- 6 Seasons
Dawson's Creek is a teen drama that aired on the WB from 1998 to 2003. This was a golden era for melodramatic programming starring impossibly attractive all-American actors. Dawson's Creek quickly became one of the most popular shows of this genre. The hour-long drama focuses on four teenage friends who encounter the typical rites of passage as they progress through their high school and college years. The show is most noteworthy for the way its characters use unrealistically mature language to articulate the uncertainty and confusion of being teenagers. This is not a flaw in the show's writing. It makes the series unique among its pedantic peers. The teens on Dawson's Creek are not meant to be literal 15-year-olds. Dawson's Creek stars James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery, a Massachusetts teen and film fanatic who compares his life to the more exciting lives lived by fictional characters. Dawson's tomboyish best friend Joey, played by Katie Holmes, secretly pines for him. The central drama in the early seasons of the show centers around the changing dynamics of their platonic friendship. Dawson cannot see the perfect potential girlfriend right in front of him, so he pursues Michelle Williams' beautiful and troubled Jen Lindley. Joshua Jackson plays Pacey Witter, Dawson's wise-cracking best friend. Pacey throws himself headfirst into exciting experiences, while the more analytical Dawson watches from the sidelines. Dawson feels left out of the excitement that everyone else seems to be enjoying without him. In the end, Joey falls in love with Pacey and remains best friends with Dawson. Dawson's Creek is remarkable for launching the careers of four stellar actors. It is unique among teen shows in that every single major player is still famous and actively working. Van Der Beek has reinvented himself as a self-aware comedian. Jackson has never stopped playing casually handsome bad boys. Holmes worked steadily in small, interesting films before marrying Tom Cruise and ascending to the top of the celebrity ladder. Williams is now regarded as one of the best actresses of her generation. Dawson's Creek is not a particularly great show, but it encapsulated a moment in teen-focused media. It took teenage experiences seriously and expanded the ways in which coming-of-age stories were told. Every teenager can relate to Dawson's desire to live a life like the ones depicted on television. Dawson's Creek validates those feelings with stellar acting and refreshingly direct dialogue.