2. Riley Finn (Marc Blucas)
The “Rebound Guy”. Poor Riley, this might be the most maligned character in the entire Buffyverse and I have always felt it was unfair to the character and the actor. Riley had a lot going against him on the show. He was the guy after Angel, his initial storyline on the show, The Initiative stuff, was really clunky and then he was saddled with being insecure of Buffy’s powers whenever the writers of the show realized they hadn’t written anything Riley-centric and so just went with the lamest character flaw they could be bothered to think of in between coffee breaks.
But I liked Riley. I thought Marc Blucas and SMG had some really good chemistry as the Midwestern farm boy and the Cali girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. And the two actors could generate some serious heat in the sexual chemistry department too. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch the “Where the Wild Things Are” episode where Buffy and riley are trapped in a magic sex loop and tell me the two of them weren’t smoldering in their sex scenes. And Riley clicked with the rest of the Scooby Gang.
But eventually the decision was made that Riley had to go and his exit story (Riley became a pathetic loser who was paying vamp hookers to feed on him) was just as ignominious as all the other baad stories that the character was saddled with. I liken the treatment of Riley Finn to how Martha Jones was treated during her season on DOCTOR WHO. Martha was always written into a corner because she was the “Rebound Girl” and had to suffer under the heavy shadow of previous Companion Rose while Riley had to deal with the same treatment while being under the large looming shadow of Angel. And it was made even worse by having Angel show up to remind Buffy (and viewers!) of what we were missing while at the same time the groundwork was being laid for the dreadful Spike and Buffy stuff. Riley deserved better.