Dawson’s Creek brought with its debut tons of highly topical themes and storylines that teenage viewers were not prepared for. In the first season alone, plots revolving around inappropriate student-teacher relationships, infidelity, and underage drinking immediately alarmed parents and critics alike.

Despite the racier themes, the overall tone of the show employed not just maturity in the handling of these situations but the characters themselves. Noted for his use of intelligent, witty dialogue and numerous pop culture references, creator Kevin Williamson brought a unique perspective to the typical teenage drama series. Despite how much some of us may have loathed some of its characters (looking at you, 17 Huge Stars You Forgot Were In Dawson’s Creek