In January of 1998, “Dawson’s Creek” presented a contemporary coming-of-age drama for the hopeless romantic. Putting an overly analytical, Spielberg-obsessed 15-year-old at the forefront, the show revealed the pains and excitement of growing up in a small seaside town. As a mid-season replacement, “Dawson’s Creek” shocked audiences with its advanced vocabulary and controversial storylines, but soon became a favorite to many.

Todd Weiser

Now, as the series comes to a much-needed end next month, fans have the opportunity to relive the beginning of this popular WB drama with the first season on DVD. Showcasing 13 episodes on three discs, Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen start 10th grade at Capeside High with sweaty palms and enough sexual tension to entice us, even as adults.

Season one producers Kevin Williamson and Paul Stupin provide commentary tracks for the first and last episodes in the set, nostalgically offering lively conversation about the creation of the series. Though Williamson is now unaffiliated with the program, his additions are heartfelt, describing the series as a reflection of his youth. Discussion is interesting and ranges from the controversy surrounding the teacher-student affair story line to the difficulties of filming both in L.A. and on location in Wilmington, N.C.

Also included are two featurettes entitled “Dawson’s Day One” and “Time Capsule.” In the former, Stupin and Williamson elaborate on the casting and producing of the show, often reiterating remarks from their commentary pieces. The latter showcases the four young actors and their feelings about the show prior to its debut. Present day commentary from the stars would have been a great comparative addition, but is not included.

The DVD lacks in packaging that is visually appealing yet disappoints in its superficial episode summaries and unmarked discs. Dolby Surround Sound is also provided, but with full screen presentation the show is no better caliber than off the TV five years ago. Impressively, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Korean subtitles are available.

With the series finale fast approaching, this DVD set is an excellent opportunity to look back on better times for the now overdone drama and remember how a story about growing up seemed to mean so much more.

Show: 3 Stars

Picture/Sound: 3 Stars

Features: 3 Stars

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