I know no bigger fan of Dawson’s Creek than my friend Jim Sloss, who was kind enough to teach me that Pacey’s boat is named True Romance and to write this:
Over the years Sam has asked me many times if I’d like to write something for B&S and I’d always hem & haw and then never get around to it. Then came the box set of all box sets, the show that is like a time capsule to the 1990s and one of my all-time favorites, Dawson’s Creek.
In 1998 when this show came out I can remember vividly watching it on my VCR the following morning (because I had to work the night before) and from the first moment of the pilot to the last I was hooked, the dialogue was nothing that I’d heard before in a teen soap. They took a chance at treating the audience like adults rather than kids and it paid off. So, from that night on I followed the “kids” from Capeside each week for six seasons.
Created by Kevin Williamson, the co-creator of the horror franchise Scream, this series is a fictionalized account of a young film buff from a small town just trying to find his way. Pretty much what Kevin Williamson did was pitch what he knew and so he told a fictionalized version of his growing up in North Carolina. The show was launched on the WB network in January 1998 and was an instant hit with the show being parodied on MTV and Saturday Night Live. Their use of current pop culture and hit music for the time was what kept it relevant each week and talked about on school campuses.
During the late 90s, Dawson’s Creek was considered cutting edge for teen angst, touching on issues that were not talked about on TV and even less so in public. The first season dealt with drug abuse, addiction and infidelity along with every teenage boys dream… the inappropriate relationship with a hot teacher. In 1998 that was a huge story arc for a main character with the teacher just leaving to avoid scandal. These types of stories were becoming more and more common during this time and now leads to the teacher spending long stretches in prison rather than just moving on to another school.
Yet along the way these colorful kids learned from their mistakes and grew into functioning adults just trying to make their way. With the main character Dawson Leery, played by James Van Der Beek, not getting his High School crush Joey Potter, played by Katie Holmes, but instead getting to fulfill his dream of working in movies and TV where he turned his life into a teen drama TV show just like Kevin Williamson.
I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with the greatest quote and moment of this fantastic tv show. In the finale we find our core characters several years in their future living their lives with little interaction when everyone is reunited for a wedding they immediately learn that one of the main characters, Jen Lindley, is dying of cancer. While Dawson is spending time with his close friend at a hospice facility she has this Hollywood filmmaker record a video for her infant daughter to watch when she’s older. In that video one line she says that gets me every time is “Be sure to make mistakes. Make a lot of them, because there’s no better way to learn and to grow.” While she’s saying that you can see the anguish on Michelle Williams’ face, showing the audience how fragile she is at the end of her short life and how she just wants the best for her child.
This show never shied away from tough storylines and in the end wrapped up everyone’s arc phenomenally.
I would give this series a 10 out 10!!
P.S. The popular Jenna Ortega can be seen watching Dawson’s Creek in Scream 5 out in 2022 and currently on Paramount+.
Thanks again Jim.
The Mill Creek release of the entire series has all 127 episodes across six seasons, along with seven hours of bonus extras, which include Entertainment Weekly‘s 20th Anniversary Reunion, audio commentaries on select episodes, a retrospective featurette and alternate scenes and an alternate ending to the pilot episode.
I watched several of the episodes on this set as, surprise, I never watched this show, despite Jim telling me near consistently — we lived in a house with six people while this show was popular, so I have no idea how I didn’t watch it with him — that I need to watch “The Dawnson,” as he put it.
Surprisingly — as I have often remarked about Williamson’s other work — I really liked what I watched. It felt honest and truthful, nearly lived in. I’ve been watching a few episodes a week now and really enjoying the opportunity to be part of the lives of these characters.
These Mill Creek TV sets are great because they really give you the opportunity to do the same, exploring or binging or however you choose to watch. And unlike streaming, they’re always there for you, not being edited or taken down when you’re in the middle of watching a season.
You can buy the Dawson’s Creek set from Mill Creek at Deep Discount.