TV Article

School's Out

As the landmark teen drama ''Dawson's Creek'' ends, the Capeside crew chat about the infamous love triangle, the spicy dialogue, and which star Katie Holmes beat out for her role

James Van Der Beek, Dawson's Creek
Image credit: Dawson's Creek Photographed by Erin Patrice O'Brien

In the beginning, Dawson was a dog.

It was 1996, and Fox commissioned from newcomer Kevin Williamson an autobiographical drama about a Spielberg-loving teen and his gal pal Joey.

The network hated it.

Crushed, Williamson -- whose only claim to fame was selling a little script that became ''Scream'' -- did the only thing he could do. ''I got a dog and named it Dawson,'' he recalls. ''I thought that was the only way it was going to live.''

Fortunately, The WB recognized the pedigree project and bought the series. In January 1998, ''Dawson's Creek,'' starring unknowns James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams, and the impossibly cute Katie Holmes, debuted and quickly became The WB's most watched show. ''Creek'' represented a new breed for a network that looked to be literally up a creek with dogs like ''Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher.'' ''It saved The WB,'' admits WB entertainment president Jordan Levin. ''At that time there was a movement internally to pull the plug on the network. When the series came on, it immediately gave The WB a tremendous amount of attention and heat.''

''Creek'' would ultimately become a victim of its own success: Williamson left the show after season 2 to pursue a screenwriting career and the show never recaptured its initial allure. In the final years, ''Creek'' was most notable for its portrayal of the first gay male kiss on network television.

Alas, the teen hormones of Dawson, Joey, Pacey, and Jen can't rage forever, which is why the ''Creek'' will dry up for good on May 14. The WB is predictably tight-lipped about the two-hour, flash-forward finale -- other than to say Williamson came back to finally answer the question that's dogged this show for years: Who's it gonna be, Josephine -- Dawson or Pacey? In the meantime, we sought answers to pressing questions of our own -- like, can Joey actually sail? Why did Jen dress so slutty? And what does Dawson really think of Katie Couric?

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