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August 31, 2015

TV Squad Ten: Joss Whedon's big bads

by Mike Moody, posted Aug 31st 2009 11:05AM
spike dru buffy
Before pondering the meaning of identity on Dollhouse, Joss Whedon gave us some great shows featuring iconic heroes and some really nasty but unforgettable villains.

Unlike Dollhouse, most of Whedon's earlier shows featured a "big bad," a major villain who caused trouble throughout an entire season, or series, for the heroes and their friends. Luckily, Whedon's heroes always managed to outwit these evildoers, but they couldn't stop them from stealing scenes and making the Whedonverse a very, very dangerous place to live.

Let's take a look back at some of Whedon's best "big bads" that made life a living hell for Buffy, Angel and Captain Mal.

buffy glory10.) Glorificus/Glory – An evil, egotistical and mentally unstable goddess with unlimited power, Glory proved to be one of Buffy's toughest foes. The tall blonde knocked the Slayer on her teeth more than once during Buffy's season five, but her presence on Earth led to the creation of Buffy's sister, Dawn. Glory tried to kill Dawn in order to return to her home dimension, but Buffy sacrificed herself to save her sister and the rest of humanity.

9.) The Alliance – Perhaps Whedon would have introduced a more traditional big bad on Firefly if the show had lasted longer. But this authoritarian government caused enough trouble for Captain Mal and company without having a clearly defined figurehead. The Serenity crew managed to win a few scuffs with this oppressive force, even though they were outmanned and outgunned at every turn.

8.) Wolfram & Heart – Another giant evil corporate-like entity, Wolfram & Hart was at the center of most of the bad mojo seen throughout the entire run of Angel. The inter-dimensional law firm had massive influence on Earth and the demon underworld, influencing the lives of humans and supernatural beings to carry out the will of its demonic senior partners.

buffy master7.) The Master – Buffy's first TV big bad is probably one of the most traditional villains in the Whedonverse. The Master was a powerful and ancient vampire with a monstrous face who tried to take over Sunnydale in Buffy's first season. Trapped underground, he manipulated Buffy with hypnotic powers in an attempt to help him escape and open the Hellmouth. The Master actually succeeded in killing Buffy, but she got better and defeated him in combat.

buffy the trio6.) The Trio
– Instead of just one big bad, Buffy's season six had three wannabe big bads who lived to annoy the Scoobies. But as the season progressed, the geeky trio of Jonathan, Andrew and Warren became more dangerous thanks to Warren's thirst for power. The Trio were a hilarious addition to the show, often commenting on Buffy's adventures as if they were watching them on TV and dropping a million geek culture references a minute.

5.) Depression – The Trio were an annoying thorn in Buffy's side, but they were nothing compared to this big bad. The Scoobies raised Buffy from dead, but the slayer returned aimless and indifferent. It was revealed later that Buffy's soul was ripped away from Heaven, not the hell dimension in which her friends thought she was trapped. Buffy's bout with depression lasted for most of season six. It led to her affair with Spike and created distance between her and sister Dawn. Buffy even sang the blues during season six:

lindsey angel4.) Lindsey McDonald – The "tiny Texan" had no evil supernatural powers to speak of, but hate and blind ambition were enough to turn him to the dark side. As a representative of Wolfram & Hart, Lindsey often clashed with Angel during the show's first two seasons. Despite trying to kill each other several times, Lindsey and Angel sometimes worked together. In the end, Angel recruited Lindsey to help him defeat their common enemy, Wolfram & Hart. But Angel knew he couldn't trust Lindsey, and he ordered the normally peaceful Loren to assassinate him. Lindsey went out stunned that he was killed by one of Angel's "flunkies" instead of Angel himself.

buffy mayor3.) Richard Wilkins, aka "The Mayor" – The big bad from Buffy's third season was like an evil version of The Middleman: a seemingly non-threatening, polite and often corny chap with a smokin' hot babe for a sidekick. As the mayor of the Scooby gang's hometown of Sunnydale, Wilkins offered a handshake and a smile to every constituent, but he was hiding a whole lotta bad behind that toothy grin. The Mayor turned out to be a skilled sorcerer who made a pact with the Hellmouth demons to live forever in the form of a nasty, pure-breed demon-monster snake thing. Buffy and crew obliterated The Mayor with a library full of dynamite. His last words: "Well, gosh."

spike buffy2.) Spike – The bleach blonde vamp and his gal pal Drusilla rode into Sunnydale during Buffy's second season. Spike, aka "William The Bloody," was a wicked and merciless devil with a trail of dead slayers behind him. He proved to be a formidable foe for Buffy ... until he fell in love with her and was left unable to harm humans, courtesy of an experiment conducted by the U.S. government.

After becoming impotent, Spike lost his edge for a while and became a sort of comic relief character, a vampire Huggy Bear. After fighting to regain his human soul, Spike became a reluctant champion who helped Buffy and crew save the world, once again, in the series' final episode. Spike later showed up on Angel to fight against the evil senior partners of Wolfram & Hart.

buffy angelus1.) Angelus – Buffy rarely broke a sweat while slaying vamps, but Angelus was no normal bloodsucker. He was one of history's baddest and toughest vamps, and he was also the evil and soulless version of Buffy's one true love, Angel. Angelus took over Angel's body in season two of Buffy, after Angel found true happiness (while making love to the slayer) and lost his soul due to a gypsy curse.

He earned his reputation as a cruel and sadistic evildoer by tormenting his enemies psychologically as well as physically. He would often hurt or kill his enemy's loved ones just to watch their spirit break. He was gone for a while after the Scoobies restored Angel's soul at the end of season two, but Angelus returned later in Whedon's Buffy spinoff, Angel.

Runners up: And here are the Whedon baddies who just missed the list, mostly because they only showed up for a few eps or didn't dominate a season: Evil Willow, The Gentlemen and Drusilla from Buffy; Lilah, Darla and Holtz from Angel; Badger, Jubal Early and Saffron from Firefly.

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I was wondering when someone was going to mention Marcus Hamilton.

October 03 2009 at 6:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Drusilla was THE BB, no question.

September 02 2009 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Willow was the big bad the whole season if you really look at it. Evil or not. Here is why I say this.

1. She brought back Buffy from heaven.

2. Tried to mess with everybodies memories in Tabula Rosa.

3. Got completely addicted to Magic and almost got Dawn killed in a car wreck while high off of Dark Magic.

All this was before she turn into Dark Willow and we all know what she did after that. So in my opinion Willow was kinda evil all season. We got the chance to see how evil manifests itself into people who start out being heroes, that season was just great. And for that Willow should be number one.

September 01 2009 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First time commenting on TVsquad, because I feel this list is entirely subjective. Yes, I agree that the position of Angelus as the number one was the hardest Big Bad to defeat for Buffy, but the inclusion of other, more powerful elements were sadly lacking. The Alliance was never intended to be a big bad, just a complication, and the fact that Lindsay did the most evil while affiliated with Wolfram and HART is a problem. Also, I don't feel the Trio ever qualified for Big Bad status. You should have included Dark Willow instead, as they were the catalyst for her status.

September 01 2009 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sorry, TV Squad writers, but your article is totally flawed. First of all, Joss has made it abundantly clear that the Alliance isn't evil, so that automatically disqualifies it as being a 'big bad'. Secondly, characters like The Gentlemen, Saffron, and Jubal Early are in no way 'big bads'; they're not even 'little bads'. You did get Badger right, but the other 'big bads' from Firefly are the Troubleshooters (Blue Hand Men) and The Operative. Thirdly, Lindsey McDonald didn't do anything that would qualify him for 'big bad' status; during seasons 1 and 2, he's acting as part of Wolfram and HART, and in S5, he's an 'antihero' whose agenda just so happens to be in conflict with/opposed to that of our heroes; he's also being viewed through 'rose-colored glasses' by one of said heroes.

Here's a list of characters who DO qualify as 'big bads':
~ Buffy ~
The Master
The Mayor
The Trio
Warren Meers
Willow Rosenberg
The First Evil
Twilight (Buffy S8)

Wolfram and Hart (including characters like Lindsey McDonald [during S1 and S2 ONLY], Lilah Morgan, Marcus Hamilton, and the Circle of the Black Thorn)
Drusilla (although I don't personally consider her to be)
Darla (although I don't personally consider her to be
Holtz (although I don't personally consider him to be)
Jasmine (although I don't personally consider her to be)

~ Firefly ~
The Troubleshooters (AKA the 'Blue Hand Men')
The Operative

September 01 2009 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Faith can sort of be considered as evil (complex though). Evil Willow was better than many of the list. But the trio of season 6??? NO WAY

August 31 2009 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If your criteria was entertainment value/popularity I won't presume to question your rankings. But if bigness and badness were supposed to be the criteria, Glory, being the only certified deity and ruler of an entire demon dimension on the list, is without doubt number one.

August 31 2009 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick w

Glory, Glory, Glory!

August 31 2009 at 5:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia R.


August 31 2009 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Psst...it's Wolfram and HART not Heart.

August 31 2009 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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