I guess with Buffy, while she was always getting new traumas/issues to deal with that may have related to past ones, I never felt she regresssed as such. But with Dean, he was supposed to have learned in season five that he had to let go of Sam, let Sam make the decisions regarding his own fate, only to get worse than he ever was before at the start of this season.
I agree about Dean. They have done the "you have to let go...wait you can't, it's special and wonderful," dance so many times. I'd like to say they will address that this season but we've been there before and look how it worked out.
My problem with Buffy was that, to a degree, I felt like she just sort of started relearning lessons after season 3. I felt like, although some of it was really good, Buffy's fear of death and the idea of facing death was better dealt with at the end of season 1 than in season 5/season 6. Then, in season 4, I never bought that she would see Giles as useless and silly and not a part of her life until she was reminded otherwise. I felt like Whedon wanted to make some sort of statement on college life, but it didn't work for me, because I don't think Buffy was ever going to be the typical college student who would typically grow away from her loved ones. I felt like they kept this going too long, to keep the Initiative arc going, but, as with the Ben/Glory arc in season 5, it went on so long that it just annoyed the hell out of me and I wanted to reach through the screen and yank the characters away (in Glory's case, to extensive acting classes). Supernatural cutting some of these types of arcs short sometimes impresses me, although it would impress me more if the followup material wasn't equally bad (ie, the Campbells being replaced by Eve).
Then everything with Spike - I realize it's different because Angel was only "bad" when he was Angelus, whereas Spike was not someone who would go off and on depending on the event, but I still felt somewhat wary of another round of Buffy's vampire love interest who is disliked by the gang. The show delved much more heavily into abuse issues than they did with Buffy/Angel, which was necessary if you were going to write them as a couple, but a part of me at the time always felt, "Is this what works for the show? Is this a necessary storyline? Is this too heavy for the people on the show [I think it was Marni Noxon at that time] to deal with properly?" It's similar to how I began to feel about some of the more abusive aspects of the Dean/Sam and Dean/John relationships. The show backed away from a lot of the Dean/John stuff after Sera Gamble left, although I'm still not sure what they are saying about Dean/Sam, or if they even know. And "Buffy" seemed to tone down some of the darker nature of the Buffy/Spike material in the final season.
Of course Buffy did get new stories and situations, like Dawn, and her attempts at a daily job in seasons 6 and 7. I could say Dean has gotten a few new situations, but they usually tend to fade. (the show never should have had him live with Lisa and Ben if they weren't going to actually do something with it)
I tend to see "Buffy" and Supernatural as both starting out as shows full of energy and purpose and sparkly actors, and then they both sort of lost track of themselves, they go up and down depending on the era, etc. I think the writing was better on Buffy, for the most part, and had more of a cohesive vision (they also did a better job of maintaining relationships, aside from Xander and the group). I just tend to prefer the performances on Supernatural, and that every character doesn't speak in clipped quips.
I also have to admit that I really loved Cordelia and the show was never the same for me after she left, so that makes me biased in judging the show.
Edited by steve91199, Nov 3, 2013 @ 8:30 PM.