Buffy had the benefit of having Angel AND Spike in the same programme with her and her Scooby gang. Buffy all the way. Especially Once More With Feeling. Inspired!
Then again, I'm a fan of the 'underdog' characters - the ones who get shoved into the corner like a ficus plant, turned into part of the scenery, though they could be so much more useful.
S5 was supposed to be the end of the series, but UPN picked it up when the WB dumped it and the end of the season was slightly reworked so they could do something else. Willow was supposed to go dark in S5, but they moved it b/c the show wasn't ending. Aside from getting some cool eps out of S6 and S7, the show could've ended after S5 and it would've been just fine.
Spike's interactions w/ Buffy's mom are some of my favorite moments
J-sun - you should watch the movie, just look at it as the comedy that started it all. its a hoot