Dawson’s Creek follows the lives of Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) and his friends, as they struggle through their formative years and – in this final season – search for their places in the adult world. The first episode pulls a cruel tease in finally putting Joey (Katie Holmes) and Dawson together before the rug is pulled out from under their love affair the very next episode. Some might say it’s a decision from which the season never recovers – I say the show never had its footing to begin with. Plagued …y writer and executive producer Kevin Williamson’s penchant for overwriting every single character, the two-hour finale has more laughable life affirmations that in no way resemble the ways that actual people talk than you can shake a stick at. His dialogue – and that attributed to other series scribes – revels in its own verbosity. No matter what the character’s intellectual playing field, he or she has something profound, deep, and flowery, to say; and such speech is usually followed by a self-congratulatory retort from another character – as if the writers are throwing out a line they think sounds terrific, and they’re so pleased with themselves, they must have the other conversational participant pat them on the back for thinking of it. I can’t tell you how many times you’ll hear things like, “So true”; “Well-put”; “I never thought of it that way”; “I couldn’t have said it better myself”; blah, blah, blah…
The final decisions for the two-hour finale are also terribly clichéd and can be seen coming from a mile away. Williamson drives one major character’s death into the ground so much that by the time he/she actually goes, you’ve lost all emotional attachment to the character, and are just thankful you don’t have to listen to one more weeping goodbye. On an unrelated note, the show heavily promotes the gay lifestyle. What your feelings are with regards to this are your own business, and as a free citizen, you have every right to them, but what Dawson’s Creek is guilty of is its refusal – along with the rest of popular entertainment – to feature positive characters opposed to the lifestyle. In this case, the show skirts the issue all together, with the exception of a moment where Jack (the primary gay character) refers to such thinking as living in “the Stone Age” – a relatively small potshot, but still a potshot. I’m not suggesting the gay characters be portrayed in a negative light – but it would be nice if the writers had a large enough understanding of the human race not to paint the opposition in such broad, generic strokes. Of course, if these writers had such ability, they wouldn’t be the pompous lit-class rejects they come across as in this show.
Here’s where my complaints with the package end. The 1.33:1 full frame presentation looks superb with rich colors and deep blacks. Flesh tones, though a little bright, are pleasing to the eye; and the gorgeous scenery of the fictional beach town called Capeside, where this all unfolds, add to the escapist aura of the show – overall, I’d say it’s an improvement from the original airings.
The 2.0 track provides a sturdy sound for this still-young series. While I won’t say there’s a vast difference between this and what you get from syndication, neither place has anything to be ashamed of in its presentation. The musical selections are spot-on for the times, and went a long way in captivating young audiences during the show’s initial run. It’s nice to look back at this as a snapshot of the times, if nothing more. Dialogue mixes with background noise to provide a sharp, clean rendering.
While Williamson and producer Paul Stupin’s audio commentary on the series finale is the only on-disc bonus feature, the set comes packaged with an invaluable scrapbook that is sure to catch the unfamiliar up-to-speed with the series, as well as take loyal fans on a trip down memory lane through the show’s previous five seasons. It’s a nice, value-adding addition that will satisfy those, who wish to purchase.
I didn’t like this show. However, there are scores of people, who don’t see eye-to-eye with me. For them, this marks the end of their Dawson’s Creek collection, and while it isn’t loaded with bonus materials, Sony still puts forth a good effort, in addition to their sturdy A/V presentation. Fans are sure to be pleased this is now available, and I suppose that’s all that truly matters.
Special Features List
- Includes Exclusive Scrapbook!
- Series Finale Commentary from Kevin Williamson and Paul Stupin