Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#23: Lindsey

Lindsey is, interestingly, the only character apart from Angel himself to appear in both the first and the final episode of Angel – a fact that might make the Wolram & Hart lawyer appear to be more central to the show than he truly is. Though he can carry the title of 'Angel's arch-nemesis' as well as anyone else on the show, his character is of importance only to three of the show's five seasons: the first, second and fifth. For someone whose presence looms over the show, it's odd to think he appeared in only twenty-one episodes.

Still, Lindsey is one of only two recurring characters to actually be introduced in the series début “City Of” (written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt), though it's a minor role of only 233 words. He's then absent for almost the whole of the season before appearing in four of the season's final five episodes, coming it and number four and number five on “Five by Five” and “Sanctuary”, the two Faith episodes, and coming in at #2 on “Blind Date”, in many respects a 'Lindsey episode'. Its 802 word count is Lindsey's highest for the season and second highest overall. With all of the season's minor characters and its limited number of significant characters, a mere five appearances still secures Lindsey a number six ranking on the list of top ten characters for season one.

With almost half of his 21 appearances occurring here, you could really consider Season Two to be 'Lindsey's season', in that he's central to the Darla arc. He actually shows up as the number seven character for the season, one point lower than season one – perhaps because of his ten appearances, six are minor. He ranks number four in “The Trial” and number three in “Darla” and “Blood Money”, but his highest ranking this season, and on the show altogether, is his swan-song (for the time being anyway), “Dead End”, where he ranks number two, having spoken 872 words and sung a further 68, totalling 940. There is no single episode of Angel where Lindsey speaks the most words of all the characters.

Reappearing after 55 episodes with a four-word appearance in “Destiny” ('Well, it's a start'), Lindsey makes six appearances in season five for a #10 finish overall on that crowded season. He ranks number three in “You're Welcome” and “Underneath” and number two in “Soul Purpose” and, surprisingly, “Not Fade Away”: more than any cast member save Angel himself in the series finale. Perhaps he really is more central to the show than I give him credit for. Or perhaps it's a testament to the actor, Christian Kane, and his close friendship with the series' star David Boreanaz.

Anyway, in a shock move reminiscent of Giles killing Ben, Lindsey meets his end being shot point-blank by 'flunky' Lorne on Angel's orders, after seemingly joining Angel's side, with no chance at redemption.
  • Overall ranking: #23
  • Ranking on Angel: #10
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 7469
    • Season 1: 2015 (#6)
    • Season 2: 3122 (#7)
    • Season 5: 2332 (#10)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 21
    • Ranking #2: 4
    • Ranking #3: 4
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 10
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#24: Connor

With such creative and well-thought writing behind them, it's no surprise that the Buffyverse is filled with characters that can bring out strong emotions in the viewer. In the case of Connor, however, the strong emotions in question are not exactly the most positive. In fact, you might say that Connor is in all probability the most disliked character on Angel.

The why has less to do withe the character's back-story, which is fascinating: born a 'miracle child' to two vampires, Angel and Darla, and spending several episodes as a newborn (which are not listed here, since newborn babies rarely have word-counts) before being taken by Angel and Darla's former arch-nemesis Daniel Holtz into a hell dimension called Quor'Toth, where he grows up in a matter of days. That's a story you don't get very often on mainstream TV. It's also not due to Vincent Kartheiser, currently raking up accolades left, right and centre on Mad Men. So it has to be the writing: whiny, insolent, sullen... while these character traits seem to define how teenagers are regularly viewed in the Buffyverse, and while they even make sense given the circumstances of his upbringing, I think they tried the fans' patience, explaining why a character who was a rather significant part of season four (seventh highest character) is all but gone by season five: viewer feedback.

The character first appears, a crying infant engulfed in the dust that used to be his mother, in Tim Minear's “Lullaby”. Ten episodes later, “The Price” (written by Marita Grabiak) introduces us to Connor the teenager, with an impressive two-word total (“Hi, Dad”). To say Connor appears in every episode for the rest of the season is to say little, as there are only three more. Season closer “Tomorrow” is the only time he rises above minor, with 214 words giving him a #5 finish.

Season 4 is Connor's season. Appearing in all 22 episodes but speaking only in 21 of them (he has no lines in “Ground State”), Connor manages 4868 words, two number fives, two number fours, a number three and a number two but no number one finish in the whole season. Interestingly, it's toward the end of the season where his numbers start to increase: “Peace Out”, the final episode of the Jasmine arc and “Home”, the final episode of the season, are wildly different episodes but are of a piece as regards Connor: it's here that the tragic circumstances of his life so far finally catch up with him and drag him down into a violent nihilism. Along the way, Connor's broken English and incomplete sentences have blossomed to 552 words and a #2 finish on “Peace Out” and 470 words and a #3 finish on “Home” - 366 of those words are as Connor himself, 104 words are as the 'recreated' Connor that Angel demands as a term of his accepting the job at Wolfram & Hart.

That Season Four ends with a Connor whose memories have been recreated, who has no knowledge of his previous life with Angel and who lives in suburban contentment, explains his almost-complete absence from Season Five. And yet because most characters get a chance in the Buffyverse to tie up loose ends, a chance for some closure. Connor's came in the Season Five episode “Origin”, and again four episodes away in the series finale “Not Fade Away”. He's a minor character in the action-filled finale, but “Origin” is most definitely a Connor episode, and it gives him what 26 consecutive episodes didn't: a number-one finish, with a 927 word-count. The Season Five Connor is a much more mature and eloquent character – and as a result is more likeable. He survives the series and returns in a more regular role in the “After the Fall” comic book series.
  • Overall ranking: #24
  • Ranking on Angel: #12
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 6677
    • Season 3: 724
    • Season 4: 4868 (#7)
    • Season 5: 1085
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 27
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Ranking #5: 3
    • Minor: 19
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Monday, June 28, 2010

#25: Kate

And now we're into the Top 25. Never actually a 'main character', Officer Kate Lockley still makes it all the way to number five for individual word-counts on Angel season one – number five behind the four characters who were in the cast, making her the season's most substantial 'guest' character. Certainly in the series' early days, when the emphasis on Angel Investigations as a private eye firm was heaviest, Kate felt like a major character, even getting episodes that revolved around her.

Yet by season two, she's dropped on the list to #10, and thereafter she was no more. Elisabeth Röhm's Kate was probably a victim of Angel's initial uncertainty: uncertainty regarding the relationship the writers wanted Kate and Angel to have, and uncertainty regarding the kind of show they wanted it to be. Certainly by seasons three and four, the idea of setting scenes in a police station like a supernatural CSI seemed all but ludicrous; yet, initially it's a rare episode that doesn't have a police station scene.

Kate was introduced in the series' second episode. Initially, that episode would have been called “Corrupt” and would have featured a much darker Kate (addicted to drugs and working undercover as a prostitute). As it was, David Fury's “Lonely Hearts” shows a very different Kate. A very verbose Kate, as it turns out, one whose 761 words give her a third-place ranking for the episode. This is one of the nine season one episodes to include her, and one of the four to have her in the top three. Though “Somnambulist”, in which she racks up 853 words for a number two ranking, isn't about her, “The Prodigal”, in which she says 696 words and finishes #3, and “Sense and Sensitivity”, in which she says a remarkable 1336 words for a very obvious number-one finish, most certainly are. 1336 words is the fifth-highest individual word count for the season and, obviously, Kate's highest overall: it's only 112 words less than her total word count for the whole of season two, in which she appears six times, with two #5 finishes: one of those two fifth-places is her next-to-last appearance, “Reprise”, where she says 368 words. It's the very next episode, “Epiphany”, where Angel saves Kate's life from an apparent suicide, bringing to a simultaneous end both the 'dark Angel' story and Kate's own story. She survives, but has been kicked off the police force, losing her sense of purpose as a person and as an associate of Angel Investigations.
  • Overall ranking: #25
  • Ranking on Angel: #13
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 5940
    • Season 1: 4492 (#5)
    • Season 2: 1448 (#10)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 15
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #5: 3
    • Minor: 8
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Friday, June 25, 2010

#26: Oz

Excluding Illyria, Oz is the lowest-ranking member of the main cast on this list, and the reasons should be obvious. Described as 'taciturn', 'monosyllabic', 'laconic', 'non-verbal' and, sarcastically, 'such a chatterbox'. Speaking only in the shortest of phrases, Oz averages only 140 words per episode among the 40 episodes he appears in. I define 'minor role' as not being one of the characters whose word-count is among the top five on any given episode – not the most realistic definition of 'minor', I concede. Yet it must mean something that, of 40 appearances, fully 36 are minor. In fact, in exactly half (twenty) of those appearances, he says less than 100 words each. At least Seth Green never needed to worry too much about taxing his memory banks.

Of the four times Oz shows up in the top five, only his #4-ranking “Fear, Itself” does not really qualify as an 'Oz episode'. Apart from that, we get “Phases”, where Oz's discovery that he's a werewolf and the solidification of his relationship with Willow still barely get him on the top five at all, with 392 words and a #5 finish. Then, we have to go all the way to his final episode as a cast member, “Wild at Heart”, where 632 words still only give him a #3 finish. Like several other characters with sudden departures, Oz makes one return to tie up loose ends, and “New Moon Rising” gives him 471 words and a #3 finish.

Just to clarify: Oz appeared in 40 episodes, mostly as a cast member, across three seasons, was the main subject of three episodes... and never ranked #1 or #2 in a single episode. Quite impressive, really, if you think about it. Certainly Seth Green expressed his reservations at the time about the limited way he was being used on the show, precipitating his rather abrupt departure in the middle of season four. Although quite well-rounded as a character (hipster, musician, werewolf, slacker genius), Oz existed on the show mainly in relation to Willow. Oz got an intriguing 'gradual' introduction on the show, where for several episodes he seemed to unwittingly cross paths with Willow but without a proper introduction. The first of these was in “Inca Mummy Girl”, written by Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer. This relatively inconsequential 'Xander episode' is also the screen début of Jonathan. Though, as mentioned above, “New Moon Rising” is Oz's last appearance in the flesh in Sunnydale, he does show up in Season 4 finale “Restless”, saying 23 words in Willow's dream. Oz survives and, if you're into the comics, moves to Tibet and gets married there.

Oddly, the only time Oz appears in the top ten characters per season is in Season 4, where his eight appearances rank him number eight. Appearing in 21 of 22 episodes in Season 3 still wasn't enough to get in the top ten.

Lastly, we need to mention Angel. Among Oz's other dubious honours is what must inarguably be the least memorable Buffy-Angel crossover for a main cast member (Willow has several less significant appearances, but one very significant appearance, so I exclude her; outside of the main cast, certainly the Watchers' Council 'Wet Works' trio beat Oz for lack of memorability): the third episode of the fledgling series, “In the Dark”, where Oz's 184 words put him outside of the top five and amount to less than one-fifth of the other crossover character in that episode, Spike. Note that 184 words is less than a good many entirely insignificant one-episode bit parts, so calculating Oz's ranking on Angel would be all but impossible.
  • Overall ranking: #26
  • Ranking on Buffy: #15
  • Ranking on Angel: n/a
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 5413
    • Season 2: 1114
    • Season 3: 2356
    • Season 4: 1943 (#8)
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 184
    • Season 1: 184
  • Total words spoken in the Buffyverse: 5597
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 39
    • Ranking #3: 2
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 35
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 1
    • Minor: 1
  • Total speaking appearances in the Buffyverse: 40
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

#27: The First Evil

In Season Three's “Amends”, a Christmas episode written by Joss Whedon and the only “Angel episode” of the whole season, Angel is being tortured by a malevolent force of nature called 'the First Evil'. This entity is non-corporeal and can only take the form of people who have died. As such, it's able to taunt people and manipulate them into acting out its will. A truly fascinating concept for a villian, one whose resurrection in Season Seven, where it became the TV show's final Big Bad, should have surprised nobody.

All told, the First Evil speaks 4820 words in “Amends” and throughout Season Seven. These words are spoken in the forms of a rather head-spinning range of characters. All told, the First Evil inhabits the visages of 20 different characters, 10 of whom appear on this top fifty list. The list in full is as follows, appearing in italics if we see the portrayal in “Amends”.
  • As Buffy: 676 words
  • As Jonathan: 607 words
  • As Cassie: 459 words
  • As Warren: 440 words
  • As Mayor Wilkins: 394 words
  • As Drusilla: 356 words
  • As Eve: 350 words
  • As Jenny: 347 words
  • As Spike: 255 words
  • As Joyce: 238 words
  • As Caleb: 132 words
  • As Chloe: 132 words
  • As Nikki: 100 words
  • As the Master: 74 words
  • As Margaret: 63 words
  • As a businessman: 57 words
  • As Glory: 40 words
  • As a helpless girl: 38 words
  • As Daniel: 31 words
  • As Adam: 28 words
  • As 'self': 3 words
Notes about this list: Cassie is the poetry-writing star of “Help”, whose visage The First uses to manipulate Willow in “Conversations with Dead People”. Eve and Chloe are dead Potential Slayers, Nikki is Robin Wood's slayer mother. Margaret, the businessman and Daniel are characters from Angelus's past who we meet in “Amends” but never otherwise see. The helpless girl is one of Caleb's early misogynistic kills, reanimated by the First in discussion with him. Lastly, when I say 'self', I'm referring to the ghostly spectre we see in the picture above, who shrieks only three words: “Dead by sunrise!”

The First totals 501 words in “Amends” (primarily as Jenny), for a #3 finish. All other words spoken by the First occur in Season Seven, where it appears in 15 of the season's 22 episodes, the largest number for any Big Bad, depending on how you determine the Big Bads of Seasons Two and Six. It ranks #8 among characters for the season, though it never gets a #1 ranking. It ranks #2 twice, in “Showtime” (primarily as Eve) and in “First Date” (primarily as Jonathan), the latter's 583 words the First's highest word count. It ranks #3 in “Conversations with Dead People” (in three of the four stories as Cassie, Warren and Joyce), “Bring on the Night” (primarily as Drusilla and Joyce) and “Touched” (as Mayor Wilkins and Buffy), and ranks #4 in “Lessons” (a single monologue where it morphs in succession to each of the previous season's Big Bads before becoming Buffy in the end) and “Never Leave Me” (as four different characters). Its eight minor appearances include a mere 13 words in “Empty Places” (as Buffy).

While a fascinating idea as a character, as a 'Big Bad', the First lacked a certain fear factor, such that 'agents of the First' such as the Bringers, the army of Turok-Hans and Caleb the Preacher had to constantly be brought in to intimidate the Scoobies. This resulted in a rather messy season, and in more of a sense of looming malevolence than a clearly-defined enemy. And in the final episode, “Chosen”, though Buffy and her friends have destroyed Caleb, the Turok-Hans and indeed all of Sunnydale, the First, while in Willow's words 'scrunched', is not exactly defeated, and can be said to 'live' past the end of the TV show, whatever 'live' means in the First's case.
  • Overall ranking: #27
  • Ranking on Buffy: #16
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4820
    • Season 3: 501
    • Season 7: 4319 (#8)
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 16
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Ranking #3: 4
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 8
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

#28: Glory

The big-screen disaster that was the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie pitted Buffy against a particularly strong vampire for the climax. Season one of the show pitted her against a thousand-year-old vampire cult leader. Then she was pitted against a vampire she loved. By season three, we'd moved past vampires and she was pitted against a newly-ascended 'pure demon'. Season four brought us a character whose Frankenstein-nature meant he was stronger, and tougher to kill, than other demons.

Just like any good video game, the 'bosses' get harder and harder to defeat. By Season Five, which might have been the final season of Buffy, they'd taken it as far as they could go: pitting Buffy against a god from a hell dimension.

Glory, a/k/a Glorificus, a/k/a the Beast, a/k/a “That Which Cannot be Names”, a/k/a “Sweaty-Naughty-Feelings-Causing One” was the 'big bad' of Season Five, and she was an absolute delight: a vain, sassy, ostentatious, funny, psychotic and slightly clueless work of evil portrayed by Clare Kramer. As tends to be the case with Big Bads, she appears only in 'her' season, in this case Season Five, a total of 12 times, where her 4732 words are the eighth largest word count for the season. The First takes her face just once, in “Lessons”, where he takes the guise of each of the season's 'big bads' in order to torment a half-mad Spike.

Like the Mayor, Glory gives good speech, in her case tinged with the madness that besets her if she's unable to suck human brains to preserve her sanity at their expense. We meet her in the fifth episode of the season, “No Place Like Home”, where she gets off fully 315 words of unbridled malevolent madness with only the most minor of interruptions. All in all, that episode's 443 words give her a #3 finish, one of four #3 finishes, alongside “Shadow”, “Blood Ties” and “Tough Love”. “Checkpoint” and “The Gift” (her final episode) are #4 finishes, and she puts in five minor appearances.

That leaves only “The Weight of the World”, a remarkable episode where her 1162 words give her an easy #1 finish, excluding the 281 words spoken by Ben. Throughout this season, I treat Glory and Ben as entirely different individuals, even though they share a single body. If I didn't, Glory/Ben would rank 25th overall and 6th for the season.

Through the combined efforts of Willow, the Buffybot, Buffy and Xander, Glory is well beaten by the time Buffy runs up the stairs to save Dawn. Yet ultimately it is Giles who kills her, by smothering Ben. Ben's death is Glory's death too, putting deicide on the list of Giles's achievements.
  • Overall ranking: #28
  • Ranking on Buffy: #17
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4732
    • Season 5: 4732 (#8)
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 12
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #3: 4
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 5
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#29: Jonathan

Season Four featured the episode “Jonathan”, a clever episode where Jonathan has altered reality to make himself into an overtalented, uber-famous alpha male, by far his weightiest appearance with 1177 words, over 25% of the whole episode's dialogue, a shoo-in for #1. Yet by the time that episode appeared, Jonathan had already been in 11 episodes, rather pathetically racking up a mere 442 words among them.

The reason for this is that, for several seasons, Jonathan was little more than a stock 'high school geek', a character who could be used for single-line roles whenever required. To that end, then, Jonathan has a fair amount of them: we first see him in Matt Kiene and Joe Reinkemeyer's “Inca Mummy Girl” (one of two recurring characters introduced that episode), where he says a total of 14 words: “Your hands feel kinda rough”, “Aren't you with Xander?” and “That's my cue to leave”. His other Season Two appearances are for, in order, 9 words, 4 words, 18 words, 17 words and 42 words. His Season Three episodes are not much more impressive, really: despite being, in a sense, the central character of “Earshot”, he still gets only 124 words in, and in “The Prom”, his lovely speech to Buffy gets him 190 words.

Of course, the eponymous episode notwithstanding, Jonathan really starts to matter in Season 6, where he's rather unexpectedly (and ungratefully) joined up with Warren and Andrew as 'the Trio', a group of three social misfits bent on 'taking over Sunnydale' and causing the Slayer no end of trouble in the process. Jonathan speaks 2211 words this season, more than Andrew's 2084 words, but quite a bit less than Warren's 3493 – still enough to be the tenth wordiest character that season (if the Trio were considered as one character, they'd be fifth that season). In eleven episodes that season, Jonathan ranks #3 once, in “Life Serial”, with 430 words, and ranks #5 in “Villians”, a bit of an anomaly in that his meagre 175 words is a smaller number than fully five of his 'minor' appearances that season, but “Villians” is a four-character episode, with the remaining 19 characters being barely more than bit parts.

Jonathan shows up in Andrew's “Storyteller” fantasies, and The First uses his visage, but as a living human, the last we see of Jonathan is a single appearance in Season Seven, in “Conversations with Dead People”, where he meets his demise being stabbed to death on the Seal of Danthazar, by Andrew under the First's persuasive influence.
  • Overall ranking: #29
  • Ranking on Buffy: #18
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4306
    • Season 2: 104
    • Season 3: 338
    • Season 4: 1177
    • Season 6: 2211 (#10)
    • Season 7: 476
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 25
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 22
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Monday, June 21, 2010

#30: Mayor Wilkins

I have to admit to having a real soft spot for Mayor Richard Wilkins III, the main enemy of Buffy Season Three, and for Harry Groener, the actor who plays him. His deft portrayal of a character by turns OCD fuddy-duddy, cynical vaseline-smile politician, loving father figure, and hair-raisingly chilling figure of evil is, as far as I'm aware, completely unique on television.

Though we know of him from Principal Snyder earlier, we first meet the Mayor in David Greenwalt's “Homecoming”, an episode in which he plays a relatively minor role. One of the Mayor's most noticeably qualities is that he's a masterful orator, and many of his appearances are in the form of speeches, or monologues: his briefest appearance, 94 words in “Gingerbread”, is solely a speech to the people of Sunnydale. His only #1 ranking is in the Season Three finale, “Graduation Day, Part II”, where fully 249 of his top-ranking 552 words is a single, gripping speech. In addition, his sole appearance outside of Season Three, the next season's “This Year's Girl”, is almost entirely a monologue caught on tape – yet that episode's 373 words (318 are the videotape) still gives him a #5 ranking. I don't include Season Seven's “Lessons”, where The First takes his form in order to deliver – you guessed it – a monologue, or the same season's “Touched”, where the First says a full 352 words in his body in order to spook Faith.

Mayor Wilkins is in 11 of Season Three's 22 episodes, half of them, and while only one of those is a number one ranking, his performance that episode is bested by two others, “Enemies”, where his 684 words get him only a #3 ranking, and “Choices”, where fully 780 words get him only a #2 ranking (“Graduation Day, Part II” concentrates on action more than dialogue, and as a result has a paltry 2960 words, the fourth fewest in seven seasons of Buffy).

“Graduation Day, Part II” is not only his sole #1 ranking: it's also his swan song, as he gets killed by Buffy and the Scoobies in that episode, only after turning into a giant snake (his two words spoken as a giant snake, “Well, gosh”, are included in his word count). It's a group effort, but if you want to actually hand the 'kill' to someone, it's Giles who sets off the dynamite.
  • Overall ranking: #30
  • Ranking on Buffy: #19
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4261
    • Season 3: 3888 (#7)
    • Season 4: 373
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 12
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 6
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Friday, June 18, 2010

#31: Warren

Of the 'trio', the group of three characters who appear to be the 'big bad' of Season 6 until Willow turns 'dark', it's generally assumed that Warren is the only one who is truly evil. I think you could make the case, however, that Warren merely accepted the consequences of the path the three had trod down more than the other two. Unique among the three, he accepted that you couldn't play with evil and then walk away as if it had never happened. His answer, to fully immerse himself in evil instead of only going halfway, doesn't make him a better character than Andrew or Jonathon, but it does make him arguably more honest.

Anyway, while Warren is a Season 6 character (number nine overall in that season), we meet him in Season 5, as the creator of a robot he has grown bored with. That episode, Jane Espenson's “I Was Made to Love You”, is not only Warren's début, it's also, surprisingly, the episode in which he has the highest word-count, though not the highest ranking. Interestingly enough, Warren ranks #2 in that episode, and clocks his only #1 appearance in season six's “Villians”. At 606 words, it's only nine words fewer than the 615 count he accumulates in his début, and fittingly, it's his final appearance (as a living human). He comes in and goes out on highs.

Warren makes a total of two appearances in Season Five, nine appearances in Season Six, and only one in Season Seven: 34 words (his lowest count) in Andrew's imagination in “Storyteller”. Which is not to say Adam Busch is absent in Season Seven: The First takes Warren's form in four different episodes, speaking 440 words in the process, and Willow takes his form once for an extra 385 words. If we counted those words, Warren's total of 4210 words would rise to 5035, which would raise him up to 27th place overall.

Only three of Warren's Season Six appearances are minor. Apart from “Villians”, he scores his second #2 in “Life Serial”, #3 in both “Seeing Red” and “Dead Things”, the two episodes where he commits murder (manslaughter I suppose), a #4 in “Smashed” and a #5 in “Gone”.

This list does not take the Dark Horse Comics' “Season Eight” into account. Inasmuch as it's more convenient for me to pretend it doesn't exist, I'd like to report that Warren was killed by Willow in “Villians”. However, this scene is retconned in the comic books to where Warren didn't actually die but was saved, skinless, by Amy. Do with that info what you will, but I'm sticking with death-by-dark-witch.
  • Overall ranking: #31
  • Ranking on Buffy: #20
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4210
    • Season 5: 683
    • Season 6: 3493 (#9)
    • Season 7: 34
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 12
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Ranking #3: 2
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 5
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

#32: Principal Wood

After four consecutive Angel characters, we're back to Buffy. And back to a one-season wonder, the Sunnydale High principal and son-of-a-slayer Robin Wood, who somehow pushes himself in among the main cast like a family sitcom that introduces a new family member in its final seasons as a way to add new blood to the routine...

Principal Wood appears in 14 of season seven's 22 episodes, but fully eight of them are minor, at the lowest 99 words in “Dirty Girls”. He gets two #4 rankings, three #3s and one #2, though oddly the 503 words that rank him number two in “Get it Done” are fewer than his two number-four placings: 531 words in “First Date” and 590 in “Lies My Parents Told Me”, the two closest things to “Robin episodes” – really, the heart of the Wood character is his quest for vengeance against the vampire who killed his mother: Spike, as it turns out. “First Date” is the episode where we learn much of that back story and where Robin learns Spike's true identity, and “Lies My Parents Told Me” is the episode where he finally confronts Spike about it.

In addition to “Storyteller”, his #3 finishes include his first appearance, in season opener “Lessons” written by Joss Whedon, and his last appearance, in “Chosen”, the series finale, where oddly he scores a higher word count than Spike, Giles, Faith, Willow, Xander, Anya or Dawn. He survives “Chosen”, badly injured but still laughing, and ready to take a role alongside Faith in the comic book Season 8.

The extent to which Robin has settled in among the core 'Scoobies' by the end of season seven is best shown in the fact that he actually speaks more words this season than Giles does – though even at that he only finished in ninth place among characters for words spoken in the season.
  • Overall ranking: #32
  • Ranking on Buffy: #21
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 4162
    • Season 7: 4162 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 14
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #3: 3
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 8
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#33: Jasmine

This is where things get confusing. Buffy and Angel are no normal series, and the mere question of which character said what is nowhere near as simple as it might appear, what with demon possessions, body switching and a 'big bad' who can take the form of any dead person...

Until the season 3 conclusion, “Tomorrow”, I'm confident in attributing anything Charisma Carpenter says to the role of Cordelia, and by then end of season 4, from the first time we see Gina Torres on, I'm confident in attributing anything Torres says to the character of Jasmine. But in between? Well, this is where it gets messy. You'd need a Ph. D. to understand season 4, and all of the retconning outlined in it, but suffice it to say that the character of Jasmine entered Cordelia when she was a 'higher power', and took over her by degrees. By about the halfway point of season four, it's clear to the audience that Cordelia is not Cordelia – but by then, she hasn't been herself for a while.

Ultimately, perhaps to my eternal discredit, I took the easy way out, and attributed all of Charisma Carpenter's words to the character of Cordelia and all of Gina Torres's words to Jasmine. That's not merely a cop-out simplification: Jasmine is 'born' in episode 17, “Inside Out”, written by Steven S. DeKnight, where she says all of one word: “Angel”.

This is the first of five episodes she appears in, the so-called “Jasmine arc”, and is the only minor appearance she makes. In fact, excluding her one-word introduction, she never falls below #2, with two #1 appearances and two #2 appearances. As the centrepiece of the “Jasmine arc”, as a deity with the ability to bring world peace by depriving humans of their free will (and occasionally eating them), she is undoubtedly the star of each of the episodes she appears in. In the case of episode #18, “Shiny Happy People”, it's with a remarkable 1248 words, fully 34.5% of the whole script: an obvious #1. She speaks less than half that number in each of the next two episodes, “The Magic Bullet” and “Sacrifice”, yet still manages a #2 rank. And her swan song, “Peace Out”, where she's killed by Connor (her 'father') in a graphic fashion, a fist through the head, is another #1, with 1049 words. Her average word count of 670 is no slouch, of course, but “Inside Out” obviously brings it down. Without it, she would have the highest average word count in Angel, and the second-highest in the whole Buffyverse.

Thus, even though she appears in only five episodes, it's perhaps surprising that she figures at only #9 among the characters with the highest word-counts for the season.
  • Overall ranking: #33
  • Ranking on Angel: #15
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 3348
    • Season 4: 3348 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 5
    • Ranking #1: 2
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Minor: 1
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#34: Eve

Eve, who may or may not be young and may or may not be a woman, is officially 'liaison to the Senior Partners', a middleman between Angel and the evil ringleaders in charge of Wolfram & Hart. While Eve is not the season's 'big bad' at all, being something of an empty character, ultimately, she does share certain similarities with Holtz, as I've described him in his entry immediately preceding this one. To start with, she is entirely a season five phenomenon, introduced in the first episode (“Conviction”, scripted by Joss Whedon) and last seen in the season, and series, closer “Not Fade Away”. She appears in a total of 10 episodes that season, one short of Holtz's 11, and says a grand total of 3213 words, two more than Holtz. She ranks #8 among all characters for total words spoken that season.

Still, several differences exist: unlike Holtz, Eve survives the season, and the show – though she's a shell of her former self, stripped of her immortality and of the love of her life, she's become a very small, pathetic character, as opposed to the confident and mysterious role she has at the beginning of the season. Her replacement, Marcus Hamilton, was perhaps brought in due to audience displeasure with the character, who never fulfils her initial promise and soon appears to have no real purpose, save as a love interest for Lindsey.

Nevertheless, of Eve's ten appearances, fully half rank in the top five, though never above a #3. She says the most in “Destiny”, using 724 words to pit Spike and Angel against each other. Her other #3 appearance is her début, “Conviction”. She finishes at #4 in “You're Welcome” and “Underneath”, and #5 in “Life of the Party”. “Not Fade Away” is her briefest appearance, a mere 45 words.
  • Overall ranking: #34
  • Ranking on Angel: #16
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 3213
    • Season 5: 3213 (#8)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 10
    • Ranking #3: 2
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 5
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Monday, June 14, 2010

#35: Holtz

The extent to which Daniel Holtz is an Angel season three phenomenon is perhaps best summed up in the following statistic: his first appearance occurs in a 47-word role in a historical flashback in the season début “Heartthrob”, written by David Greenwalt, and his final appearance occurs in the season finale “Tomorrow”, in a seven-word flashback to the previous episode. While within the plot, he exists over a wide swath of time and place, in the show's programming schedule, he exists entirely within the bounds of season three, the season for which he serves as the principal 'big bad' and the season in which he speaks the eighth most dialogue of any character.

In flashbacks, we meet Holtz when Angelus and Darla destroy his family in York in 1764. Swearing vengeance, he commits himself to chasing the vampire pair down. We then see him in Marseilles in 1767, in Rome in 1771 and back home in York in 1773, where he agrees to be transported to Los Angeles, 2001 in order to kill Angelus and Darla. After many adventures there, he enters a portal to Quor'Toth, a demon dimension, where he spends some seventeen years Quor'Toth time, mere days L.A. time, before returning to L.A. an old man, only to willingly be killed by Justine as the final part of his plan to wreak vengeance on Angel.

Not every character on Angel has a timeline this convoluted, though many do.

Holtz averages 292 words per episode, but the range is amazing, with the seven-word episode listed below not even being his lowest word count: that honour goes to episode 20, “A New World”, in which he speaks two words. It's the episode immediately following that, “Benediction”, where he says the most: his 900-word total ranks him #1 for that episode, both actual dialogue and a 186-word voiceover, reading a letter aloud, that takes advantage of Keith Szarabajka's most identifiable trait: his deep, rich whisper of a voice. Episode 9, “Lullaby”, gives him a #2 finish, and he gets two consecutive #4 finishes, in episodes 15, “Loyalty”, and 16, “Sleep Tight”.
  • Overall ranking: #35
  • Ranking on Angel: #17
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 3211
    • Season 3: 3211 (#8)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 11
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 7
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Friday, June 11, 2010

#36: Holland

If it comes as a surprise to learn that the quietly evil Wolfram & Hart majordomo Holland Manners appears in only eight episodes of Angel, it may come as even more of a surprise to realise that you might say only six episodes, as two of the appearances are posthumous. As one of those characters, thanks in no small part to Sam Anderson's masterful portrayal, whose understated performances belie real presence, the role of Holland feels more significant, and long-lasting, than those few appearances would suggest (it's also, of course, possible that the memory associates Holland with the similar character Linwood, whose 1487 words across 6 episodes places him just outside of the top 50).

Holland truly bursts onto the scene, appearing in only the final two episodes of season one yet reaching #10 on the list of Angel season one characters (admittedly an odd list, however, as season one featured a very small recurring cast and lots of one-off characters). In his first appearance, the Jeannine Renshaw-penned “Blind Date”, Holland racks up and amazing 1110 words, fully 30% of the whole episode's dialogue and a comfortable first-place finish. Surprising that the next four times we see him are in minor roles.

However, if his first episode is a #1 ranking, it's interesting that his last episode as a living being is a #2 ranking. In “Reunion”, until a newly revamped Darla kills him in his own wine cellar, Holland speaks 768 words of dialogue. As it potentially is for any Buffyverse character and most certainly is for any Wolfram & Hart employee, however, death is not the end. We see Holland two episodes later on a TV set in “Blood Money”, at 90 words his briefest appearance. However, as Lilah would also one day do, Holland serves posthumously as a kind of guide for Angel in “Reprise”, racking up 425 words and a #3 count.
  • Overall ranking: #36
  • Ranking on Angel: #18
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 3042
    • Season 1: 1211 (#10)
    • Season 2: 1831 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 8
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Minor: 5
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

#37: Jenny

Some might say that Janna of the Kalderash clan, better known as Jenny Calendar, is the best thing to come out of the frequently derided episode “I, Robot... You, Jane”, written by Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden. It might come as a surprise to learn, though, that that maiden appearance was also Jenny's most significant, with 590 words gaining her a third-place finish. Of her twelve appearances on the show, in her multiple roles as Sunnydale High computer teacher, as techno-pagan, as Giles's love interest, as gypsy sent to check up on Angel, as Angelus's highest-profile victim, and as proof that Buffy the Vampire Slayer pulls no punches when it comes to sacrificing significant characters in advancing the storyline and in using death to split up couples, only three rise above the 'minor' status to appear in their respective episode's top five: after the aforementioned début, there's her #4 ranking in her immediate next appearance, season one finale “Prophecy Girl”, and sadly her final appearance: season two's “Passion”, where she ranks #5 and where Angelus snaps her neck. While we see her face, or perhaps more accurately Robia LaMorte's face, one last time in season three's “Amends”, it is of course in the guise of The First, and the 347 words spoken there (good enough for a #3 finish) belong to the character of The First, not to Jenny. Note also that her role in “The Dark Age” shows as being minor, as the words spoken while the demon Eyghon is inhabiting her body are credited to the demon, not her: otherwise, it would be a #3 ranking. In short, Jenny's total word count of 3036 words would be raised to 3554 words if we were counting Robia LaMorte's word count.

Jenny shows up in the top ten of both of the seasons she appears in: despite appearing in only two episodes, she is the eighth most significant character in season one, word wise. Her ten appearances in the first 17 episodes of season two net her a #9 ranking for that season. The character-packed “School Hard”, in which the writers hand her only 89 words, is her briefest appearance.
  • Overall ranking: #37
  • Ranking on Buffy: #22
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 3036
    • Season 1: 1034 (#8)
    • Season 2: 2002 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 12
    • Ranking #3: 1
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 9
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#38: Drusilla

It may seem surprising to find Drusilla so low on this list. She's kind of a 'big bad', she's been on both series, she's an integral part of the 'four vampires' team that defines pre-soul Angelus's life. Her 21 episode count is the 25th highest among Buffyverse characters. So why so low?

Well, it has a lot to do with the way Drusilla's written. Juliet Landau brings the character a definite presence based often on little more than body language and wordless sounds... her actual words are short, terse sentences, mixing logic and nonsense. Among the many ways she and Spike contrast each other, this is one of the most obvious: Spike talks in long streams, Dru in short outbursts. They both command attention equally when they open their mouths.

Drusilla speaks so little that of 21 episodes, fully 18 are minor, and in each of the three ranking episodes, she ranks #4. Her per-episode average word count of 138 is second-lowest in the whole top 50, behind Ben.

Starting with episode three, David Greenwalt and Joss Whedon's “School Hard” (the début of both Dru and Spike), more than half of Drusilla's appearances occur in Buffy season two, yet none of those twelve episodes feature her in the top five: in six of them, she speaks less than 100 words. The two Spike-centred episodes of Season 5, “Fool for Love” and “Crush”, are the two Buffy episodes where Dru gets a #4 ranking – in the particular case of “Fool for Love”, it's with a meagre 190 words, since Spike and Buffy carry the majority of that episode's dialogue. The only other time we see her in Buffy is in Season 7's “Lies My Parents Told Me”, with a mere 60 words.

On Angel, Dru shows up in four episodes in seasons 2 and 5 for flashbacks only (in season 5's “The Girl in Question”, we see her in Italy in two different eras, yet still she gets only 17 words of dialogue), and only appears in L.A. for a two-episode stretch in order to re-sire Darla. The first of those, “Reunion”, is as close to a “Dru Episode” as we get in the Buffyverse, and is the only real occasion where we see Dru behaving on her own, and not in tandem with Spike or Angelus. Unsurprisingly, it's her highest word count overall. Perhaps just as unsurprisingly, it's still only 334 words, and still only a #4 ranking.

Since the convoluted story of each of the four main vampires is told largely in flashbacks, we see Drusilla in a dizzying array of places and locations. Breaking her word-count into time and place, we get the following stats:
  • London, 1860: 191 words
  • London, 1880: 313 words
  • Yorkshire, 1880: 13 words
  • Italy, 1894: 16 words
  • Romania, 1898: 40 words
  • China, 1900: 51 words
  • Italy, 1950s: 1 word
  • Sunnydale, 1996-97: 1371 words
  • South America, 1998: 57 words
  • Los Angeles, 2001: 529 words
  • Sunnydale, 2001: 318 words
Note that the 96-year stretch between China and Sunnydale is represented with a single word (“Ciao”), and that almost half of her dialogue occurs in Season Two (where three of those words are in a dream of Buffy's and 59 of them are as Jenny in Giles' tortured mind) – she ranks #10 for characters in Season 2 with the most words. Though she appears in three episodes after it, “Crush” is the last we see of Drusilla, in non-flashback real time, and she ends the episode alive and kicking.

  • Overall ranking: #38
  • Ranking on Buffy: #28
  • Ranking on Angel: #42
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 2095
    • Season 2: 1527 (#10)
    • Season 5: 508
    • Season 7: 60
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 805
    • Season 2: 689
    • Season 5: 116
  • Total words spoken in the Buffyverse: 2900
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 15
    • Ranking #4: 2
    • Minor: 13
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 6
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Minor: 5
  • Total speaking appearances in the Buffyverse: 21
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#39: Snyder

Principal Snyder is a pretty good example of tenacity: he makes it onto this list, at 39th no less, without ever really being a character of any consequence. There are no 'Snyder episodes', and most of the time he's just a minor annoyance: a mosquito buzzing around the ears of the main characters.

Which is not to demean the character at all: Principal Snyder's strengths lie in his mean-spirited small-mindedness, and Armin Shimerman plays him wonderfully. He's the second Sunnydale High principal we meet, all the way back in season one, in the episode, “The Puppet Show”, scripted by Rob Des Hotel and Dean Batali. Though this début appearance is actually his third-wordiest, it's still 'minor', falling outside of the top five. In a total of eighteen episodes of Buffy, Snyder makes the top five precisely twice: finishing fifth in “School Hard” and finishing fourth in “Band Candy”, where his performance as an excitable geek is one of the episode's several highlights. Even at that, he gets a mere 355 words in, not a huge number. His least significant appearance, word-wise, is also his next-to-last appearance as a living human: “Graduation Day, Part One”, where he gets a mere 37 words of dialogue. The episode immediately following that one, “Graduation Day, Part Two”, is the last episode of season three, and the last episode featuring Buffy and friends as high school students. Fittingly, the destruction of the high school occurs in the same episode as Snyder's own demise, eaten by the Mayor. Yet we do see him once more, in Xander's dream during the finale of season four, “Restless”.

Lastly, let's spare a moment or two for Principal Flutie, whose three appearances keep him well outside of the top fifty. As great a character as Snyder undoubtedly is, his malicious intent would be completely ill-suited to the series début, where Flutie's well-meaning bumbling fits much better. And secondly, Flutie is important as the first recurring character to die. As evidence that Buffy was not like other shows, not afraid to kill off characters in service of the plot, Flutie is the series' Cedric Diggory (making Jenny the series' Sirius Black, I suppose).
  • Overall ranking: #39
  • Ranking on Buffy: #24
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 2694
    • Season 1: 417
    • Season 2: 1229
    • Season 3: 967
    • Season 4: 81
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 18
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 16

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Monday, June 7, 2010

#40: Illyria

There's this great part on the bonus features of the Angel Season 5 DVD where Amy Acker is talking about how Joss Whedon said to her, “We're killing off Fred. But don't worry: you're still on the show.” When Angel aired for the first time, I can remember that a change in my working schedule meant I had to miss a few months' worth of episodes. I remember sitting down to watch my first episode after that gap, completely flabbergasted: “Why is Fred blue? Why do they keep calling her something else?”

It's a testament to the writers' abilities that they could take something so convoluted and potentially hokey as a god-like ancient 'old one' demon being released from its sarcophagus and taking over a person's body and make it work, and it's a testament to Amy Acker's stop-on-a-dime acting abilities that it's so compelling. From down-home Texas girl to regal ice queen in a flash: not everyone can carry that off.

“This will do.” That is the whole of Illyria's dialogue in the Joss Whedon-written “A Hole in the World”, her début. It's the eighth-to-last episode of the whole series, but she appears in every one thereafter (becoming, of course, a 'main character' instantly, since Amy Acker is among the core cast). Excluding the three-word first episode, Illyria's least weighty episode is the Connor episode “Origin”, with only 192 words. It's one of five 'minor' episodes for Illyria, who shows up in the top five three times: Surpisingly, #5 in “The Girl in Question”, unsurprisingly #4 in the first full post-Fred episode “Shells” and #2, and 865 words, in the Illyria episode “Time Bomb”. She survives the series finale. This series of episodes is enough to give Illyria the #9 spot, four points below Fred, on the list of characters with the highest word count on Season 5.

Please note that for statistical purposes, Illyria using Fred's voice or Fred's, er, skin colour does not constitute a word count for Fred: after Fred's death, all of Amy Acker's words belong to Illyria except for a single 33-word incident in “Underneath” where we witness Fred in a dream of Wesley's. We do see Fred in flashbacks at the end of “Shells”, but we don't hear her.
  • Overall ranking: #40
  • Ranking on Angel: #20
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 2596
    • Season 5: 2596 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 8
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 1
    • Minor: 5
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Friday, June 4, 2010

#41: Kennedy

The negative reaction to this season-seven character, a potential slayer and a love interest for Willow, is perhaps more of a testament to the fanbase's love of Tara than to anything inherent in the character, or in Iyari Limon's portrayal of her. But the rich 'brat' and po-faced born fighter, by far the most significant potential slayer, is perhaps not the easiest character to love.

In truth, she doesn't really do all that much, and even though she appears in fully thirteen episodes – more than half of the season – her appearances are minor in all but two of them. At times, the numbers are embarrassing: consider the three-episode run of episodes 16 through 18, “Storyteller”, “Lies My Parents Told Me” and “Dirty Girls”, where she gets in 21 words, 8 words and 23 words respectively. Barely even worth mentioning, really.

Though we first meet her, as one of the first three potentials in Buffy's house, in episode 10, “Bring on the Night”, written by Marti Noxon and Doug Petrie, it's the next episode, “Showtime”, where she shows up in the top five: number four, to be precise. By far her most significant appearance, and her only real appearance as anything beyond just another potential, is in the Willow episode “The Killer in Me”, where a kiss between the two girls starts off the episode's action. Kennedy speaks 771 words and comes in second in the overall count, behind (of course) Willow.

At 113 words, her appearance in the series finale “Chosen” is relatively insignificant. Yet she gets to be one of that select group standing in front of the school bus for that final scene, still alive after the fight (and bound to carry on in the comic books).
  • Overall ranking: #41
  • Ranking on Buffy: #25
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 2481
    • Season 7: 2481
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 13
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #4: 4
    • Minor: 11
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

#42: Gwen

How special a character do you have to be to make it as high as 42 on this list – higher than more than a few significant long-term characters – with only three appearances? Well, you have to be about as special as Electro-Gwen, the 'freak' who decisively walks all over any scene that features her. Able to manipulate energy to her own will but unable to touch another human in safety, Gwen was a completely original, albeit comic-based, character who was deeply interesting and well-written, and Alexa Davalos's effortlessly sexy and compelling performance entirely demands that you remember this character, despite the relatively paltry screen time given to her.

Her story is played out entirely within season four, where she's actually tenth for most words spoken that season. It starts in the season's second episode, the Mere Smith-penned “Ground State”, where she serves as an ambivalent nemesis to Team Angel, searching for an item to allow them to contact Cordelia. Her début performance gives her a placing at #3, behind Angel and Fred but ahead of Gunn, whom she momentarily kills. At 551 words, this is, surprisingly, her least substantial appearance, word-wise. Seven episodes later, she gets another #3 ranking in “Long Day's Journey”, her only real appearance in the 'turgid supernatural soap opera' that defines the majority of the fourth season. That phrase is said by Gunn in her third and final appearance, “Players”, a stand-alone episode that feels like a real breath of fresh air after countless season-arc episodes. Though it's actually a resolution to Gwen's story, it's also her finest moment: 1108 words, and a number-one ranking, slightly ahead of Gunn. Between the two of them, they say more than half of the words in this episode. Able, in the end, to control her electrical impulses, she survives the season and is not heard from again until the canonical post-TV comic book series.

With no cameos whatsoever, Gwen has an amazing average of 808 words per episode: among people in the top 50, no character on either show, except Buffy herself, averages that many words. Not even Angel.
  • Overall ranking: #42
  • Ranking on Angel: #21
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 2424
    • Season 4: 2424 (#10)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 3
    • Ranking #1: 1
    • Ranking #3: 2
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

#43: Amy

For a minor character, Elizabeth Anne Allen's Amy has shown a remarkable longevity, appearing as a central character in the first 'regular' episode of the series, following the two-part début, showing up off and on throughout the seasons all the way to season 7, and carrying on even into the comic book continuation, “Season Eight”. All this despite spending several of the show's seasons as a rat.

Amy's first appearance, in the Dana Reston-scripted “Witch”, is already an atypical one. Though she shows up at #5, with 393 words, 239 of those words are spoken by Amy in the body of her mother. Only 154 of Amy's words are from Elizabeth Anne Allen's mouth (though she says 312 words as Catherine Madison in Amy's body, most of which are spoken before we realise the switch has occurred: if we counted actors and not characters, she'd be #4). We then get an appearance per season: another #5 in season two's “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” and a surprisingly small 67 words in the witch-centred “Gingerbread”.

Then, she's a rat until season 6, barring the series' best visual joke in season four's “Something Blue”, where she appears for only a split-second. But as she says no words, her next speaking appearance is a stretch of three appearances in season six as 'enabler' to Willow's magic addiction, scoring number-fives in “Smashed” and “Wrecked” and a minor in “Doublemeat Palace”. Amy's final appearance is in season seven's “The Killer in Me”, the episode that provides closure to Willow's main plotlines. Quite surprisingly, it is here that she scores her highest number of words: 447, and a number four finish. She survives season seven.
  • Overall ranking: #43
  • Ranking on Buffy: #27
  • Total words spoken on Buffy: 2241
    • Season 1: 393
    • Season 2: 355
    • Season 3: 67
    • Season 6: 979
    • Season 7: 447
  • Total speaking appearances on Buffy: 7
    • Ranking #4: 1
    • Ranking #5: 4
    • Minor: 2
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