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Top Characters

Ocipital, from Hellmouth High's Line League, also likes to analyze data. Instead of analyzing the best and worst episodes, Ocipital looks at how many lines each regular or recurring character or guest star has in each episode of Angel (or Buffy). The Line League's data can be combined with the data from this site to see whether the quality of an episode is related to the number of lines that these characters have in that episode. Most of the data on this page concerning the number of lines a character has comes from the Line League.

The Line League has complete or near complete data for the 18 characters who have at least 200 lines. The list below ranks these characters based on their contribution to the episode quality along with one-shot characters played by guest stars, who are treated as if they are a single character and otherwise unmentioned crossover characters from Buffy who are also lumped together as a single character. All the data below would change if more characters were added.

The numbers in parentheses next to each name represents how many points an episode gains (or loses) each time the character opens her or his mouth, assuming that the number of lines that these characters have is the main cause of the quality of an episode. If a character does not appear in an episode, it is treated as if the character had zero lines, which is actually the case. Scores are high for characters who talk a lot in good episodes and talk little or are absent in weak episodes. The data below take into account when the episode aired.

Characters Who Enhance Episode Quality

We do not actually know whether the number of lines these characters have causes an episode to be great. However, these characters do tend to speak more in better episodes than in weaker episodes.

1. Faith (0.228)

On Buffy, Faith seemed to have very little influence on the quality of episodes. She does much better on Angel. Half of the episodes in which she appears are among the top-15 episodes of Angel. She appears in only one episode in the bottom half of Angel episodes, "Judgment," and it is the episode in which Faith has the fewest lines.

2. Doyle (0.168)

Despite appearing in only about 9% of Angel episodes, Doyle managed to appear in two of the top-three episodes, one more in the top-ten, and two more in the top-25. An especially heavy presence in "Hero" helps his ranking. Unfortunately, strong showings in the unpopular "The Bachelor Party" and "I Fall to Pieces" ensures that he remains below Faith in the rankings.

3. Eve (0.134)

Eve ranks high mostly because she was smart enough to be absent during the four least popular fifth season episodes. She would have done better if she did not also skip "Smile Time" and if she were not so quiet in "Not Fade Away" and "A Hole in the World."

4. Buffy Crossover Characters Not Otherwise Mentioned (0.129)

This category combines appearances by Andrew, Anne, Buffy, Drusilla, The Master, Oz, Willow, and three "gun-toting maniacs" from the Watchers Council who appeared first on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They appear in 14 of the 50 best episodes and only 5 of the remaining 60 episodes. Two of these five appearances simply reuse a couple of lines from better Buffy episodes. The score would be better if Willow and Drusilla actually said anything in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb" and "The Trial" respectively. Buffy's appearance in "I Will Remember You" and Willow's appearance in "Orpheus" appear to be particularly beneficial. The clear weak link in this group is Anne. She has a major role in the only two bottom-30 episodes with Buffy crossover characters.

5. Darla (0.080)

Each of the four episodes in which Darla has the most lines are all among the top-40 episodes of Angel. Of the remaining 15 episodes in which Darla has lines, only four are among the top-40 episodes of Angel. The episode in which she has the most lines, conveniently titled "Darla," falls in the top-ten of all episodes in terms of quality. Darla would have helped her case more if she had actually said something in the popular "To Shansu in L.A."

6. Wesley (0.074)

On Buffy, Wesley seemed to have very little impact on episode quality, and what little impact he had appeared to be negative. He does much better on Angel. Since appearing in Los Angeles, only one of the ten episodes with the fewest Wesley lines falls in the top half of all episodes in quality. Eight of the ten episodes with the most Wesley lines fall in the top half in terms of quality. Wesley, however, missed four top-25 episodes simply because he arrived in Los Angeles too late to appear in them. He also erred in missing the popular "Destiny" in season five simply because the actor who played him wanted to marry someone who plays one of the characters in #4 above.

7. Angel (0.056)

Angel does not do nearly as well in his own series as he did in Buffy's. However, as the title character, he does much better than his ex-girlfriend did in her series. Of the 20 episodes with the most Angel lines, seven are among the 30 best episodes. Of the 20 episodes with the fewest Angel lines, only three are among the top 30. Unlike on Buffy, splitting Angel into his ensouled and soulless entities makes very little difference.

Characters with Minimal Effects on Episode Quality

We do not know for certain if the presence or absence of some characters in an episode affects the episode's quality. We can be near certain that the relative presence or absence of these characters has little effect.

8. Fred (0.031)

Six of the ten episodes with the most Fred lines are in the bottom 25 in terms of quality. She does benefit from being completely silent in "Belonging" and in being gagged for most of "Why We Fight." She also misses all of the weak episodes in the middle of season 2.

9. Lindsey (0.022)

Slightly over half of Lindsey's appearances are among the 30 best episodes. However, he has more than 35 lines in only one of these episodes. He appears in five episodes ranked #60 or below and has over 40 lines in four of them.

10. Cordelia (0.021)

Cordelia does a little better in Los Angeles than she did in Sunnydale. However, she still does not have much of an impact. She benefits from having many lines in popular episodes like "Birthday," "You're Welcome," and "Waiting in the Wings" as well as having few lines in "The House Always Wins," "Blood Money," and "Happy Aniversary." She is brought down by missing five top-ten episodes, by being much less talkative than usual in "Lullaby" and "Sanctuary," and by being very talkative in "First Impressions."

11. Jasmine (0.011)

The data on this page credits all lines spoken by Charisma Carpenter in the fourth season to Jasmine except for higher dimension and dream/hallucination sequences. The two episodes in which she had the most lines and the two episodes in which she had the fewest lines are all among the 40 weakest episodes. She does have many lines in the popular "Spin the Bottle," but she does not do well by dying before the popular "Home." When Jasmine is split between her possession of Cordelia's body and her divine state, the former climbs a couple of slots to ninth place. The divine Jasmine falls below Illyria.

12. Lilah (0.002)

Lilah ends up with the smallest impact of any major character the old fashioned way. She has many lines and very few lines in both top episodes and in weak episodes. The five episodes with the most Lilah lines and the five episodes with the fewest Lilah lines each have two episodes in the top-25 episodes in terms of quality and one in the bottom 25.

13. Connor (-0.010)

Connor showed up in Los Angeles just in time to pariticpate in what is probably the weakest end of a season in the Buffyverse. None of his third season episodes fall in the top half all episodes in terms of quality. This may be the only mistake he made that he learned from. In the fourth season, seven of the eight episodes in which he has the fewest lines fall in the bottom-40 in terms of quality. Five of the eight episodes in which he has the most lines are in the top 40 in terms of quality. Both of his season 5 appearances are in top-30 episodes. It would have helped if he spoke up more in "Spin the Bottle" and "Not Fade Away."

Characters with a Negative Association with Episode Quality

A strong presence from these characters does not necessarily cause an episode to be weak. However, the more lines that they have in an episode, the less that fans like that episode.

14. Illyria (-0.053)

Illyria's problem is that, of the six best episodes in season five, "Not Fade Away" is the only episode in which she has more than one line. This is only somewhat mitigated by appearing by only one of the nine weakest episodes of the season, "The Girl in Question."

15. Harmony (-0.067)

Harmony does better in Los Angeles than she did in Sunnydale, but that is not saying much. Harmony's problem is that the two episodes in which she has the most lines by far are the average "Disharmony" and the unpopular "Harm's Way."

16. Gunn (-0.073)

Gunn's problem is that the episodes in which he participates the most tend not to be all that good. The five episodes in which Gunn has the most lines are all in the bottom 20 in terms of quality.

17. One-Shot Guest Stars (-0.082)

One-shot guest stars do not do any better on Angel than they do on Buffy. Seven of the top ten episodes of Angel have no one-shot guest stars. "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" is the only bottom-ten episode to lack a one-shot guest star and "Unleashed" is the only other bottom ten episode in which one-shot guest stars have fewer than 50 lines. Lawson in "Why We Fight" and Harry Doyle and Richard Straley in "The Bachelor Party" seem to do the most damage. The Robopop from "Lineage," the residents of the Hyperion Hotel in "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been," and, especially, the puppets in "Smile Time" only partially mitigate the harm done by the one-shot guest stars.

18. Lorne (-0.090)

Lorne's problem is that he rarely has many lines in the best episodes. "Spin the Bottle" is the only episode among the top 30 in quality in which Lorne has at least 30 lines. He does not have as many as 40 lines in any episode in the top 45 in terms of quality.

19. Spike (-0.100)

Spike is one character who should have stayed in Sunnydale, if that were an option after burning up as that town turned into a sinkhole. On Buffy, he did much better without a soul than with one. Unfortunately, he had a soul in all but two of his appearances on Angel. Both of his two pre-fifth season appearances, before he received a soul and when he would simply be just another Buffy crossover character, were in top-25 episodes, even if his participation in "Darla" was minimal. After becoming a regular, Spike suffers from below average participation in "Not Fade Away," "You're Welcome," and especially "Smile Time," all of which are among the top-six episodes.

20. Kate (-0.126)

Of the five episodes in which Kate has the most lines, none are among the top-40 episodes in terms of quality and three are in the bottom 30. Of the five episodes in which she has the fewest lines, four are in the top 40 and none are in the bottom 40.


The data above suggest that any Faith-centered series should spin off from Angel rather than from Buffy. One would have to stretch to find other candidates for a spin-off. Unfortunately, a Doyle spin-off would be impossible unless the character were recast. Despite the score above, the webmaster cannot picture an Eve-centered series. Perhaps Mutant Enemy should follow the rule that spin-offs should center on minor characters and pick a Buffy crossover character for a spin-off. "I Will Remember You" was the best episode with more than a token appearance by a crossover character, so a show could focus on the young, blonde woman from that episode. A series focused on her might become a classic.

Overall, 36.4% of the quality of an episode can be attributed to the number of lines that these characters have. Splitting Angel into ensouled and soulless characters does nothing to explain episode quality. Splitting Jasmine to Cordelia possessor and object of worship explains only 0.2% more of episode quality.

This page was last modified on May 8, 2005