Dawson's Creek: Season 1 (1998)

SEASON:

Season 1
Dawson's Creek

Critics Consensus

Uncommonly articulate and introspective for their age, these Capeside high schoolers bring real heart to the first season of Dawson's Creek.

73%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 11

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 36

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 20, 1998

The debut episode of the hit teen drama Dawson's Creek introduced audiences to Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek), a 15-year-old film enthusiast who desires a career as a director, and his lifelong best friend, Joey Potter (Katie Holmes). The two have spent many a Saturday night watching movies in Dawson's room, but their maturing bodies have complicated the situation and made them rethink their weekly sleepovers. Emotions get sticky when the neighbor's granddaughter, Jennifer Lindley (Michelle Williams), moves in next door and sparks Dawson's budding sexual awareness. Dawson's smart-alecky friend Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson) adventurously begins hitting on an older woman, who turns out to be the new Capeside High English teacher, Tamara Jacobs (Leann Hunley). The episode also introduces Dawson's devoted parents, Mitch (John Wesley Shipp) and Gail (Mary-Margaret Humes), whose devotion to each other will soon be tested.

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Air date: Jan 27, 1998

Dawson (James Van Der Beek) decides to make Jen (Michelle Williams) the lead in the no-budget horror film he is making for a film festival. Jealousy rears its ugly head when Joey (Katie Holmes) sees that Dawson and Jen's relationship might be more than director/actress. Dawson is in for his own battle with the green monster when Jen accepts an offer to attend a dance with football player Cliff (Scott Foley). Tamara (Leann Hunley) instructs Pacey (Joshua Jackson) that she does not appreciate his continued advances to her. Joey confronts Gail (Mary-Margaret Humes) about her possibly cheating on Mitch (John Wesley Shipp).

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Air date: Feb 13, 1998

Dawson (James Van Der Beek) plots the perfect location to share his first kiss with Jen (Michelle Williams), but his plans are threatened when he is forced to take part in a class film project. Joey (Katie Holmes) lies about herself in order to impress a new boy in town. Tamara (Leann Hunley) begins to weaken due to Pacey's (Joshua Jackson) incessant and charming flirtations.

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Air date: Feb 10, 1998

Dawson's world is upended from many different directions in this episode of Dawson's Creek. He discovers that Pacey (Joshua Jackson) is having a sexual relationship with English teacher Tamara Jacobs (Leann Hunley). Dawson also learns that his mother has been having an affair, and that Joey (Katie Holmes) has known about it and did not tell him. While explaining all of his anger and frustration to Jen (Michelle Williams), she confesses that her parents moved her to Capeside after a period of drug and sexual excess in New York City. Dawson has difficulty accepting her wild past.

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Air date: Feb 17, 1998

As a hurricane roars into Capeside, Dawson (James Van Der Beek), Grams (Mary Beth Peil), Jen (Michelle Williams), Joey's very pregnant sister, Bessie (Nina Repeta), and her boyfriend, Bodie (Obi Ndefo), are trapped together at the Leery home. Gail (Mary-Margaret Humes) accepts that she must face the music in regards to her infidelity, while Dawson reaches the end of his emotional tether with all three of the women he cares about most. The good news for Pacey (Joshua Jackson) is that he is trapped with his lover, Tamara (Leann Hunley), the bad news is that his older brother, Doug Witter (Dylan Neal), is trapped with them.

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Air date: Feb 24, 1998

When Bessie (Nina Repeta) goes into labor early, retired nurse Grams (Mary Beth Peil) delivers the baby with help from Joey (Katie Holmes), Dawson (James Van Der Beek), and Jen (Michelle Williams) at the Leery home. Rumors of Tamara's (Leann Hunley) unethical behavior make their way to the higher-ups in the school, forcing Pacey (Joshua Jackson) to make a decision that he may have come to just a little too late.

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Air date: Mar 3, 1998

In an obvious homage to The Breakfast Club, this episode of Dawson's Creek finds Dawson (James Van Der Beek), Joey (Katie Holmes), Pacey (Joshua Jackson), and Jen (Michelle Williams) serving an eight-hour Saturday detention along with class bad girl Abby (Monica Keena). After tensions between Pacey and Dawson, as well as Jen and Joey, heat up for a variety of reasons, a game of truth or dare ends in a kiss that may cause all kinds of emotional ramifications.

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Air date: Mar 10, 1998

Dawson (James Van Der Beek) is confronted with his feelings of inferiority when Jen's (Michelle Williams) ex-boyfriend Billy (Eion Bailey) comes to visit and convinces Jen to ditch school to spend the day with him. Pacey (Joshua Jackson) and Joey (Katie Holmes) have a discussion about her feelings for Dawson. Meanwhile, life in the Leery household is tension-filled, as Gail (Mary-Margaret Humes) and Mitch (John Wesley Shipp) are having a rough time trying to rebuild their marriage.

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Air date: Mar 17, 1998

After Jen (Michelle Williams) breaks up with him, Dawson (James Van Der Beek) sets out on a road trip with Pacey (Joshua Jackson) and Billy (Eion Bailey). They end up at a college bar where Dawson finds some success with a female film student. After football player Warren Goering (Eric Balfour) begins a rumor that Joey (Katie Holmes) had sex with him, Jen hatches an elaborate plot to humiliate Warren. But the plan leads to some unexpected complications.

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Air date: Apr 28, 1998

Still upset about his breakup with Jen (Michelle Williams), Dawson (James Van Der Beek) lies to Mary Beth (Megahn Perry) so that she will join him on a double date with Jen and Cliff (Scott Foley). His jealousy reveals itself over the course of the evening. Meanwhile, the relationship between Pacey (Joshua Jackson) and Joey (Katie Holmes) goes through some subtle changes as they work together on a school science project.

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Dawson's Creek: Season 1 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Dawson's Creek Season 1

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (6)

At least the show acknowledged a world beyond its fictional New England town, as well as what that world would expect of its characters.

Oct 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Three minutes in and it was clear that Joey was going to be everyone's new TV BFF...and rooting for her to get together with Dawson was going to be our new favorite pastime.

Oct 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Its leads are all highly appealing, and despite the utter precociousness of their pop-culture '90s-speak, their show proves an addictive drama with considerable heart.

Feb 3, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Dawson's Creek offers a lesson in the dangers of overhype. But Mr. Williamson does seem to have written hit all over it.

Feb 3, 2015 | Full Review…

Dawson's Creek needs less cleverness and more emotional spark. As the 16-year-old in my house said after watching three episodes, "It's like My So-Called Life without the life."

Feb 3, 2015 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Dawson's Creek has as promising an introduction as any teen soap. The opening scene is remarkably efficient, introducing Spielberg, sex, and the central romance of the series, all in Kevin Williamson's snappy, pop-literate dialogue.

Feb 3, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's overly dramatic, sometimes sappy, and you're eyes will probably roll more than once in each episode.

Oct 1, 2018 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Dawson's Creek...has for my money one of the best opening scenes of a pilot ever as it sums up beautifully the relationship of Joey and Dawson and then everything that follows falls right into place.

Oct 1, 2018 | Full Review…

Attractive as well as articulate, all these high schoolers qualify for some sort of advanced placement. They're easy to watch, just a little hard to believe.

Feb 3, 2015 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

To this day, [the series'] shifting combinations of passion and ingenuity remain much appreciated.

Oct 2, 2018 | Full Review…

The characters are articulate and don't use "like" and "you know" to complete their thoughts. They're introspective and create critical dialogue to question their own relationships, their peers, and the world around them.

Feb 3, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dawson's Creek: Season 1

  • Jun 27, 2020
    Dawson's creek was another nostalgia for me back in high school. Loved this series, disappointed in who she ends up with however.
  • Apr 07, 2017
    Great show for teens, have been re-watching it lately, still love it.

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