In order of character appearances:
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers (22/22)
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris (22/22)
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers (22/22)
- James Marsters as Spike (22/22)
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg (22/22)
- Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins (21/22) (Does not appear in "Normal Again")
- Amber Benson as Tara Maclay (17/22) (Does not appear in "Gone", "Doublemeat Palace", "As You Were", "Two to Go" and "Grave")
In order of character appearances:
- Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson (11/22)
- Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells (11/22)
- Adam Busch as Warren Mears (9/22)
- Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (8/22)
- James C. Leary as Clem (6/22)
- Kali Rocha as Halfrek (4/22)
- Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison (3/22)
- Jeff Kober as Rack (3/22)
- Amelinda Embry as Katrina Silber (2/22)
- Marc Blucas as Riley Finn (1/22)
- Andy Umberger as D'Hoffryn (1/22)
- Dean Butler as Hank Summers (1/22)
- Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers (1/22)
Giles decides to return to England months after Buffy's death, but on the same day, her friends resurrect her through a powerful spell, believing that her mystical (as opposed to a natural) death in Glory's portal meant that she might have been sent to hell. The season deals largely with her sorrow at being in fact torn from heaven. Struggling with money, taking care of a house, and her sister Dawn, Buffy finds a job at the Doublemeat Palace as she finds herself again in the daily grind. Buffy eventually begins a violent relationship with Spike, which brings momentary relief from her hardships.
She is consistently tormented by The Trio, three nerds from Sunnydale High who have joined to take over the town in an effort that goes from being inane to truly evil. Jonathan, who was featured in earlier seasons mostly as a victim, joins Warren, the architect of a robot girlfriend in Season Five, and Andrew, whose brother Tucker sent Hell Hounds to the Prom in Season Three.
A persistent subplot involves Willow and her growing abuse of magic. After she is forced to face with the consequences of her addiction, she attempts a difficult withdrawal when her lover Tara is accidentally killed by Warren. Willow descends into darkness and begins a destructive rampage, at first to avenge, but later to relieve her own suffering by bringing on an Apocalypse. Xander's unconditional love brings her back and saves the world.
Spike eventually insists that Buffy admit she loves him. When she refuses, Spike attempts to rape her as a way to resume their no-means-yes sexual affair. He then leaves Sunnydale seemingly in search of vengeance, but is awarded his soul after painful trials instead. Rupert Giles departs as a regular character; he would now return only as a special guest.
List of Episodes
- This was the first of two seasons in which Buffy aired not on the WB Television Network, but on the United Paramount Network (UPN).
- Season 6 had a series of promotional clips in advertisement for the season's debut and campaign for the series' move to UPN.
- This season earned the series Emmy Award “outstanding hairstyling,” “outstanding makeup (non-prosthetic),” and “outstanding makeup (prosthetic)” nominations for episode "Hell's Bells;" as well as a “outstanding music direction” nomination for "Once More with Feeling." The musical episode won the Hugo Awards category “best dramatic presentation.”
- This is the only season of either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel that does not feature an appearance by Angel. However, Buffy and Angel had an off-screen meeting, between episodes "Flooded" and "Life Serial."
- This season has the least episodes, either written or directed by creator Joss Whedon with only one, "Once More, with Feeling."
- This is the only season not to feature Sunnydale High School, not the original, the rebuilt nor the destroyed remains.
- This is the only season in which Amy Madison appears in more than a single episode.
- Joss Whedon has stated about this season: “Okay, Buffy’s come back from the dead, so you have to deal with that in a big way. Season six was basically about, 'Okay, we’re grownups. We have no mentor, we have no mother, we have no parental figures. We’re dealing with marriage and alcoholism and a really abusive relationship. We’re dealing with someone who is practically suicidally depressed'. It’s weird, but people didn’t respond to that so much. Also, the metaphor of sex has become very graphic and real. What were mystical demons have become three nerds with guns. Very real death, very mundane. The idea was to break down the mythic feeling of the show, because there is a moment at childhood when you no longer get that. Everything isn’t bigger than life; it’s actual size. It’s real loss. At the same time, there’s the darker side of power and Buffy’s guilt about her power and her feeling about coming back to the world. And her getting into a genuinely unhealthy relationship with Spike that was all about dominance, control and, ultimately, deep misogyny. How lost did we get? Well, our villain turned out to be Willow.”