Above all else, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a show about people. Sure, there were demons, villainous gods, witches, werewolves, apocalyptic disasters and an endless supply of mythology, but all told Buffy was about the characters at its core, who drove the story forward and grew with their surreal hardships.
And whilst the personal growth of key characters such as Angel, Willow Rosenberg, Anya Jenkins, Rupert Giles and Buffy herself were all masterful exercises in both writing and performance, there is another figure who stands as the show's crowning achievement in character development: the iconic, fan favourite vampire, Spike, as played without fault by James Marsters.
Introduced in the show's second season as the new big bad, Spike's villainous turn was soon overshadowed by the rise of Angelus, but it wasn't long until Joss Whedon and his team of writers realised they had more than just another brief antagonist on their hands, and were in fact working with a character of infinite narrative potential.
Following on from his recurring stint in season two, Spike returned to Buffy for a one-episode guest spot the following year, before replacing Angel as the show's resident vampire. From season four onward, it became clear that Spike was one of the series' best characters, and for the rest of the show, his proved to be perhaps the greatest character arc ever committed to the small screen.
But how exactly is Spike's the best piece of character development in TV history?