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Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Spike is Better than Angel

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is 39 dvds and approximately... well... I honestly don't know how many hours, but it was a big chunk of my life! then you may want to skip this post. You should know that I'll be giving some things away. I didn't spend that much time glued to my television to not talk about everything Buffy! So beware and if you don't want me to ruin it for you, then read another post, there should be plenty to choose from. If you aren't a Buffy fan, I highly recommend it. It's THE best vampire series that ever was or EVER WILL BE.

I should let you know that I am a total fanpire of most things undead, but Buffy is the icon. All other vampire tales should aspire to be a fraction of what it was. Twilight, schmilight... Buffy is the best!

I'm sure that most people are familiar with David Boreanaz because of his co-starring role in Bones on FOX. He's pretty good in that and he was good in Buffy as well. And lets face it, he's easy on the eyes. For those of you who don't know, he played Angel & Angelis, two sides of the same coin. Angel the tortured vampire with a soul was Buffy's true love. He has two names because essentially he played the "good" and "evil" versions of the same character.
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Spike came into the show later and was the complete anti-Angel. Spike was played by James Marsters and he did it brilliantly. He had to dawn nearly transparent bleach-blonde spiky hair, a British accent and a killer wit (pun totally intended). He was also a vampire of course, but wasn't cursed with a soul as Angel was.

Now, in the beginning of the show, I fell for Angel like every girl who watched him brood his way into Buffy's heart. He was tall dark and handsome, a vampire to boot, a cool celtic tattoo and he had incredible hair! He was cursed by a gypsy after he killed everyone in the gypsy camp save one lone and powerful gypsy woman...  Basically, when one becomes a vampire, the soul disappears. We don't really know where it goes, but it's not incorporated in the being anymore. The gypsy's curse installed the soul back into the body of Angelis the vampire, creating Angel, still a vampire, but now tortured, brooding and adorable. Why is this important? Well, when Angel got his soul back, I remind you he was cursed with it, he had to feel all of the torture, killing and mayhem that he'd done prior to that, which evidently was a pretty long and horrible list. Without a soul, there is no conscience to make you feel bad about what you've done. With a soul, you feel terrible about it. To feel better, he started fighting on the side of the good guys against other vampires, demons and things that go bump in the night. Hoping that one day he would do enough good deeds to erase his guilt.

Spike on the other hand, wasn't cursed with his soul. He was 100% bad-ass vampire, had killed a couple of slayers in his time (which is evidently a big deal) and wore a black leather duster and combat boots to finish the persona. In the beginning, his only goal was to kill the slayer... well he drank a lot and fornicated as well, but isn't that what I meant by "bad-ass"?  I won't go into the whole back story but basically through some twisty turns in fate, Spike starts having an affair with Buffy, does something reprehensible, regrets it and journeys to hell or some other dark dimension to retrieve his soul. Yep, he purposefully went to get his soul back!

Why is this important? Well, first Angel was cursed, he wouldn't have chosen to have his soul back. Spike not only chose it, he went through a series of "kick your ass" trials to get it back! He nearly died getting it back. You may ask why he did this. Love. Of course. Spike loved Buffy, felt terrible about what he did, and wanted to be worthy of her. Did you hear that? Spike felt bad BEFORE he got his soul back. Hmmmmmmmmm. Now that's interesting. Even without a soul, Spike felt bad!

Now there are little things that I love about Spike's character. I enjoyed his wit for instance. I love British humor and James Marsters played a natural Brit... but James Marsters is actually American. His accent in the show was completely fictitious and it was nearly flawless. I went through several seasons before I found out that the accent wasn't actually real! That in itself is amazing. Generally, you can tell when an American tries to fake British... see Madonna. I also love the character because he was a full speed ahead, all risk, take no prisoners, 150% in with everything he had kind of guy. How can you not love that kind of enthusiasm? He was also funny and that is an essential immortal boyfriend quality.
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So, let's see... Spike had killer wit, a conscience without having to have a soul, was good in a fight, was Buffy's match in every way and was willing to die for her. Well, that's my argument. Angel's pretty to look at, but he's no Spike!

If you're a Buffy fan, I would love to hear your opinion. I think Joss Whedon is absolutely brilliant and I've loved Buffy, Angel, & Firefly... not a big fan of Dollhouse.


  1. Lori, thanks for introducing me to the Buffy universe a few years ago - and thanks for sharing with me the laughter, tears, magic and Numfar's dances while I watched it and called during several episodes :)
    Another Spike fan in Iowa

  2. Oh definitely. Though I don't hate Angel, I've always hated how Angel is treated as Joss' pet while Spike is kicked like a dog over and over. Spike is a much better person and vampire than Angel will EVER be.

  3. I totally agree. I think the way he (JW) played it was brilliant though. It makes you think about the evolution of actions,conscience etc. I did however get a little miffed at Buffy for not wholeheartedly loving him back!!! :)

  4. Oh my god, yes yes yes! I am well aware I am overly invested in these shows - hey, took up 50% of my brain space as a teenager, it's this big old room in my brain that I like to revisit because it's comfy and warm and familiar. Anyway - over the years I've come to realize how much better a person Spike actually is - better yet, that one could actually argue that Angel was kind of an asshole. Spike was a kind, tortured man before he lost his soul, he was fairly average in terms of cruelty as a vampire - mostly focused on impressing Dru and competing with Angelus - and he asked for his soul back himself. Angelus - well, Liam - was a shitty person before he lost his soul, he was renowned for his cruelty as a vampire, his soul was FORCED back in... and mind you, even after his soul was restored he did some pretty questionable things. The whole arc where he loses Connor; I understand that that was meant to say "someone who thought he'd never have children loses his child and his mind with it", but unfortunately that is a true fate of many people in life, and they don't all go around trying to kill people over it. He lost Connor, tried to kill Wesley, would have happily killed anyone else in the process - because he has started believing in his own hero status and thinks he is above good and evil. Angel is still a pretty shitty person, even with his soul shoved back down his throat.