Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dawson's Creek is an American television series aimed at (and mostly about) teenagers, that aired from January 20, 1998 to 2003. The show is semi-autobiographical, based on creator Kevin Williamson's (then best known for writing the first film in the Scream series) childhood in "small town USA"; Dawson Leery, the lead character, shares Williamson's interests and background. The show was set in a small Massachusetts town and focused on four friends who began their sophomore year of high school as the show began. The program was a defining show for its network, The WB, and made stars of its leads. It was part of a craze for teen-themed movies and television shows in America in the late 1990s.
The show generated an unusual amount of publicity before its debut, with several television critics and watchdog groups expressing concerns about its anticipated "racy" plots and dialog; the controversy even drove one of the original production companies away from the project but numerous critics praised it for its realism and intelligent dialog that included allusions to American television icons such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. By the end of its run, the show, its crew, and its young cast had been nominated for over a dozen awards, winning four of them.
Origins and reaction
Kevin Williamson, a native of the small coastal town of Oriental, North Carolina, was approached in 1995 by producer Paul Stupin to write a pilot for a television series. Stupin, who as a Fox Network executive had brought Beverly Hills, 90210 to the air, sought out Williamson after having read his script for the slasher film Scream, a knowing, witty work about high school students. Initially offered to Fox, the network turned it down but The WB was eager, looking for programming to fill its new Tuesday night lineup. Williamson said "I pitched it as Some Kind of Wonderful, meets Pump Up the Volume, meets James at 15, meets My So-Called Life, meets Little House on the Prairie". The show's lead character, Dawson Leery, was Williamson's doppleganger: obsessed with movies and platonically sharing his bed with the girl down the creek.
The show proved controversial even before it aired. Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, which was a co-producer through its Procter & Gamble Productions subsidiary, the maker of day-time soaps such as Guiding Light, sold its interest in the show three months before the premiere when the company's hometown newspapers, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Cincinnati Post, printed stories about the racy dialogue and risque plot lines. The Enquirer's television columnist, John Kieswetter , would write "As much as I want to love the show--the cool kids, charming New England setting, and stunning cinematography--I can't get past the consuming preoccupation with sex, sex, sex." How preoccupied was it? Syndicated columnist John Leo , who said the show should be called "When Parents Cringe," wrote "The first episode contains a good deal of chatter about breasts, genitalia, masturbation, and penis size. Then the title and credits come on and the story begins." The Washington Post's Tom Shales said creator Kevin Williamson was "the most overrated wunderkind in Hollywood" and "what he's brilliant at is pandering." Williamson denied this was his intention, telling television critics before the show's premiere that "I never set out to make something provocative and racy."
The Parents Television Council, the group founded by L. Brent Bozell to monitor television for sex, violence, and coarse language, proclaimed the show the single worst program of the 1997-1998 season, a title the Council would also award it for the 1998-1999 season. The Council would proclaim it the fourth worst show in 2000-2001. However, on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, the National Organization for Women offered an endorsement, saying it was one of the least sexually exploitive shows on the air.
But for every scathing review, there was a glowing one. Variety wrote it was "an addictive drama with considerable heart," "the teenage equivalent of a Woody Allen movie--a kind of 'Deconstructing Puberty.'" The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it was "a teen's dream." The Dayton Daily News listed Capeside as a television town they'd most like to live in. The Seattle Times declared it the best show of the 1997-1998 season.
The New York Times had perhaps the best headline on its review: "Young, Handsome, and Clueless in Peyton Place." That was precisely the sort of allusion real teenagers weren't likely to get, let alone make, but the show's punchy dialogue was full of them. Dawson calls his mother's co-anchor "Ted Baxter" and refers to his parents as "Rob and Laura Petrie." He responds to his principal's request for a film glorifying the football team as belonging to "the Leni Riefenstahl approach to filmmaking." Jen says her parents followed "the Ho Chi Minh school of parenting." The verbiage was high-flying too: star Michelle Williams confessed in interviews she had to consult her dictionary when she read the scripts.
The witty scripts were filled with memorable dialogue. In the fourth season finale Dawson tells Joey, "I didn't plan on graduating a virgin." Joey replies "The best-laid plans . . . " Jen declares "Don't knock sullen and introspective. Those can be two very sexy qualities." Dawson, excited over a Godard film asks "How can you not like a movie where the fake name on the guy's passport is László Kovács?"
The show, while never a huge ratings success among the general population, did very well with younger audiences and became a defining show for the WB Network. (The first season's highest ranked episode was the finale, which was fifty-ninth, while the highest rated was the second episode, scoring so well only because there was no programming on the other networks, which were carrying President Clinton's state of the union address in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal.)
Dawson's Creek's ultimate impact was far broader than the Nielsen Ratings would imply, alluded to in such disparate places as Jim Borgman's comic strip "Zits", a Maureen Dowd column about the Republican leadership of Congress, and the film 10 Things I Hate About You. It made stars of its leads and now seems ripe for the kind of academic analysis its former lead-in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has already been subjected to.
Set in the fictional Massachusetts seaside town of Capeside, the show began during the tenth grade and the first year of high school for Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), and Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), three lifelong friends and Capesiders, who were joined in the pilot by Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams). All were fifteen.
Dawson was a dreamy romantic obsessed with movies, especially those of Steven Spielberg. His parents were Mitch (John Wesley Shipp), who had no profession except puttering around the house dreaming of owning a seafood restaurant, and Gale (Mary-Margaret Humes), an Emmy-winning anchor on the local TV news.
Tomboy Joey, named for Jo in Little Women, had always been in love with Dawson, even if she denied it and he was oblivious to her adoration. For years, she'd been climbing in his bedroom window and platonically sharing his bed. She lived down the creek from Dawson and took a rowboat to visit him. Joey's mother was dead from cancer and her father, Mike (Gareth Williams), was in prison for "conspiracy to traffic in marijuana in excess of 10,000 pounds". Her harried and very pregnant sister, Bessie (Nina Repeta), who was about ten years older than Joey, was raising her while running the Ice House restaurant, where Joey worked as a waitress.
Pacey was best friends with Dawson and engaged in playful love-hate banter with Joey. Pacey, youngest of five, was his family's great disappointment and they never tired of reminding him of it. His dad (John Finn) was Capeside's police chief and his brother, Doug (Dylan Neal), was a cop. Pacey incessantly urged Doug to come out of the closet Doug vehemently denied being in.
Jen's parents, unable or unwilling to do anything with their out-of-control daughter--she'd begun having sex at twelve and the last straw was her being caught in flagrante delicto in her parents' bed--had exiled her from New York City to live with her rather forbidding and deeply religious maternal grandmother, Evelyn Ryan (Mary Beth Peil), a retired nurse her granddaughter called "Grams". (Ostensibly she was sent to Capeside to help her grandmother care for her bed-ridden grandfather, who was only seen asleep and would die in the season finale.) Jen and Grams lived next door to Dawson. Smitten at first sight, Dawson wooed Jen to Joey's consternation. Dawson was shocked to learn of Jen's past, not knowing what to think. Another blow came when Dawson discovered his mother was having an affair with her co-anchor. She and Mitch would ineffectually try to reconcile, eventually divorcing in the second season.
Bessie had her baby in the Leery's living room, delivered by Mrs. Ryan, who disapproved of Bessie's not being married to the child's father, Bodie (Obi Ndefo). (The boy would be named Alexander.) To Pacey's utter astonishment, his English teacher Miss Jacobs (LeAnn Hunley ) took him up on his lewd suggestions and they began a torrid affair. When word leaked out about it, in order to save her reputation (not to mention to avoid prison), Pacey told the authorities it was all fiction, merely adolescent braggadocio that got completely out of hand.
The second season, which took place the morning after the events of the first season finale, brought Dawson and Joey together (she had decided to stay in Capeside), but their dating lasted all of six episodes.
There were two new students at Capeside, siblings Jack (Kerr Smith) and Andie McPhee (Meredith Monroe). Their mother had never recovered from the death of their brother Tim (shades of Ordinary People) and was delusional, carrying on conversations with him. Their father (David Dukes) was usually out of town and distant from his children. Andie was an extremely perky ultra-competitive straight-A student who somehow clicked with slacker Pacey. They dated and became lovers. Jack dated Joey for a time until he realized he was gay. This, Mrs. McPhee's mental problems, and Andie's renewed instability spurred their father to swoop in and try to move the family to Providence, but Jack refused.
Mitch became a teacher at Capeside High as he and Gail tried to figure out how or whether to try to rebuild their marriage. At the end of the season Gale moved to Philadelphia to take a news job there.
Jen, who had tried to make a fresh start in Capeside, returned to her old sullen ways. She hung out with the thoroughly evil Abby Morgan (Monica Keena), who brought out Jen's inner bitch. When Abby died--while drunk she fell off a pier--Jen delivered at Abby's church funeral a hateful diatribe against religion designed to irritate her grandmother. Jen found herself kicked out, Mrs. Ryan throwing up her hands. However, Grams almost immediately regretted the decision and, in the season finale, after Jen had lived with the Leerys and the McPhees, she welcomed Jen back--as well as a now homeless Jack.
Joey's father, Mike, was paroled after three years in prison and returned a changed man, it seemed. He had ambitious plans of expanding the Ice House, making a life for himself, and getting to know his daughters better. But he soon fell back on his old ways. His competitors in the drug trade threw a Molotov cocktail into the Ice House and the building was a total loss. Dawson had seen one of Mike's deals and told Joey. Hating herself for it, she let Chief Witter talk her into wearing a wire to entrap her father. After her father's arrest, Joey told Dawson she could never forgive him for taking her father away again.
The third season opened with Dawson returning from spending the summer with his mother in Philadelphia and on the bus found himself enchanted by the sort of woman the phrase "cherchez la femme" was created for. The temptress--named Eve--would astonish Dawson with her interest in him, as Eve was a pornographic fantasy come to life: she had no past, no friends, no family, nothing but an interest in bedding Dawson, which never came to pass, however. She would exit Capeside mysteriously and would be revealed as Jen's half-sister, born when Jen's mother was her age.
Joey realized she hadn't meant what she said about Dawson and offered herself to him but after he spurned her advances they tried being just friends again. As the season progressed, Joey became friendly with Pacey.
While in a mental hospital, Andie had slept with another patient. Pacey, who had stood by Andie in the previous season as her mental state deteriorated, was deeply unsettled by this development and ended their relationship. Capeside High got a new principal, the no-nonsense Mr. Green (Obba Babatunde), who replaced a succession of rarely seen administrators. He brought a daughter (Bianca Lawson) who, like Dawson, was a filmmaker.
To her horror, Jen found herself not only a cheerleader but the head cheerleader. Even worse, she found herself the object of the affections of a shy, moony-eyed freshman footballer, Henry (Michael Pitt). They cautiously began dating. Mitch expanded his duties at school to include coaching the hapless football team, the Minutemen. Gale, fired from her new job in Philadelphia, returned to Capeside and reconciled with Mitch. They opened a restaurant, Leery's Fresh Fish, and remarried in the season finale. Bessie and Joey turned their home into a B&B, fulfilling the dream of their late mother.
The fourth season, the gang's senior year at Capeside High, opened with Joey and Pacey returning from a summer-long cruise down the Eastern Seaboard on Pacey's boat, the True Love, spent quite platonically despite the close quarters. Pacey's hitherto unseen sister Gretchen (Sasha Alexander) returned to town, got a job at Leery's, and started dating the bosses' son.
Joey worked as a waitress at the Capeside Yacht Club under the bitchy Mrs. Valentine, the manager, and with her unpleasant son Drue. When Joey and Pacey began to date, Dawson was filled with hate and jealousy and tried to cause his former friend to wreck his sailboat in a charity race. Pacey, Dawson, and Jack would get even with the perfidious Drue by framing him for their senior prank--they put the principal's sailboat in the school's indoor pool. Dawson and Pacey finally reconciled after he rescued Pacey and Jen from a storm at sea. To do so, he stole and damaged a boat belonging to crotchety old Mr. Brooks. Dawson did chores for Mr. Brooks to work off his debt and discovered that Mr. Brooks had been a film noir director in Hollywood in the 1950s. Eventually the old man warmed to Dawson and they collaborated on a documentary about his life. When Mr. Brooks died of pancreatic cancer, he left money for Dawson to go to USC Film School.
Andie, having more than enough credits to graduate, did so half-way through her senior year so she could stay with her aunt in Italy. Though she had plans to attend Harvard University in the fall, she would be seen only a few times more during the series. Gale found herself pregnant in her forties and had a daughter, Lillian, named for Joey's mother.
Jack, again falling out with his father over his homosexuality, moved in with Jen and Grams, who had mellowed quite considerably from the first season. He began dating Tobey (David Monahan), who he met at a gay activism meeting. They would kiss--supposedly the first romantic kiss between two men in prime-time. (Critics did not applaud this milestone. Entertainment Weekly said the kiss was "typical of Dawson's this season, a thundering dud.")
On the senior ski trip, Joey and Pacey at long last consummated their relationship. But Pacey soon allowed himself to be consumed with self-doubt. Why would such a pretty, talented, and intelligent girl be dating me? he asked himself. He became sullen and did everything he could to ruin a good thing, culminating in a terrible scene at the prom. They too parted. As his friends graduated, Pacey was seen at the airport, flying off to a job on a yacht in the Caribbean, his future uncertain.
The fifth season moved the show to Boston where Joey was attending elite Worthington University (something akin to Harvard), while Jack and Jen were attending a more modest college, Boston Bay. They still lived with Grams, however, she having sold her house and moved as well. Jack joined a fraternity and spent all his time drinking and partying, leading to his nearly flunking out of school.
Pacey was also in Boston, working in the kitchen of an upscale eatery, Civilization, under owner and chef Danny Brecher (Ian Kahn). When he sold out, the new owners appointed a martinet of a manager, Alex Pearl (Sherilyn Fenn), who so alienated the staff they walked out en masse, leading to the manager's dismissal and the shuttering of the restaurant.
Dawson began the season on his first day as a production assistant on a film directed by Todd Carr (Hal Ozsan), a nasty Brit who quickly fired him. Completely disillusioned, Dawson quit film school and returned to Capeside, where his parents were disappointed in him for giving up so easily. Dawson's father was killed in an automobile wreck after a big fight with his son. Dawson discovered a film school in Boston and enrolled, making a film with overeager, oblivious, and obtuse fellow student Oliver Chirkchick (Jordan Bridges) that starred Charlie, Jen's latest former boyfriend, and Audrey Liddell (Busy Philipps), Joey's party-girl roommate at Worthington. Dawson and Jen became lovers, but she began trying to ruin things.
Joey became close to Professor Wilder (Ken Marino), her English teacher and a published novelist, and they nearly had an affair. They parted on good terms, he deciding to try writing again. He told as they parted that the greatest scene in literature was in the finale chapters of Flaubert's Sentimental Education, where two old friends reminsense about the things that never were.
The final season found Dawson in Boston shooting a horror film with Todd and carrying on an affair with the leading lady, Natasha Kelly. When Todd quit, the producers hired Dawson to finish the film. He then pitched a film of his own, an autobiographical coming of age story, but the sleazy producer (Paul Gleason) was only interested in making it into a teen sex comedy in the vein of American Pie. Dawson, wanting to be true to himself, decided that was not for him.
Pacey got a job as a stockbroker under the oleaginous Rich Rinaldi (Dana Ashbrook) and soon was sporting stylish clothes, driving a fancy car, and throwing money around. Pacey and Jack moved in with Emma Jones (Megan Gray), an English lass who was a barmaid and offered Joey a chance to return to waitressing. She took it and soon became the lover of Eddie Dooling (Oliver Hudson), who was the bartender where Joey worked and was in Joey's literature class. It was taught by Greg Hetson (Roger Howarth), who looked too young to be a professor or to be the father of a headstrong teenage daughter, Harley (Mika Boorem). Joey babysat her. Joey and Eddie had an on-again, off-again relationship, but he eventually left town. Audrey, not liking the man Pacey had become under Rich's tutelage, dropped him and picked up the bottle. She was to land in rehab in Los Angeles, her hometown.
Mrs. Ryan informed Jen that she had breast cancer. Jen persuaded her to move to New York City and live with her and Jen's mother (Mimi Rogers), now divorced, to be close to the hospital and to try to reconcile their long-standing familial differences. Jack would come with them.
The two-part series finale, titled "All Good Things . . . Must Come to An End," was set five years into the future. Joey was a book editor in New York. Dawson was in Los Angeles as creator and executive producer of a teen soap, "The Creek," where the triangle was not Dawson-Joey-Pacey but Colby-Sam-Petey. Jen was a single mother with an infant, still living in New York with Grams. Jack had returned to Capeside to teach high school English and was now Doug's lover--though Doug was still in the closet. Pacey was proprietor of the reopened The Ice House. The gang reunited in Capeside to attend Gale's wedding and at the reception Jen collapsed. Her friends learned she had a congenital heart defect, incurable. As they awaited her death, they all reminisced about their friendship and Jen arranged for Jack to adopt her baby. As for the triangle, Joey and Dawson reconciled to the fact that while they may be soulmates, it would never work. Dawson returned to California and his show, while Pacey followed Joey to New York.
Five actors were credited in the main titles for every season: James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery; Katie Holmes as Josephine Lynn "Joey" Potter, Dawson's best (female) friend; Joshua Jackson as Pacey J. Witter, Dawson's best (male) friend; Michelle Williams as Jennifer "Jen" Lindley ; and Mary Beth Peil as Evelyn "Grams" Ryan, Jen's grandmother.
The actors playing Dawson and Joey's relatives were regulars credited in the main titles through the fourth season and occasional guest stars thereafter. They were Mary-Margaret Humes, as Gale Leery, Dawson's mother; John Wesley Shipp as Mitch Leery, Dawson's father; and Nina Repeta, as Bessie Potter, Joey's older sister. Gareth Williams was seen a few times in the first and second seasons as Mike Potter, Joey and Bessie's father. Bodie Wells, Bessie's lover, was played by George Gaffney in the pilot, Obi Ndefo thereafter.
Doug Witter, Pacey's older brother, was played by Dylan Neal. He was regularly seen in the first, third, and fourth seasons. He was absent for the second season as he was a regular on the series Hyperion Bay . Gretchen Witter, Pacey's older sister, was introduced in the fourth season and played by Sasha Alexander.
Tamara Jacobs, a Capeside High English teacher Leann Hunley appeared in the first season and once in the second. Mr. Ray Peterson, another Capeside English teacher seen early in the run was Edmund J. Kearney. Abby Morgan, a Capeside student and later Jen's friend was played by Monica Keena in the first and second seasons.
Andrea "Andie" McPhee, a new student at Capeside in the second season, was played by Meredith Monroe. She was initially credited as a guest star became a regular, credited in the main titles, until she left the show mid-way through the fourth season. Kerr Smith was Jack McPhee, Andie's brother, also new to Capeside in the second season. He too was a guest star who became a regular, remaming with the show until its finale. Their father, Mr. McPhee (whose first name was given as Will and Joseph) appeared occasionally, played by David Dukes until the actor's death midway through the fourth season. The role was not recast.
Eve, a mysterious new woman in Capeside in the third season wasBrittany Daniel. Capeside High's new principal Mr. Green was Obba Babatunde and Bianca Lawson was his daughter. Michael Pitt was Henry Parker, a freshman football player whose character abruptly disappeared at the end of the third season.
When the story relocated to Boston in the fifth season, several new actors appeared. Ken Marino was Professor David Wilder, Joey's English professor. Busy Philipps, who would become a regular, credited in the main titles, was Audrey Liddell, Joey's roommate. Todd Carr, a movie director was played by Hal Ozsan and Jordan Bridges was film student Oliver Chirckirk. Pacey's boss Danny Brecher, a chef, was Ian Kahn. Charlie Todd, Jen's boyfriend who became smitted with Joey was Chad Michael Murray.
In the final season, Oliver Hudson played Eddie Dooling, Joey's lover and Jensen Ackles was C.J., Jen's lover. Megan Gray appeared early in the season as Emma Jones, Pacey and Jack's roommate while Dana Ashbrook was Rich Rinaldi, Pacey's new boss. Roger Howarth was Professor Greg Hetson, another of Joey's English professors, and Mika Boorem was his daughter Harley.
Notable guest stars
Andy Griffith played an actor who had appeared in Mr. Brooks' films and stole his girlfriend, appearing to say goodbye to Brooks on his deathbed. Pat Hingle played a mechanic when Dawson's car broke down on his roadtrip with Gretchen. Paul Gleason was a trashy Hollywood producer and Nicole Bilderback was his assistant. Bianca Lawson was Principal Green's daughter, who was also a budding filmmaker.
Lawrence Pressman played the superintendent of Capeside schools. Rachael Leigh Cook was a college student who first appeared as a nude model in Joey's art class and later appeared in Dawson's roman a clef film about himself and Joey. Alan Fudge was the guard at the studio gate on Dawson's first day working for Todd. Julie Bowen was Dawson's aunt. Jonathan Lipnicki was Buzz, a boy Pacey was assigned in the Big Brothers program. Scott Foley was a football player in the first season. Jason Behr was a Capeside student the gang studied with. Jack Osbourne played himself, a friend of Audrey's. Eion Bailey was Jen's former boyfriend from New York who followed her to Capeside.
Ali Larter was a student at Capeside who agreed to go out with Pacey when Andie told her he was dying. Eric Balfour was a classmate of Joey's who claimed they had slept together. Mädchen Amick was a teacher at Capeside High who dated Mitch. Mimi Rogers was Jen's mother. K Callan was in charge of the Homecoming Ball, organizing it with Jen. Marla Gibbs was the admission's office secretary when Andie visited Harvard. Jaime Bergman was a prostitute in New Orleans who Pacey almost slept with. Mercedes McNab was the wife of the mugger who robbed Joey in "Downtown Crossing". Robin Dunne was A.J., who was Joey's boyfriend who she met on a college visit. Harry Shearer was the principal of Capeside High, Dave Peskin.
The theme song, "I Don't Wanna Wait" was written and performed by Paula Cole. For the first season, international broadcasts used "Run Like Mad", performed by Jann Arden, but switched to Cole's song for the remainder of the run. The producers originally planned to use Alanis Morisette's "Hand in My Pocket" for the theme (it was used in the original pilot) but she would not grant them permission and Cole's song was substituted. There were two soundtrack albums, the first selling far better than the second. (Though both albums carried stickers stating "all artists on this record have or will be featured on Dawson's Creek, the second contained two songs that never were: Jessica Simpson's "I Think I'm in Love with You" and Lara Fabian's "Givin' Up on You".) Very late in the series' run, the official music site posted a feature to create custom albums from songs appearing on the show.
Because the producers failed to secure the rights when the shows were produced and did not wish to pay for them later, some of the songs that aired in the original broadcasts (and are used in the syndicated run) were replaced in the DVD edition of the show despite the show having a signature sound.
Adam Fields was the score composer for the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons. Danny Lux, Stephen Graziano , and Dennis McCarthy (a ASCAP and Emmy Award-winning composer) wrote the score for second season episodes. Mark Mothersbaugh composed the third season scores. A CD was released solely on the show's music site on January 7, 2003, of Adam Fields' compositions.
The show was shot like a motion picture using a single camera and often filmed on location, rather being largely studio bound. The show used warm colors, similar to Party of Five, rather than the cold, harsh look of shows such as The Practice. While most of the episodes were conventional, there were two Rashomon-like episodes exploring a story from differing perspectives, and the somber fifth season episode "Downtown Crossing" featured only one regular, Joey, and her interaction with a mugger. The fourth season episode "The Unusual Suspects", was filmed as a film noir detective story, with camerawork and music appropriate to the genre.
The show at times was deliberately self-conscious, as when Eve tells Dawson he is Felicity, beginning a discussion of why Dawson doesn't like television shows which concludes with his observation that they cut away when the best part comes, immediately demonstrated by Eve, about to kiss him, is interrupted by the main titles.
Main titles for the second season were done to resemble the work of an amateur filmmaker with its camera angles and look of spilled chemicals on the print.
Dawson's Creek was nominated for fourteen awards, including ALMA Awards, Casting Society of America Awards , Golden Satellite Awards , TV Guide Awards, and YoungStar Awards. Joshua Jackson won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Actor twice and the show won the Teen Choice Award for Teen Choice Award for Choice Drama once. The series also won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Drama Series.
The show had, in the words of television experts Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh , a "semi-spinoff", Young Americans. The protagonist of Young Americans, Will Krudski (Rodney Scott), was introduced in three episodes at the end of the show's third season, as a former classmate of Dawson, Joey, and Pacey, who had moved away some years before and had returned for a visit. He was never referred to or seen before or since. Young Americans was made by the same company as Dawson's Creek, Columbia TriStar Television, and appeared in Dawson's Creek's timeslot when it went on hiatus during the summer of 2000.
The first season was released on DVD on April 1, 2003, while the final season was airing. The second season was released December 16, 2003; the third on June 29, 2004; and the fourth on October 5, 2004. A DVD of the series finale, which was sixteen minutes longer than the version aired by The WB, was released on September 30, 2003.
Dawson's Creek premiered in the U.S. on January 20, 1998 on The WB Network, Tuesdays at 9 P.M. Beginning with the second season in the fall of 1998, it moved to Wednesdays at 8 P.M. for the remainder of the run. Six seasons, totalling 128 episodes, were produced. The first season was repeated during the summer of 1998, but the show went on hiatus during successive summers. The two-hour finale aired on May 14, 2003, was repeated on May 28, and the series then left The WB schedule. The cable network TBS began weekday reruns on March 31, 2003.
The show also aired in numerous international markets, listed here with the premiere dates: Brazil, March 3, 1998; the United Kingdom, May 2, 1998; Israel, September 1, 1998; Sweden, September 11, 1998; Switzerland, December 27, 1998; Germany, January 3, 1999; Italy, January 3, 1999; France (on the TV1 Network), January 10, 1999; Australia, January 19, 1999; Romania, February 28, 1999; New Zealand, June 25, 1999; Hungary, September 11, 1999; Spain, 2000; and Portugal, April 8, 2001.
- The only character to appear in every one of the 128 episodes was Joey Potter (Katie Holmes).
- The pilot aired recycled some footage from the original pilot, resuling in continuity errors. The inital moments show two signs reading "Capeside High School" but one says "Home of the Minutemen" and the other says "Home of the Wildcats". Scenes in school switch back and forth between two obviously different buildings. The original pilot used New Hanover High School in Wilmington (which is the home of the Wildcats) while reshoots and subsequent episodes used a set on a soundstage for high school interiors and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington for exteriors.
- The publisher Simon and Schuster published a series of fifteen mass-market paperback novelizations of the series. (See the list at Amazon.com here.
- The Ice House restaurant burned at the end of the second season because the owners of the location used for filming did not wish to continue their association with the show—thus the building was written out of the program.
- Actress Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee) shot scenes to be used in the series finale but they were not used because of time constraints.
- David Dukes, who died in 2000, last appeared in the fourth season episode "You Had Me At Good Bye", which saw the departure of Andie. The episode concluded with a title card "In Loving Memory. David Dukes, 1945-2000".
- A large number of episode titles were also those of films, e.g. "The Longest Day", "Hotel New Hampshire", "Secrets and Lies", "Falling Down", "Lost Weekend", "High Anxiety", and "The Kids Are Alright". Many were allusions to William Shakespeare, e.g. the finale, "All Good Things . . . Must Come to an End", "Two Gentlemen of Capeside". One title, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", was the title of a volume of film criticism by Pauline Kael.
- There was an incredible spike in the popularity of the name "Dawson" after the show premiered. According to the Social Security Administration, the name was the 744th most popular boys name in 1997 but leapt to 198th in 1998 and 136th in 1999. It has since dropped to 204th in 2003.
- Mad Magazine parodied the show as "Dudson's Geeks" in issue 392, April 2000, while Cracked parodied it as "Dawson's Geeks" in its October 1998 issue .
Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, at EUE Screen Gems Studios and on location around Wilmington. College scenes in the fifth and sixth seasons shot at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and additional shooting was done in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1999 some scenes were shot on the University of Richmond campus. The fourth season episode "Eastern Standard Time" also did location shooting in New York City, including at Grand Central Terminal.
Created by Kevin Williamson.
Episodes were produced by Dana Baratta , Greg Berlanti, Janice Cooke-Leonard , Alan Cross, Zack Estrin , Gina Fattore , Jon Harmon Feldman , Maggie Friedman , Darin Goldberg , David Blake Hartley , Tom Kapinos ,Drew Matich , Chris Levinson , Paul Marks , Drew Matich , Shelley Meals , Rina Mimoun , Steve Miner, Gregory Prange, Jed Seidel , David Semel , Cynthia Stegner , Jeffrey Stepakoff , Dale Williams , Mike White
Episodes were written by Dana Baratta , Greg Berlanti, Hadley Davis , Gina Fattore , Anna Fricke , Maggie Friedman , Alex Gansa , Diego García Gutiérrez , Liz Garcia , Laura Glasser , Holly Henderson , Tom Kapinos , Rina Mimoun , Jason M. Palmer , Jed Seidel , Jeffrey Stepakoff , Liz Tigelaar , Mike White, and Kevin Williamson
Episodes were directed by Lou Antonio, Allan Arkush , John Behring Sanford Bookstaver , Arvin Brown , Jan Eliasberg , Michael Fields , Rodman Flender , Morgan J. Freeman , Dennie Gordon , Bruce Seth Green , Joshua Jackson, Joanna Kerns, Peter B. Kowalski , Perry Lang , Michael Lange , Nick Marck , Melanie Mayron, Robert Duncan McNeill, Steve Miner, Jason Moore , Joe Napolitano , Patrick R. Norris , Scott Paulin , David Petrarca , Gregory Prange, Krishna Rao , Steven Robman , Bethany Rooney , Arlene Sanford , David Semel , Kerr Smith, Sandy Smolan , Lev L. Spiro , David Straiton , Jay Tobias , Jesús Salvador Trevińo , Michael Toshiyuki Uno, and James Whitmore Jr.
Bibliography and references
Only one thorough book has been published about the show, Darren Crosdale's Dawson's Creek: The Official Companion (Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel, 1999) (ISBN 0740707256), which only covers events through the end of the second season. A less thorough book from about the same time, aimed at teens, is Meet the Stars of Dawson's Creek by Grace Catalano , which has more about the show than the title would imply. Andy Mangels's From Scream to Dawson's Creek: An Unauthorized Take on the Phenomenal Career of Kevin Williamson (Los Angeles: Renaissance Books, 2000) (ISBN 1580631223) covers the show well but omits later seasons.
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- Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh . The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network Television Shows. 8th ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.
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- Tamara Conniff. "Music plays an important--and profitable--role in 'Dawson's Creek'". Hollywood Reporter. April 17, 2002.
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- Bruce Fretts. "The Women of the WB". Entertainment Weekly. Issues 464 and 465. December 25, 1998 and January 1, 1999.
- Matthew Gilbert. "'Dawson's Creek': A flood of hormones". Boston Globe. January 20, 1998. C1.
- Matthew Gilbert. "Dawson, pals talk out into the sunset". Boston Globe. May 14, 2003. D1.
- Lynn Hirschberg. "Desperate to Seem 16". The New York Times Magazine. September 5, 1999. 42+.
- John Kieswetter. "'Dawson's Creek' overflows with sex". The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 20, 1998.
- John Kieswetter. "P&G execs reviewing family tv". The Cincinnati Enquirer. August 6, 2000. A1.
- John Kieswetter. "Readers divided on 'Dawson's'". The Cincinnati Enquirer. February 24, 1998.
- Caryn James. "Young, Handsome, and Clueless in Peyton Place". The New York Times. January 20, 1998. E5.
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- Ted Johnson. "His So-Called Life". TV Guide. Issue 2345. v. 46, n. 10. March 7, 1998. 25-29.
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- John Leo . "TV sleaze worse than ever". Las Vegas Review-Journal . January 25, 1998. 4E.
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- Shawna Malcolm. "Casting Off". TV Guide. Issue 2615. v. 51, n. 19. May 10, 2003. 40+.
- Jay Matthews . "'Dawson's Creek' site mecca for teens". The Cincinnati Enquirer. July 18, 1999. Travel section, p. 6.
- "The Merchants of Cool". Frontline . PBS. February 27, 2001.
- Greg Paeth. "P&G cuts its link with steamy teen series." The Cincinnati Post. October 23, 1997. 1C.
- Parents Television Council website. Overall review, Worst of 1997-98 season,Worst of 1999-99 season, Worst of 2000-01 season
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- Ray Richmond. Review of Dawson's Creek. Variety. January 20, 1998.
- Ray Richmond. "Youth ache 100 episodes". Hollywood Reporter. April 17, 2002. (Part of special section commemorating 100th episode.)
- Matt Roush. Review of Dawson's Creek. TV Guide. v. 46, n. 6. February 7, 1998. 16.
- Pamela Redmond Satran. "15 Signs You're Too Old to Watch Dawson's Creek". TV Guide. Issue 2442. v. 28, n. 3 January 15, 2000. 17.
- Tom Shales. "Stuck in the Muck". The Washington Post. January 20, 1998. D1.
- Maxine Shin. "If Dawson and Buffy Are Gone, Can I Still Be Young?" New York Post. May 20, 2003.
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- Jeffrey Zaslow. "Straight talk". USA Weekend. July 10, 1998. 22.
- Official site of Dawson's Creek
- Comprehensive official music site
- TV Tome's guide, with synopsises of episodes, guest stars, and reviews
- Episode list on the French Wikipedia site
- IMDB's page for the show
- TBS Dawson's Creek schedule
- Devoted 2 Dawson's Creek fan-site with complete transcripts of episodes
- An early, detailed look at the series by the Center For Parent/Youth Understanding, which led them to conclude parents shouldn't let their children watch the series
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