Dawson's Creek: Most Successful Teen Cast Ever

Once upon a time there was a moment in history when Katie Holmes wasn’t known as Tom Cruise’s wife. She was Joey Potter on the WB show Dawson’s Creek, and if you’re currently age 25 or above there is a 90% chance you knew this.

If you don’t know Dawson’s Creek here’s a quick summary from IMDB: Set in a small coastal, Massachusetts town named Capeside, Dawson’s Creek tells the story of four teenagers as they struggle through adolescence. This is particularly true for 15-year-olds Dawson Leery, an introspective dreamer and Joey Potter, a precocious tomboy unaware of her beauty. Best friends since childhood, they are about to enter that confusing time in life where nothing is the way it was and nothing is as it seems.

There was a moment when I was an avid Creek watcher (yeah that’s right, I’m just calling it Creek). I pawned it off as an excuse to hang out with girls (as it was somewhat of a girl-centric show) but the reality is, I really liked it. I actually remember going out of my way to watch it on Wednesday night. But, it’s to be expected, every few years a teen show comes along and manages to stay on TV longer than 1 season and actually hooks in teens-

Before The Creek it was 90210 and Melrose Place and after The Creek it’s the OC and Gossip Girl. These shows just stick. But something weird happened with The Creek, something that wasn’t supposed to happen… Some of these kids actually stayed in the public eye. I’m not talking public eye as in “Celebrity Rehab” I mean public eye as in successful acting career.

Earlier today I watched the trailer for “My Week With Marilyn” the feature film that stars Michelle Williams, playing Marilyn Monroe. It’s a pretty solid trailer that you can watch by clicking here and it seems as though the movie is going to be released just in time to make an Oscar push. This trailer got me thinking – Is the Dawson Creek cast the most successful teen cast ever? I think so - Lets run down the post Dawson Creek career of the 4 core actors:

James Van Der Beek (Dawson Leary): Dawson… And apparently it was his creek. His career didn’t exactly take off so maybe he wasn’t the shining example to start with. Post Dawson he went on to play the lead in Varsity Blues, which was essentially a bad version of Friday Night Lights. At one point he tried to take the “Fuck you Dawson” role in “Rules of Attraction” which is a pretty trippy movie if you haven’t seen it, and he mocked himself as Dawson on more than 1 occasion (Scary Movie, Jay and Silent Bob: Strike Back, Funny or Die Video).

There is no bad mouthing a guy whose been working for the last 10 years but his resume isn’t exactly what his on-air best friend turned enemy (later in Dawson Creek) is. That man is…

Joshua Jackson (Pacey Witter): Every teen drama needs the best friend who is quirky, kind of gets under your skin, but ultimately girls want him as your boyfriend – that was Joshua Jackson. During and after the Creek he had a few memorable at the time roles in: The Skulls, Cruel Intentions, Bobby, and Shutter. But what currently separates Jackson from the crew – Fringe. Fringe is 69 episodes deep on Fox and is a cult hit which is a mix between X Files and LOST.

Katie Holmes (Joey Potter): On the Creek she was the tomboy naive next-door neighbor. Annoying as shit, but still kind of attractive. Who cares what she’s in now – she’s the reason Tom Cruise jumped on a couch forever changing our idea of Maverick. Holmes struts around like Hollywood royalty, which is kind of funny because the closest she’s come to royalty is her role in First Daughter.

Any way you cut it she’s in the tabloids all the time, she was the original Rachel Dawes in Chris Nolan’s first Batman, and she has what every actor wants – options.

Speaking of options, the one actress who has shed the most from Dawson’s Creek and is on the verge of being a viable movie star:

Michelle Williams (Jen Lindley): Williams was the oil in the ointment on the Creek. She was the new girl who “knew about life” and managed to stir things up in the nice town of Capeside.

During the Creek Williams played to her type, she was doing movies like Halloween H2O, Dick, and But I’m a Cheerleader. Then something happened… someone said: “Hey, you can act!” Williams then went on to build up an impressive resume and get nominated for 2 Academy Awards – 1 supporting for Brokeback Mountain and the 2nd for lead actress in Blue Valentine.

With the mentioned Monroe film above, she may potentially have 3 nominations under her belt – pretty impressive. If you would have asked me in 1999 who would be the most successful out of the crew, there is no way I would have bet on Williams, I probably would have took Josh Jackson.

A few honorable Creek mentions: Kerr Smith: Almost had a career. Busy Phillips: If you need an annoying slutty best friend look no further. Chad Michael Murray: He jumped right into the longest running show nobody ever watched – One Tree Hill.

Quick Recap of the original Creek cast: Tons of post Creek movies, 1 successful TV show, 1 couch jumper, and 2 Academy Award nominations. But most importantly… They’re all still actively working.

Take a step back and think about any teen drama that comes to mind and you tell me
which produced more successful actors/ actresses.

A moment of silent appreciation for Dawson’s Creek.

(For the record I didn’t want this show week in and week out for it’s entire run, but I did stick with it through their high school days. Which is another conversation at a different time: When making a high school drama don’t forget they have to graduate. It usually sucks post high school…)