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Big Bad (abbreviated to BB or BBEG for big bad evil guy) is a term originally used by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series to describe a major recurring adversary, usually the chief villain or antagonist in a particular broadcast season.[1][2] It has since been used to describe annual villains in other television series, and has also been used in scholarly work discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[1][3]

On Buffy the Vampire SlayerEdit

The term "Big Bad" was originally used on American television program Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which aired 1997–2003). According to author Kevin Durand (2009), "While Buffy confronts various forms of evil during each episode, each season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its own 'big bad' villain who dominates throughout the season. The power of the 'big bad' always threatens to end the world, but Buffy ultimately overcomes him or her in the season finale."[3]

The term was originally used in the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", in which Buffy Summers describes the newly soulless Angel as "the big bad thing in the dark". The phrase may originate in various fairy tales (particularly "Three Little Pigs" and the related song) about the "Big Bad Wolf". The phrase "big bad" by itself was first used on screen in Season 3, in the episode "Gingerbread" where Buffy says that an occult symbol is harmless, "not a big bad".

The first "big bad" villain on the program was The Master,[4] played by Mark Metcalf. According to author Jan Jagodzinski, the battle between Buffy and the evil Master is "the central issue of season one"; The Master, like all the "big bads", is a "symptom of postmodernity".[4]


  1. ^ a b MacNeil, W. P. (2003). "You Slay Me: Buffy as Jurisprude of Desire". Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 24(6), pp. 2421-2440.
  2. ^ Brannon, J. S. (2007). "It's About Power: Buffy, Foucault, and the Quest for Self Archived 2011-09-30 at the Wayback Machine". Slayage, v. 24.[failed verification]
  3. ^ a b Durand, Kevin K. (2009). Buffy Meets the Academy: Essays on the Episodes and Scripts as Texts. McFarland. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7864-4355-0.
  4. ^ a b Jagodzinski, Jan (2008). Television and youth culture: televised paranoia. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 145. ISBN 1-4039-7808-5.

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