The series is already on Amazon Prime Video, as Buffy, Newport Beach or Roswell (ok this is the paradise of teen shows), but the punching power of Netflix is always a good opportunity to talk about cult series, nostalgic … and still relevant? Dawson, created by Kevin Williamson (Scream, Vampire Diaries) in 1998, is available in full on Netflix Friday, and if the platform has not waited for it to highlight the teenage series (
Riverdale, Sex Education, 13 Reasons Why), it is interesting to see how they owe him a lot (everything?).
We cry (with joy).
The Dawson series arrives in full on Friday! pic.twitter.com/AfdeLeUKLt
— Netflix France (@NetflixFR) January 13, 2021
Because the series symbolizes the golden age of teen shows
Dawson, Buffy, Roswell, Felicity… The end of the 1990s can be considered a golden age for teenage series. Beverly Hills had already been there, and had laid the foundations of teen show as we know it, with its city on a human scale, its love triangle, its American mythology, even WASP, perpetuated. But Dawson, and the procrastination in love of a movie fan and his friends, renews the genre, favors teen spleen over soap opera, and advances mentalities, with for example the first gay kiss in prime time on American television.
Because “teens don’t talk like that”
If the series has often been mocked for its 30-year-old actors who play teenagers (they were 20), it was also said that they could not speak like that, like adults. It is the bias and what makes the identity of Dawson, to put words on the emotions, to discuss the feelings. The characters thus speak a lot, ultimately act little, which contributes to the suspended time of the series.
Because the show did a little bit for inclusivity
But not much for diversity. The series has a handful of black actors over its six seasons, and in secondary or even figurative roles. Like many series at the same time. On the feminist side, the series started badly with the treatment, slut-shaming let’s say it, of Jen, but she has managed to create portraits of complex, powerful, free women just like Joey. The character of Jack is also very important, his coming out has revolutionized television, helped many boys to no longer feel alone, and paved the way for other gay characters in the series.
Because her love triangle is mythical
If the series presents Dawson and Joey as the flagship couple of the series, like Ross and Rachel in Friends, Season 3 is trying something new, inconceivable to many. She brings Joey and Pacey together, the best friend, the false loser. And… the series is relaunched, almost phagocytosed, by this love triangle, one of the most mythical of American television. Team Dawson or Team Pacey? Fans got ripped apart on the discussion boards, and you can’t imagine what that would look like in the age of social media. Come on, chick, the new generations, it’s up to you.
Because Dawson deserves a second chance
It is a battle lost in advance. Even if he gives his title to the series in French and English (Dawson’s Creek), Dawson is now reduced, not to say ridiculing, into a meme:
le Crying Dawson. It’s not even a question of which of him or Pacey Joey should choose. The character is for some one of the most slapstick in history, of those who stand out in your eyes, who do not deserve
to be the hero of his own series. Yes, it’s hot for him. And yet …
As we have already written (we are not giving up), Dawson is a character unloved and misunderstood. Not that it is not problematic. It is, sometimes bordering on toxicity. But it is also the starting point of the series, it is a product of its time and lives the collapse of its small “perfect” world. He thought to bend the world to an image (of cinema), he will have to adapt it to the reality (of people).
The series won’t always do justice to this approach, and the character, especially when it’s written in opposition to the perfect Pacey (he is), and therefore will be sacrificed a bit. The fact remains that over the length, hollow, and even set back, Dawson becomes a more discreet, philosopher, empathetic hero. He would have deserved his streak.
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