Picks and Pans Review: Dawson's Creek

updated 01/19/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/19/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

WB (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)


They look like college students, they talk like doctoral candidates (in popular culture), but they're just starting 10th grade. They're the youths of Dawson's Creek, the TV drama from fright-flick screenwriter Kevin Williamson (Scream). The series opens Jan. 20 with a shocking scene in which 15-year-old Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and his 15-year-old female buddy, Joey (Katie Holmes), discuss whether to break their childhood habit of sharing a bed. "I just think our emerging hormones are destined to alter our relationship, and I'm trying to limit the fallout," Joey says. What's shocking is that she adds not a single "like" or "you know."

A novice filmmaker, Dawson is obsessed with the oeuvre of Steven Spielberg. He works in a video store with classmate Pacey (Joshua Jackson), who cites Summer of '42 before starting an affair with his English teacher, Tamara (Leann Hunley). Dawson has eyes for Jen (Michelle Williams), a girl his own age who reveals in a future episode that she lost her virginity at 12. Attractive as well as articulate, all these high schoolers qualify for some sort of advanced placement. They're easy to watch, just a little hard to believe.

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