It’s been more than 20 years since Dawson’s Creek’s first aired in 1998 (it ran until 2003), but the show still has viewers today. This six-season show about a group of close friends in high school — and eventually college — arrives on Netflix in the UAE this weekend, which begs the question… How has it remained relevant so many years later? We talk a look at the five top reason people are still tuning into Dawson’s Creek in 2021, and why you might want to jump on the bandwagon soon, too…
It reminds us of simpler, less intense times…
Dawson’s Creek is high on the cringe factor, but in a way, that’s what’s endearing about it. We’re living in the age of Netflix and Amazon originals. Today, each new TV show is condensed into anything between four and 10 meaty, intense episodes, available to binge in one day. Then we’re onto the next. Gone are the days of easy and lengthy TV shows. Remember when a season went for more than 20 episodes, and you didn’t require more brainpower than what you would need to microwave dinner to watch it? Plus, there’s a special kind of emotional connect.
Love triangles are timeless
There have been so many great love triangles over the decades. Whether it’s the Salvatore brothers fighting for Elena’s affections in the Vampire Diaries or Bill and Eric facing off to woo Sookie in True Blood, these who-will-they-choose storylines are perfect for long-winded storylines that keep us invested season after season.
That’s why watching the messy relationships unfold in Dawson’s Creek is addictive. Dawson and Pacey are both vying for Joey’s love — but only one of them will eventually win her over.
It takes us back to the 90s glory
If you miss baggy jeans and sweaters, shaggy hair parted down the middle and pre-social media drama that required face-to-face interaction, then Dawson’s Creek is exactly what the doctor ordered. Remember when people actually called the landline, or knocked on your door? You won’t find any of the new age post-production, where texts pop up on the screen in real-time, or scandalous Instagram posts go viral. Everyone’s just living in the moment — not a phone in sight!
We get pulled into the small-town comfort
Honestly, there’s nothing better than a fictional small town — especially one so deliciously called Capeside.
This Massachusetts town is home to teen friends Dawson (James Van Der Beek), his romantic interest Joey (Katie Holmes), their best friend Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson), and out-of-towner Jen (Michelle Williams), there by way of New York.
Together, they experience universal emotions and milestones, heightened by their teenaged hormones — they feel love, heartbreak, betrayal and growing pains.
And, particularly for city dwellers, the small-town setting of all this drama transports us to a different world altogether.
It provided new age drama
It may seem like ‘Dawson’s Creek’ is dated now — and it is. But there’s one aspect of the series that was ahead of its time: By season 5, the high schoolers go off to college, transitioning from Young Adult to New Age plot lines. Rarely will you see TV shows about college students today, because it’s considered a riskier genre, with less of a guaranteed audience.
This category of storytelling is just now becoming more popular across books, shows and films (for instance, the ‘After’ series), and it fills the gap between YA drama and contemporary adult drama. What differentiates Dawson’s Creek from some of the New Age stuff we see today is, again, its innocence.
The show is rated PG, so it’s more of a family show.
You’d struggle to find something similarly rated on TV today, particularly dealing with this particular age group.
If there’s one thing we miss more than 90s TV shows, its 90s music. And boy, did Dawson’s Creek have some brilliant choices on its soundtrack. The first of two volumes even went to No 7 on the Billboard 100 — certified gold in America and going triple platinum in Australia.
No TV show or film in the late 90s, early 200s was complete without ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None the Richer. Plus, B*Witched deliver the perfect throwback energy with ‘Blame It on the Weatherman’. And for those who obsess over theme songs, ‘I Don’t Want to Wait’ by Paula Cole wraps up the first Songs from Dawson’s Creek album.
On Volume 2, you can find everything from the absolute Wheatus classic, ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, to ‘I Think I’m In Love With You’ from that time when Jessica Simpson still made music.
The pop rock and folk rock album also features songs from Train and Peter Yorn. We’re only sad that there weren’t more volumes that came out of the six season series.
There’s something about the cast
‘Dawson’s Creek’ is a weird freeze frame in these cast member’s lives — for better or worse. It was, perhaps, the least dramatic period for any of the actors, at least in the public eye.
For Joshua Jackson, it was certainly one of the earliest high points of his career, after he found success as a child actor playing the protagonist in the Mighty Ducks trilogy.
For James Van Der Beek, Dawson himself, the show’s success got awkward. In 2017, he went on a morning show in the UK and seemed uncomfortable by the focus on Dawson’s Creek was overshadowing his career since. “I have been on television in the last 20 years, I would just like to let you know,” Van Der Beek told the hosts. Asked if he had watched the series in its entirety, he replied, “No, at some point it became easier to just do it and let it go.”
This was also Katie Holmes before any publicised dramas (that messy Tom Cruise relationship and split, to be precise) and one of Michelle Williams’ earlier roles; she would go on to win two Golden Globes, a Prime time Emmy Award, and receive four Academy Award nominations.