Dawson's Creek and Beverly Hills, 90210 are two of the most popular teen dramas of all time and frequently show up during discussions concerning this entertaining (and sometimes cheesy) genre. Since both shows are about a bunch of teenage friends, their love lives, and the problems that they go through, it makes sense that they would be compared. Both shows also made stars out of the main cast members.
Even fans of both series would have to admit that there are some elements of each that are superior. Here are five things that Dawson's Creek does better than Beverly Hills, 90210 and five things 90210 does better.
10 Dawson's Creek: A Solid Love Triangle
There's no doubt about it: The love triangle at the heart of Dawson's Creek is the best that there is (at least when it comes to teen dramas). The drama surrounding the romance of Joey Potter and Pacey Witter is so entertaining to watch, and the fact that Joey and Dawson Leery are soulmates makes for some serious tension.
While 90210 has a love triangle with Kelly Taylor, Dylan McKay, and Brenda Walsh; it never quite managed to reach the same level of pop culture impact as Pacey/Joey/Dawson. Fans are Team Pacey or Dawson, that's for sure.
9 90210: An Epic Love Story
For the most part, fans of Dawson's Creek are torn about whether Joey should be with Pacey or Dawson. Even if fans of 90210 love Brenda and Dylan together, no one can really argue with the fact that Kelly and Dylan are meant to be. There's also the fact that people don't love Brenda as a character and most seemed fine with her leaving the show.
90210 tells the epic love story of Kelly and Dylan, which spans almost the entire series (and since there are 10 seasons, that's definitely a long time). The two share history, emotion, and true love. The relationship is really well done.
8 Dawson's Creek: The College Years
It's sometimes awkward when teen characters start attending college. A TV show will even make up a school so the characters can all go to the same place, stay in the same town or city, and the show can stay the same. Of course, this can seem really obvious and seem kind of forced.
Dawson's Creek did an awesome job handling the college years. While it's fair to say that 90210 dropped a little bit in quality during its last few seasons, Dawson's Creek was totally fine... probably because the characters always seemed so old that it was really no different.
7 90210: Young Adult Issues
The majority of teen shows deal with young adult issues like eating disorders, being intimate for the first time, parents getting divorced, other family trouble, and helping a friend who is having a rough time. Beverly Hills, 90210 dealt with young adult issues much better than Dawson's Creek. Although the first two seasons did have a corny tone when handling these topics, the show did illustrate some ways to handle these things.
Besides Joey's pregnancy scare and Dawson's parents breaking up, Dawson's Creek focused more on the relationships between the characters than taking a careful look at teen issues.
6 Dawson's Creek: Keeping The Main Characters Interesting
When a show is on the air for as many seasons as Dawson's Creek, it can be tough to keep the main characters compelling. Sometimes even the most unique characters can become dull and suddenly, they're not given any cool storylines.
Dawson's Creek does a great job of keeping viewers interested in the main characters. Even when the gang goes off to college, they are just as smart and witty and charming as they were before. It could be argued that they're even more interesting once they start to grow up. It's cool to watch Pacey learn to be an adult, for instance.
5 90210: Introducing New People When A Key Cast Member Leaves
Often, when a new character is introduced late in a show's life, it's not always the best news. Fans don't really care and mourn the person who left (whether the character passed away because that was the writers' wishes... or the actor wanted to move onto other things).
That wasn't the case with Beverly Hills, 90210. When Brenda (and Shannen Doherty) left, Valerie Malone was added as the new girl on the show. Tiffani Thiessen portrayed her and did such a great job that fans consider her a big part of the series. She brought a bit of an edge to the sometimes cheesy teen drama.
4 Dawson's Creek: The Grown-Ups Have Storylines
Brenda and Brandon's parents are pretty adorable and wholesome, but they seem to be in the background of a lot of the episodes, which tends to happen in teen dramas.
On Dawson's Creek, the grown-ups have storylines that actually hold some weight, unlike 90210. A lot of the early seasons are about Dawson's parents, Mitch and Gail Leery, and they get a great deal of screen time, at least, when compared to other shows where the adults are never around (like One Tree Hill). Jen is often seen with her Grams as well since she lives with her.
3 90210: Portraying Both Happy & Unhappy Families
90210 does a good job portraying both happy and unhappy families. As the typical American family, Brenda and Brandon move from Minnesota to Beverly Hills for their dad's job. Kelly and Steve have mothers with a lot of issues who basically ignore them all the time to live their own lives, and Dylan is a rich teen who never sees his relatives at all.
On Dawson's Creek, it seems like all of the characters come from unhappy homes: Joey's parents are no longer around and she is always fighting with her sister, Dawson's parents have a ton of problems, and Pacey's parents can't stand him (which is definitely heartbreaking).
2 Dawson's Creek: Showing Friends Can Become Family
One of the sweetest parts of Dawson's Creek is the fact that Jen Lindley and Jack McPhee become such good friends. This show proves that friends can become family and this is something that it does better than 90210.
Jen and Jack go to Boston once high school is over and live with her Grams, which is really charming. Not a lot of teens would be willing to do that since they would want their own freedom, but they love Grams and the three of them become a family unit. The group of friends also act like a family and this is especially evident in the series finale when they learn that Jen is sick.
1 90210: Creating A Go-To Hangout For The Group
Sure, Joey climbs the infamous ladder to Dawson's bedroom, but the group of friends on Dawson's Creek do not have a go-to hangout.
That's not the case on Beverly Hills, 90210. This show has the Peach Pit, the diner owned by the adorable Nat Bussichio. So many scenes feature the main characters hanging out there and Brandon even gets a job there. Like Luke's Diner on Gilmore Girls, it's a place that many fans would love to be real.