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James Marsters Favorite Episodes Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Spike emerged as one of the most popular characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and actor James Marsters has revealed his favorite episodes. Joss Whedon's creation originally debuted as a film in 1992, but following the movie’s lackluster reception, Whedon later delivered a superior TV reboot. Airing from 1997-2003, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was acclaimed for its cast and blend of comedy with relatable, coming-of-age drama. Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 introduced Spike (played by James Marsters), a British punk rock vampire who boasts about having killed two previous Slayers.

While Spike was originally planned as a recurring villain to be killed off after a few episodes, he proved so popular he survived to become a long-term antihero and love interest for Buffy. Spike received one of the best character arcs of the large ensemble. Played with infectious enthusiasm by Marsters, Spike ranged from being comic relief to one of the deepest, most pained characters.

Related: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Why Buffy & Spike's Relationship Was Always Doomed

Speaking to Sci-Fi Now, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s James Marsters revealed his two favorite episodes. He has a “soft spot” for his earliest appearance but reserves the most love for one of the show's greatest stories, and it's a remarkably restrained one in which Marsters' Spike doesn't even appear.

James Marsters' favorite Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode is season 5's "The Body". Explaining the reasoning behind his choice, the actor said, “I think Joss really proved that with that, the show didn’t need jokes, it didn’t need vampires or special effects.” Marsters is absolutely right. “The Body” is an excellent story that’s indisputably Buffy’s most grounded, to the point where it’s very hard to watch. Beginning with Buffy discovering her mother’s body in the family home, the episode is a heartbreaking study of loss and its immediate aftermath, spotlighting the morbid practicalities that feel ripped from reality. The only downside of the episode is the unnecessary vampire attack in the climax, which feels like a network-mandated decision. Marsters admires “The Body” for propelling Buffy fully into adulthood as she must take care of her younger sister, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). He also appreciates he can simply enjoy the episode on its own merits, with no personal involvement: “I got the week off, my character wasn’t in that at all so I got time to rest.”

Another of James Marsters’ favorite Buffy The Vampire episodes is Spike’s debut in season 2’s “School Hard." Arriving in Sunnydale with his villainous girlfriend Drusilla (Juliet Landau), Spike relishes the opportunity to kill another Slayer and attacks the high school during parent-teacher night. Buffy’s personal life colliding with her Slayer duties makes “School Hard” a particularly exciting episode, featuring Spike’s impulsive, magnetic entrance, barging into a vampire nest to proclaim himself leader. It’s one of Spike actor James Marsters’ favorite Buffy episodes because he “felt from the very first scene that it was working”. Although filming his first episode was “intense”, another reason for loving this story was how much joy he experienced while performing. Marsters aptly stated, “You’ve got to have fun or it’s worth nothing.”

James Marsters' immense enthusiasm for the role is felt throughout the episode, and Spike’s first interaction with Buffy is played so effectively it’s clear there’s far more to their dynamic than merely being enemies. The bloodthirsty Spike evolved tremendously after "School Hard", eventually making a noble sacrifice worthy of Buffy’s love in the season 7 finale, "Chosen". However, it’s difficult to disagree with the reasoning behind Marsters' favorite Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, an admirable vanity-free choice by the actor. Marsters gave an iconic performance as Spike, but "The Body" is arguably the finest achievement of an incredible show.

Next: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Everything That Happened After The Show Ended

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