I'm beginning to think I have a thing for vampires. I'm well into season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer now and I love Spike. (WARNING: If you haven't seen Buffy and you think you might want to, I'm pretty sure spoilers will follow.)
For the first three seasons, I crushed on Angel with an embarrassing intensity. He was so sweet and loving and tortured (except of course when he was evil), and his taut torso didn't hurt either. I was not impressed when he decided to end things for Buffy's sake. I don't much care for that kind of condescension in a romantic relationship.
When Riley first came on the scene, I thought he might make an interesting love interest for Buffy, mostly because he didn't notice her for so long and that might be appealing for her. But as soon as they got together I was bored; he was so available and needy. The part where he wants her to cry in front of him was especially annoying. If he really loved her he would have respected her needs and supported her in the way she wants supporting. I kept thinking that he had to come back, but he never did... perhaps he never will (fingers crossed).
Which brings me to Spike, my new embarrassing crush. It occurred to me this morning, as I was walking to work (yes I think about Buffy most of the time I'm not watching it - got a problem with that?), that I think I even like him better than Angel. I've always had this idea that the series would end with Angel becoming human and he and Buffy riding into the sunset. But if that happened right now, I'd totally want her to pick Spike. Compared to Angel, Spike's so multi-dimensional, he looks like a geodesic dome next to Angel's flat scrap of cardboard. (Of course I say this not having watched a single episode of Angel, so for me he's mostly been left behind by the series. Maybe it's not fair to compare them when everyone on the show has become more dimensional over the seasons.)
In season one, I was overwhelmed by the similarities with Harry Potter, except that Harry was a girl and a couple years older. From the school setting and the teachers that could be good or evil to the arch-villain conniving to return to full power and destroy the world, the similarities were remarkable. But within a few seasons I could barely remember that I'd once thought Buffy was just like Harry Potter.
In Harry Potter's world, people might be misled into believing that someone is in a different camp than they actually were, but there isn't a lot of ambiguity; people are either wholly good or wholly evil. You might argue Sirius Black was ambiguous, but that was only because of a misrepresentation. The fact remains that Sirius is all good. The only other possible ambiguous character is Mad-Eye Moonie (shit is that his name? I have a terrible memory for details I read in books!), but the ambiguity only arose because of an evil imposter.
In Buffy's world, once upon a time (like in season one), good and evil are clearly defined. Even when Angel turns evil, he's 100% evil without a shred of goodness left. By season 4, that dichotomy starts to change. We see that demons can be victimized, and humans can be evil. Buffy begins to explore her own darkness, and that first slayer seems pretty evil the first time we see her (end of season four?).
Where I'm at in the series right now, none of the main characters fall neatly into good or evil categories. In season five, Spike is capable of great love and great creepiness. He makes me more ambivalent than any other character in the show. I *should* hate him because he can be so abusive and stalker-y but even when he's at max creep factor, I still just want Buffy to love him. I melt when he looks at her all lovey-dovey, and he always comes through in the end. And he's a lot funnier than Angel.
Of course, nobody can comment on this, because anyone who's seen Buffy will be worried about giving away the future, and anyone who hasn't, well they stopped reading in the first paragraph. Plus they probably don't have a lot to say on the subject. So I'm not really sure what the point of any of this is. I guess it's just to purge some of the obsession from my brain? Thank goodness I only have another season and a half to go. Then life - and blogging - can get back to normal.
Edited to add: Aw, man! Seriously? The episode I watched RIGHT after posting this? Riley came back. And Buffy dumped Spike; she seemed pretty serious this time, different. Now I'm sad.