The nostalgic feels ran high at this year's Austin Television Festival, especially those for Kevin Williamson's watercooler teen drama Dawson's Cree k. While a full-scale reunion still eludes those of us who grew up worshiping the show and its characters, ATX gifted the show's fans with the next best thing: a staged reading of the series pilot, featuring a dais full of television stars. Parenthood's Mae Whitman led the cast as a suitably passionate and annoyingly naive Dawson. The gender-flipped concept also meant a lady Pacey Witter and male readers for both Joey and Jen. It worked.
While the swap made for some hilariously incongruous moments (like when Patrick J. Adams's Joey insisted that her breasts had come in), I have to admit that I wouldn't turn down an honest revival that ran with this choice. Without throwing undue shade at the show, I can admit that Dawson's is significantly dated — "walk your dog" was once considered racy dialogue, after all. Still, it was tremendous fun to see what a modern cast made of the show's iconic pilot episode. A stacked ensemble of ATX attendees and fellow Dawson's fans made Kevin Williamson's script sing again, and there wasn't an untouched adolescence in the house. Here are each of those actors' finest Creek moments.
Mae Whitman As Dawson Leery
Whitman nailed Dawson's gooey sincerity so well that honestly, every moment was a highlight. In an alternate universe, she played this role and won all kinds of Teen Choice Awards for it.
Patrick J. Adams As Joey Potter
The Suits star perfected the signature Katie Holmes half-smile, the mark of a true Joey at heart.
Abigail Spencer As Pacey Witter
Rectify's Abigail Spencer played Pacey's cocky charm to perfection, particularly in the character's speech to teacher/love interest Miss Jacobs. He's still the best sex she'll never have.
Kerr Smith As Jen Linley
Now on The Fosters, the man who brought us Jack McPhee accepted a far different and much more blonde Dawson's role. As the only member of the original cast on the panel, Smith was absolutely justified in his giggly reaction to a charged scene with Dawson: "This is weird." But so wonderful, too.
Louanne Stephens As Grams
Stephens is beloved for her role as Matt Saracen's grandma on Friday Night Lights. Her grandmotherly talents extend even farther; the whole audience applauded at her spot-on call to granddaughter "Jennifeeeer..."
Derek Phillips As Mr. Leery/Stacey Oristano As Mrs. Leery
Friday Night Lights stars Phillips and Oristano jumped right back into their couple comfort zone as the sexually charged Leery parents. They played on their Mr. and Mrs. Riggins chemistry in Dawson's parents horny intro scene, a classic.
Arielle Kebbel As Ms. Jacobs
You know her as Lexi in The Vampire Diaries; but by the Creek, Kebbel is Capeside newbie and saucy English teacher Tamara Jacobs. The sight of her flirting with Spencer's Pacey is not one I'll easily (or willingly) forget.
Kristian Bruun As Nellie Olson And Bessie Potter
The Orphan Black actor brought Joey's sensible sister Bessie to life again, but his literal drop-the-mic scene was Capeside mean girl Nellie Olson's kiss-off of the geeky Dawson.
Nick Wechsler As Bodie And Mr. Gold
Bessie's boyfriend Bodie doesn't have much to do in the pilot (or ever), but the Revenge star shined as the exasperated film teacher who has to deal with Dawson's overly eager inner-director.
No disrespect to Van Der Beek and friends, but this was a grand achievement in creative, non-traditional Dawson's Creek casting.