Quibbling Siblings – Spike vs. Angel
Every week brother and sister team Bob and Debbie take on a new topic and debate. This week, the eternal 'Buffy' question: Angel or Spike.
For the inaugural installment of our debate column, Debbie and I decided to take on one of the quintessential arguments that revolves around one of our favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Who was the better character, Spike or Angel? Overin our vampire poll Spike is kicking the stuffing out of Angel, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that both Debbie and I came down on the side of Captain Peroxide.
For me this is a no-brainer. It’s Spike all day, everyday and twice on Sunday. He was a vastly more entertaining (and dare I say interesting) character than Angel. He wasn’t the whiny, broody self-hating vamp that Angel was so much of the time. He was funny, morally ambiguous a lot of the time, and didn’t need to lose his soul to become a bad ass. Angel certainly became a much better character when he branched out to his own show, but he and Buffy always kind of annoyed me.
I know a lot of ladies prefer the sappy love that Buffy and Angel had, but I really appreciate the depth and complexity of the Spike / Buffy relationship. I think it was a more adult couple for a more adult Buffy in the later seasons of the show. Angel was akin to puppy love for me. It was totally saccharine, in my opinion. Spike and Buffy, though, that was passion and angst and lust. It made for better TV, if you ask me.
I have to agree with you that the Buffy / Angel relationship was mostly eye-rolling. At first it was a bit exciting; after all, they did blaze new territory (well, maybe nothing that Dark Shadows didn’t do). And it was worth it for moments like the dance with Angelus in season two’s “I Only Have Eyes for You” and when she stabbed him into hell at the end of season two (“Becoming”).
The good thing about Angel is the way he played off of the other characters in his own show (oh, and the time he became human because that was some of the best writing / acting, truly standout: “I Will Remember You,” season 1, episode 8), especially Doyle and Wesley. The fact that he would occasionally turn into Angelus and make us all grip the edge of our seats was fairly awesome as well.
But Spike was the man … or the vamp, as the case may be. It was a privilege to watch him wrestle with his feelings, his love for Buffy, his soul, all of it. And when he popped up on Angel he breathed new life into the series. Spike was a magical character, one of the special ones that you’ll only meet a handful of times in your TV-viewing life.
Okay, see, I totally thought that you were an Angel lover. I guess that’s the other sister. In any case, it’s clear that we pretty much agree on the issue. There’s nothing wrong with Angel (there were even times that I liked his show better than Buffy), but there was definitely something special with Spike.
Spike had a really nice character arc throughout his time on Buffy too. Angel was pretty much Angel all the time (unless he was Angelus of course). There were lots of different Spikes, all of them great: the slightly pathetic, crazy villain of season two and three; the neutered, comic relief of season four and five; the complicated love interest of season six; and the tortured vampire with a soul (the other tortured vampire with a soul) and anti-hero of season seven.
There’s a lot I like about Angel (and David Boreanaz) but I tell ya, when he chose to love, he really knew how to pick ‘em. A slayer, Cordelia, Connor? I liked him better broody! I do think the other sister is a bit of a fangirl … not that there’s anything wrong with that….
The viewers just spent eight years watching Angel trying to get over himself. Redemption doesn’t have to be self-deprecating … see Spike.
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Where do you guys come down on the issue?