Creator Kevin Williamson based Dawson's Creek on his own youth, and sure, the characters may not really look or sound 15, but the Dawson-Joey-Jen interplay--especially embodied by the sad-eyed and cynical (but still adorable) Joey and the smart but emotionally inept Dawson--gives the show its heart. And just like Williamson's fresh take on the teen-horror genre, Scream, Dawson's Creek has a winking self-awareness, for example when Dawson says they're having a "90210 moment" or explains that they use big words because they watch too many movies. Highlights of the first season include Dawson's discovery that his perfect home life may not be so perfect, an unwelcome reminder of Jen's past, the Breakfast Club takeoff "Detention," the Scream takeoff "The Scare," a beauty contest in which two unlikely competitors square off, and the heart-rending finale.
On the DVDs, Williamson and producer Kevin Stubin have a commentary track for both the pilot episode and the last episode, in which they offer parallels between the two "bookends," notes on the locations, vast praise for their cast and affection for the show, and a few spoilers regarding subsequent seasons. Williamson and Stubin also do all the talking in an 8-minute featurette "From Day One," while Van Der Beek, Holmes, Jackson, and (briefly) Williams discuss their characters in the 7-minute "Season One Time Capsule," recorded back when the series premiered. On the downside, picture quality is sometimes quite grainy, perhaps because all 13 episodes plus bonuses are squeezed onto three discs. --David Horiuchi
Dawson's Creek is a real gem in the realm of dramas that are geared toward the teen and young adult audiences. This season begins the show by introducing us to is characters and their diverse personalities. Joey is a quiet and insecure young woman, while her childhood friend Dawson is a Steven Spielberg wannabe who is lost in is own world of fantasy. Through this season, and the rest of the series, these two characters explore themselves and the various forms of relationships that exist between them. Sometimes they date each other, and sometimes they are just happy to share intimate moments as friends.
My favorite episode in this season is "The Scare," as it really shows of Dawson's quirky sense of humor. It plays out just like a scary movie (but of course, Kevin Williamson had directed the Scream series and I Know What You Did Last Summer!), as Dawson sets up his home as a haunted house. Pacey finds an estranged woman at a convenience store, and brings her to Dawson's place, only to find out how weird she is. As the group tells ghost stories, the woman horrifies the crowd by telling them that is not what everyone thinks she is. The group listens intently as she tells of how she carries a big knife in her purse, and likes to slip open peoples throats to see how far the blood will spurt. She and her demented boyfriend really stir things up for the guys when her boyfriend comes over to the house in a rage, trying to get at his girlfriend. Everyone thinks that he is a fanatical killer, trying to keep him out of the house. Finally his girlfriend leaves somewhat peacefully with him, leaving Dawson and the gang confused over his real intentions. Joey plays a mean joke on Dawson, pretending she is dead, and Dawson is left in a state of panic. Later, the two ask each other what they would do had they ever really died, and they use this as a moment of bonding.
One thing that stands apart about this show is how young the actors are when they begin the series. We really get to see them mature as the show progresses through its seasons, while they keep their basic demeanor. We meet new characters including Jack McPhee and his sister Andi. This really is a series that I can watch time and time again while keeping myself interested in the character development and the developing storyline.