The Hellmouth's Vampires
selected from Cult Times Special #09


History: Spike (also known as William the Bloody) is one of a new breed of vampires. He's English, from London, and is not quite 200. Spike got his name from his habit of torturing people with railroad spikes, and has apparently killed two Slayers in his time, one during the Boxer rebellion. For a long while, he and a vampire named Drusilla have been lovers.

Reason for Arrival in Sunnydale: As with many others, the lure of the Hellmouth draws Spike in, alongside the fact that he wants to have some fun. One of his first actions on arrival is to confront the remaining Sunnydale vampires who are about to choose a replacement leader for the Master. With 'The Annoying One' (as Spike refers to him) not impressed by the vampire's first abortive attempt to kill Buffy, Spike decides to elect himself leader by throwing the boy into a cage and hoisting it into direct sunlight with the words, "From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual and a little more fun around here."

Fiendish Plans: Spike is one of the more careful vampires, and from his arrival, he observes Buffy's response to attack in order to plan an effective method to stop her. Too often Spike is a victim of circumstance. His raid on Sunnydale High is thwarted by Joyce Summers braining him with an axe, and his joy at finding a simply-not-herself Buffy abroad on Halloween is spoilt when a curse placed on the Slayer is removed at the least opportune moment. Later, when offered the Slayer by her friend in return for the gift of vampirism, Spike is beaten by Buffy threatening a still-weak Drusilla.

After this setback, Spike makes plans to help his love, sending a group of assassins named the Order of Taraka to at least distract Buffy while he kidnaps Angel to use his blood in a ritual to empower Dru once again. Sadly for Spike, Buffy's desire to save her boyfriend results in heavy masonry crashing down on the vampire and his beloved. Spike is later seen in a wheelchair, until he recuperates.

When Angel loses his soul and returns to the vampire fold, his plan to open a gate to Hell is an anathema even to Spike, who prefers his humans walking around 'like Happy Meals on legs', and sets out to stop his nemesis. Returning to Sunnydale after a short absence, Spike kidnaps Willow and Xander in the hope of receiving a love spell to make the uncaring Dru fall for him again.

Success Rate: Although his early efforts leave a little to be desired, Spike does succeed in helping Drusilla back to health. His plan to save his and Drusilla's skin works like a charm, and he leaves Buffy at Angel's mercy. Six out of 10 on the success scale.

Reason for Leaving Sunnydale: As part of a pact with Buffy to help stop Angel opening a doorway to Hell, Spike agrees to leave Sunnydale for good with Drusilla in tow (although not of her own free will). After a brief return to Sunnydale, Spike leaves to make Drusilla fall for him once again the old vampire way: torturing her until she agrees to date him again.

Paul Spragg
Spike gives Buffy the half-nelson

"A good quip and a chance to kick butt and I'm happy". James Marsters, who plays Spike, is interviewed in this issue about Buffy, Millennium and being too cool for The X-Files.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer BBC2, Weds, 18.45

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The Doctor assesses his new medical assistant, Tom Paris

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When Deep Space Nine ends in 1999, there will be no replacement series immediately waiting in the wings to take over. For the first time in seven years, there will be only one series of fresh Star Trek episodes on television. For Robert Picardo, the actor who plays the austere holographic Doctor, that fact can only work in Voyager’s favour…

“Ultimately it’s a good thing for the show,” he tells Cult Times, “because Deep Space Nine has its loyal fans, and we have our loyal fans, and then we have fans that watch both shows. But if either our show or their show went off the air I think it would benefit the other because there is that hunger among loyal Star Trek fans for new shows. If we’re the only game in town, we’re hoping they’ll come over.”

There’s been much debate among viewers concerning whether the demise of Deep Space Nine will serve as the catalyst that resolves the starship Voyager’s current predicament. For five years the ship has been lost in the Delta Quadrant, cut off from Starfleet, family and friends. Kate Mulgrew recently voiced her opinion that the ship would arrive home by the end of Season Five, and Picardo agrees with this line of reasoning.

“My prediction, three years ago, when everyone would say, ‘Would Voyager make it back to the Alpha Quadrant?’, I would say ‘Yes, when Deep Space Nine goes off the air’. That was my prediction. I still think I’m going to be right. This is not based on any knowledge or fact, but I do believe we will find our way home at the end of this year simply because you’ve got to have one original Star Trek show in prime time in the Alpha Quadrant.

Picardo has already considered how such a move would affect the Doctor’s future, and predicts that an early story in Season Six will find the Voyager crew rallying around their holographic friend.

“The very first issue from the Doctor’s point of view is that he would be deleted,” he announces. “All of his additional adaptive learning would simply be wiped clean because, what’s the point? He’s designed for one use. This is an unprecedented situation where he has stepped forward and filled in for the organic ship’s doctor. I think Starfleet’s attitude would be, ‘Thank God, you’re all home, let’s blank this Doctor and reboot him so we can use him as a first aid kit again’.

“It seems to me that my first storyline would be for Janeway and the crew to testify on behalf of maintaining me – rearguing the whole sentience thing, whether my combined experience and record of service warrant keeping me intact as a I am now. I hope they do – otherwise they’ll fire me and I’ll be out of work!”

It’s 10 months since Cult Times last spoke to the actor (see Special #05), and it’s comforting to see that he remains as bright and inventive as ever. While some actors on a series are happy to sit back, receive their scripts and do their scenes, it’s obvious that Picardo thinks through the logic of his character – and always has a wealth of potential storyline and situations that he hopes the Voyager producers may one day use.

David Richardson

Continued in Cult Times Special #08 • plus Robert Duncan McNeill on Captain Proton, Dr Chaotica and the fire on Voyager's set "We were just about to break for dinner and as we were walking to stage eight they yelled, ‘Fire, get off the stage!’"

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