6. Dawson's Creek
Network: The WB
Air Dates: January 20, 1998-May 14,2003
Stars: James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson, Michelle Williams
It all started with the theme song.
From the moment you hear Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait," you know you're about to be enthralled in some bleached teenage drama. Set in Massachusetts, Dawson's Creek followed the young lives of Dawson (James Van Der Beek), Pacey (Joshua Jackson), Joey (Katie Holmes), and Jen (Michelle Williams) through high school and eventually to college. It dealt with all of the angst of being a teenager in a small town, where Dawson & Co. were faced with challenging issues like who to date and why. Pretty White Kids With Problems would've been a much more fitting title.
Dawson's Creek was adored by middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, ashamed adults, and critics for its portrayal of those difficult formative years. The show also proved to be a revolving door for young, white Hollywood, as several actors either blew up or made a random appearance on the show. Though it created several memorable TV moments, from the late-'90s and early aughts, none have aged quite as well as this, or the subsequent GIFs. When a young, white male cries, the world stops.
Van Der Beek would go on to totally erase the image of Dawson when he played Patrick Bateman's younger brother, Sean, in The Rules of Attraction.