A depraved and brutal vampire famous for his acts of cruelty, he later gains a soul and feels remorse for all he has done. His relationship with Buffy Summers is complicated by the curse that gave him his soul.
Angel was so popular he eventually had his own spinoff TV series.
An amoral wizard who knew Giles back when they were both rebellious punks using magic to stir up trouble, he becomes a potent and recurring enemy to Buffy and friends because he's willing to sell his dark magic abilities to anyone who's willing to pay, including demons.
Ethan Rayne: suave, sophisticated, arrogant, total jerk.
Seemingly a student at University of California, Sunnydale, he's really an operative for a secret government group called the Initiative. He gets in a relationship with Buffy, but the Initiative's goals often conflict with hers, complicating things.
Riley and Buffy's relationship is probably doomed to failure from the start.
Originally a popular Sunnydale High student who uses her popularity to harass Buffy, she eventually becomes a member of the Scooby Gang, even having a relationship with Xander despite its effect on her status.
Cordelia becomes an integral member of Buffy's inner circle before moving to Los Angeles.
Emotionally unstable, she revels in her powers as a Slayer but doesn’t always use them for good. Buffy puts her in a coma at one point, and she spends some time in prison.
Faith is the "bad girl" who becomes a Slayer and continues to struggle with mental health issues.
She's Buffy's little sister who doesn’t actually exist. Until she does.
The whole "little sister we never heard about before, but everyone acts like she's always been there" thing is one of the weirdest events in the Buffyverse, and that's saying a lot.
He's a grinning, glad-handing politician who abhors foul language. He's also a wizard who's a few hundred years old and wants to become immortal at any cost.
Mayor Wilkins' attempt to transform into a demon leads to an epic battle at a graduation ceremony.
He's your average music-obsessed teenage boy, involved in an on-again, off-again relationship with Willow. Also, he's a werewolf.
Daniel "Oz" Osbourne is bitten by his werewolf nephew.
A harsh psychology professor at University of California, Sunnydale, she also leads the Initiative, a government organization that mercilessly hunts vampires and demons.
Maggie Walsh is not well-liked, either as a professor or within the Initiative.
One of the popular "mean girls" at Sunnydale High, her transformation into a vampire didn’t make her any less vapid or shallow, only more evil (probably).
Harmony's vampiric schemes are often inept.
A core Scooby Gang member, her research skills and, later, powerful witchcraft are integral to Buffy's success.
Willow's growth from shy "nerd" through self-discovery and empowerment is one of the show's most beloved character arcs.
Formerly a popular cheerleader, her life becomes complicated when she's chosen as the Slayer. She burns down her high school gym battling a vampire and later has a complicated romantic relationship with another vampire.
Buffy is the title character of the whole series, so hopefully you didn’t miss this one.
An average guy who struggles to sustain successful relationships mainly due to his own feelings of inadequacy as a nonmagic human along Slayers, demons, witches and Watchers, he nevertheless is a core member of the Scooby Gang.
You probably know him as Xander, but his full name is Alexander Harris.
First a trouble-making teen summoning flying monkeys, then a member of the villainous Trio, later part of the Scooby Gang and ultimately a Watcher helping train Slayers, this wizard is much more well-known than his older brother.
Andrew Wells undergoes a significant change from villain to hero, vastly overshadowing his brother, Tucker.
A computer science teacher at Sunnydale High, she is also a member of the gypsy family that cursed Angel with a soul.
Jenny Calendar, aka Janna Kalderash, is briefly Giles' love interest before her shocking death at the hands of Angelus.
She becomes a Slayer when Buffy briefly dies, coming from Jamaica to Sunnydale only to be killed by Drusilla.
Kendra Young was only a Slayer for a short time.
Initially very shy, she meets Willow at UC Sunnydale, and together they explore witchcraft and their growing romantic feelings for each other. Her death leads to the emergence of Dark Willow.
Tara is a powerful and experienced witch even before she meets Willow.
This terrifying vampire was originally a terrible poet named William Pratt. He gradually develops a moral center and assists Buffy, falling in love with her.
Spike's bleached-blond hair and dry, sardonic humor are his trademarks.
He's Buffy's father, who rarely appears except in dreams and flashbacks.
Buffy's father's name is Hank.
A Sunnydale High student, he becomes a magic-using villain who mind-wipes his own girlfriend into being a sex slave and shoots Tara through the heart while trying to shoot Buffy.
Warren Mears' banality makes him one of Buffy's most infuriating enemies.
Although being the mother of a Slayer brings many dangers, she survives a brain tumor only to die of a brain aneurysm.
Buffy's mom, Joyce Summers, struggles with her daughter's role, but her unconditional love leaves a lasting mark on the Slayer.
Initially a Sunnydale High student who is constantly the victim of various supernatural problems (an Incan mummy, a demonic Bezoar, the swim team, etc.) before joining the villainous Trio, he is ultimately sacrificed on the Seal of Danzalthar by his Trio comrades.
Jonathan makes peace with his troubled high school years before he dies.
A witch who is turned into a rat, she regains her human form years later. Her influence on the events in Willow's life is insidiously far-reaching.
Amy Madison was, unsurprisingly, not happy about the years she spent in rat form.
The principal at Sunnydale High after the prior principal was killed, he is the son of a Slayer, was raised by a Watcher and is trained to hunt vampires.
Robin Wood knows about the Hellmouth when he becomes principal.
The principal at Sunnydale High when Buffy first arrives at the school, he is devoured by students who are possessed by the spirits of hyenas.
Principal Flutie, we hardly knew ye. Well, not as well as those hyena kids, anyway.
A Slayer in the period when hundreds of Slayers are active around the world, she is Willow's girlfriend after Tara's death.
Kennedy is a prominent member of the Slayer Organization.
She becomes Xander's love interest, even getting engaged at one point, but her true identity as a vengeance demon makes long-term happiness difficult for them to achieve together.
Anya and Xander are quite the star-crossed lovers.
She had psychic powers even before becoming a vampire, and the combination drove her mad. She has a long, long, long-term relationship with Spike.
Being an insane psychic vampire in a black dress makes Drusilla possibly the most goth character ever.
It can’t be easy being the principal of a high school on a Hellmouth, with a Slayer causing so much trouble even though he got her expelled. He ended up being eaten by a demon snake anyway.
Principal Snyder blamed Buffy for a lot of the trouble at the school.
Once a punk rocker nicknamed Ripper, he becomes a magic expert and mentor, confidant and Watcher for Slayer Buffy Summers.
Rupert Giles' steadfast leadership keeps the Scooby Gang on course when the chaos of battling vamps and demons threatens to overwhelm them.