDAR
Imagine coming home to a trail of roses leading from the door up to the bedroom, with the promise of your girlfriend sprawled beyond the door. This is exactly what happened to Giles in season three, except when he found his girlfriend, she was dead. When Angelus discovered her lineage traced back to the Romani gypsies that cursed him, he killed her, depriving not only Giles of his great love, but also the Scooby Gang of a valuable researcher.
For a series centered around the lives of teenagers (especially those that battled demons and vampires), there were few prominent adults that weren’t evil. Beyond mentors like Giles or Buffy’s mom Joyce, Jenny was an invaluable resource and a good role model. The fans mourned her loss just as much as Giles.
13 MISS: JONATHAN LEVINSON
Despite being a part of the villainous Trio that caused The Slayer and her friends no shortage of problems in seasons five and six, Jonathan had a good heart and an infectious sense of humor. When his friend and fellow member of the Trio, Andrew, made him a human sacrifice towards the end of season six, fans that may have disliked the group’s intentions ultimately didn’t want to see Jonathan die and leave the show.
When Jonathan was first introduced, we learned it was Buffy who prevented him from committing suicide by jumping off the roof of Sunnydale High. He was a character who popped up in numerous spots throughout the series, always with memorable contributions. Perhaps his best involved creating an alternate universe, in which he made himself the central character. His accomplishments included starring in The Matrix, inventing the internet, and beating all sorts of uber powerful enemies.
12 DON'T: NIKKI WOOD
When Spike spends a memorable evening regaling Buffy with stories of his Slayer-killing days, one of the two he’s known to have taken out was a Slayer by the name of Nikki Wood. A punk-rock looking Spike first encountered her in a New York City subway train in 1977. She has a black leather trench coat, a full fro, and a tough attitude. They fight. After he kills her, he removes her trench coat and proceeds to make it one of his defining articles of clothing.
Believe it or not, Nikki Wood held the longest reign as The Slayer, lasting a whopping... seven years. Her entire narrative purpose was to drive her son Robin Wood into seeking revenge for his mother’s death by staking Spike. And providing his coat.
11 MISS: JOYCE SUMMERS
Though one would think anyone close to The Slayer would be a target for termination by all manner of demons, vampires, or evil spirits, the death of her mother happened in a completely natural way. In season five’s “The Body”, Buffy returns home one day to find her mother lying on the couch, her eyes wide open, her body rigid. The episode centers around each member of the Scooby Gang recounting how much she affected their lives, and what they should do about “the body”.
Joyce was more than the mother of The Slayer; she was the mother of the whole Scooby Gang. She was also a friend, a confidante, a mentor, and a source of solemn strength for anyone in moments of turmoil that came to the Summers house. For a series that dealt mostly with teenagers, she was never not a “cool” adult.
10 DON'T: MOLLY
The First Evil of season seven becomes the most dangerous villain that Buffy has ever faced, and realizing that his armies are being replenished by the sinister serial killer Caleb, means she’ll need some reinforcements of her own. She converts her house into what amounts to a ninja sorority, and selects gifted girls to train as slayers and take her place if something should happen to her.
The first of the Potentials to slay a vampire during a training exercise in a crypt, the only other distinguishing aspect of Molly is that she has a cockney accent. Caleb makes fast work of her in the season finale, and fans were not as sad to see her go as some of the other Potentials like Amanda, who may have been less extroverted but had a bigger character arc.
9 MISS: SPIKE
Arguably the person with the most character development on the series aside from The Chosen One herself, Spike began as a villain and ended a hero. When he appeared in Sunnydale in season two, he was an annoying vampire hooligan with a snazzy leather trench coat and Billy Idol hair. By season four, he was a begrudging ally to the Scoobies, and by season five, he was romantically involved with Buffy herself and firmly fighting for Good.
In season seven, Spike went on a personal journey to reclaim his soul. He thought it would cement his love for Buffy and prove to her he wasn’t a monster. The end result made him the sort of man that could sacrifice himself to save humanity. The only way fans dealt with the loss of Spike was knowing the series was over (though he did get to be resurrected over on Angel).
8 DON'T: KATRINA SILBER
The love interest of Warren Mears, eventual leader of the evil Trio, Katrina Silber was a beautiful, promising engineering student before she met her untimely death. Unfortunately, she didn’t have much of a personality, or get much character development, beyond being the sole focus of his obsessive tendencies. While she’s busy designing monorails, he’s designing life-like “love bots”. His latest creation, April, becomes jealous of Katrina and tries to attack her, causing Katrina to get the hint that her boyfriend is a creep that should be left to his own devices.
When Warren uses a drug to make Katrina his pet a year later, not even Buffy can protect her from the aftermath. Though she eventually is able to withstand the drug, Katrina tries to make her escape once and for all but falls down some stairs and gets hit over the head with a champagne bottle by Warren.
7 MISS: AMANDA
Of all the young slayer Potentials that Buffy recruited and trained, Amanda was one of the young women that stood out the most. An awkward and gangly teen, she had come to Buffy during her stint as a guidance counselor at Sunnydale High. Unaware of her worth as a Chosen One, she wanted to address her problems with bullies in class and discuss her abusive relationship. Buffy advised her to stand up for herself, and realize her own self-worth.
When she began being attacked by vampires and Willow enacted a locator spell, it was determined she was a Potential and should be trained to be the Chosen One in case anything happened to Buffy. She moved into Buffy’s house and trained under her authority, following her into battle against the First Evil in the series finale and falling to a Turok-Han vampire.
6 DON'T: WARREN MEARS
So it turns out that the most terrifying villain in all of Buffydom is supernerd Warren Mears, not because he's supernaturally gifted but because he's human -- a cold blooded killer who meets his death in the most satisfying of ways. After shooting Tara in the heart with a bullet meant for Buffy, he incurs the wrath of a heartbroken Willow. Devastated at the loss of her lover, she vows to hunt Warren down.
When she finally catches up with him, despite the pleas of the Scooby Gang, she flays his flesh from his body and leaves him to rot. Long considered the most docile and understanding of the group, it was shocking to see Willow so ruthless, but the brutality of his death proved how much Tara had meant to her. And she made sure there was one less conniving, sexist, murdering creep in the process.
5 MISS: ANYA JENKINS
Anya was a character you either loved or hated. This was because her matter-of-fact personality caused her to take everything literally, which was either hilarious or headache inducing. Being a former vengeance demon who helped people realize their revenge in season three, it took her time to adjust to being mortal and helping the Scooby Gang fight other supernatural creatures.
Though she wasn’t always aware of normal human social interaction, it became part of her charm. Her candor became a foil for the goofiness of Xander Harris, whom she fell in love with, and the source of much comic relief. She died in the chaotic battle that erupted against the First Evil during the series finale, in a manner as shockingly abrupt as her personality. Many fans felt she deserved a more reverent demise.
4 DON'T: ANNE PRATT
In her human life, Anne Pratt served the purpose of making William The Bloody a mama’s boy who was pandering and pathetic. In her undead life, she served to make him a raging monster who would later assume the vampire name of Spike. The flashback scenes in “Lies My Parents Told Me” involving her show Spike as the cowardly William Pratt, a sensitive poet whose verse is mocked by the village townspeople. Her support and encouragement didn’t do anything to inspire him to stand up to their ridicule.
Only once he is turned into a vampire by his sire Drusilla can he ever feel confident and powerful. When his mother catches tuberculosis, he makes her a vampire to cheat death. She proves to be as abusive and derisive as the townspeople, forcing Spike to stake her. No one was disappointed in his actions.
3 MISS: CALEB
Nathan Fillion once auditioned for the role of Buffy’s first lover Angel, but instead got the male lead in Joss Whedon’s other fantasy project Firefly. In season seven, however, he did appear as a psychotic preacher by the name of Caleb. Handsome and effortlessly charming, Fillion put his acting trademarks to good use and created a villain that fans loved to hate.
Caleb was a man of faith and also a serial killer, working under the First Evil as an emissary of death. Possessing a way with words, his silver tongued sermons won over the hearts of large swaths of Sunnydale who, under his direction, would attack Buffy, the Scooby Gang, and her group of young slayer Potentials at his command. When he died, fans couldn’t help but wish he had been a recurring villain throughout the series.
2 DON'T: ANGEL
While some fans regarded Buffy’s romance with Angel to be a poignant part of the series, others saw it as trite. Angel may be tall, dark, and brooding, but he’s also controlling and emotionally manipulative. A big wet blanket when it comes to fun, he’s plagued with guilt over having a soul. Thanks to a gypsy curse from hundreds of years ago, if he has even one moment of happiness he’ll lose his soul and be a heartless vampire fiend forever. When he shares a night of passion with Buffy, that’s just what he becomes.
This naturally means Buffy will have to kill him. She believes that him being in his vampire form “Angelus” will soften the blow of having to drive a stake through his heart. Unfortunately for the two of them, he reverts back to being Angel right before she kills him, but the series survives without him.
1 MISS: GLORY
While some fans are only sad when heroes pass away, others can’t help but want to see more of the villains that don’t make it. While Buffy has gone up against a variety of villains each memorable in their own way, Glory was by far one of the most entertaining. A goddess from another dimension whose sanity threatened to break at any moment, the only way she could survive was to drain victims of their own, which left them insane.
Technically “Glory” was only a vessel for the interdimensional demon, but what a vessel it was! A curvaceous fiery redhead with a penchant for mini skirts, short dresses, and stripper heels, one minute she could be sweet, and one minute she could be savage. Her manic energy was missed when Buffy dispatched her in season five.