Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel are still regarded by fans as two of the most imaginative and ingenious genre shows ever to air on television. They are both known for amazing characterization. These people might be demons, witches or slayers, but they go through things that everybody can relate to. They grow and change over the course of the show. And yet, there are more than a few characters who are just outright despised by the fans.
But why? Buffy is a show to represent all kinds of people, so maybe there are just personality types in that universe that rub people the wrong way. Not everyone loves a comic relief character, as you will see below.
Then there’s the fact that Buffy fans, like fans of any show, all have their ships. When a new love interest is introduced, they’re not always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Some of those opinions changed as time went on, and people began to warm up to them, but far too many did not.
Dawn’s a big one, Dawn’s the one that inspired the list and is the first one that comes to people’s mind as the most hated character on the show. Her introduction made people stop watching the show. Dawn was a young teenager when introduced and people complained about her being too whiney. But, being a mystical interdimensional key sent to Buffy in the form of a sister, she had a lot to deal with. Including her mother’s death. By the final season, she was proven a smart, resourceful, capable human heroine in her own right.
Andrew was one of the most hated characters from one of the most hated seasons, and people were not happy he was going to stick around for the final year, even if he attempted to redeem himself. Yes, he was an accomplice to some really bad shit, but a lot of that was due to his Harley Quinn-esque obsession with his “boss” Warren. Even by the end of the show, he’s not a great person, but he’s an interesting one and he is trying to figure out what the right thing is and how to live in the real world.
Man, do people hate Riley. But, while Riley is not totally deserving of love, he’s not really deserving of hate either. Riley was the Captain America of the Buffy Universe, kind of a whitebread straight-laced superhero. Yeah, he had some issues at first, like a lot of guys, where he was pretty stuck in his ways as it pertains to gender roles. But eventually his character became much smarter than he’s typically given credit for. By the end of his run on the show, he’d begun to see that he and Buffy should not be together. He starts to realize that she does not love him like he loves her and that she never had.
People tend to forget this now, but when Oz was introduced on the show he was immediately hated. Fans wanted Xander and Willow to get together after what they felt was a full season of build-up in the show’s first year. When it was confirmed he would be Willow’s love interested, they flipped out. Whedon had to write a scene in Becoming specifically to address that hatred, a scene designed to get people on his side, and it was the first time Oz started to gain any fans at all.
Xander has a lot of detractors. I didn’t realize this until I took a semester-long college course on the show and the professor hated him with a burning passion. That was when I started defending Xander sometimes. Of course there are certain decisions he made that are indefensible. But in being the backbone of the show and its representation of humanity, Xander became a sometimes brutally human character. He appeals to the best aspects and the worst aspects of people, but there are some moments when he completely comes through and in those moments, he absolutely shines.
I totally understand the hatred for Illyria when she was introduced on Angel. She killed a beloved, amazing character and walked around wearing her body. It’s hard to warm up to a person like that. And it’s a testament to the writing that I really did grow to like her. Illyria was a god without a kingdom who woke up in the wrong century and had to deal with being stuck in a world she had absolutely no place in. She was an amazingly complex character and it’s incredible how much of an arc she had in just a few short episodes before the show’s cancellation.
The character of Spike came in to represent the Angel haters even before he and Buffy got together. While some people couldn’t stand to see Angel and Buffy apart, plenty couldn’t stand to see them together, either. Some of the eye-rolling toward Angel is understandable. He pretty much became a standard trope of all vampire media and fiction to follow. But while I didn’t necessarily love him on Buffy, he shined on his own series, which got to take the piss out of him and treat him with a much needed sense of humor.
Casual fans just seem to hate the character of Buffy Summers, more often than not. I’ve talked to so many people who have tried to watch the show, maybe went through the first couple seasons, but said that while they loved the other characters they couldn’t stand Buffy. She whines too much, she’s so full of herself, etc. But I completely disagree. Buffy Summers is my hero. I may have been a boy and wasn’t Sarah Michelle Gellar pretty when I was watching the show as a teen but I related to the things Buffy was going through so much. She has the weight on the world on her shoulders. She might whine from time to time but she’s earned that right. And it never stops her from doing the right thing.