In season one, episode seven, "Detention", Dawson (James Van Der Beek) compares the group's Saturday detention to The Breakfast Club (1985). He mentions the cast are now languishing in television obscurity. Pacey (Joshua Jackson) then mentions Emilio Estevez from the film, saying "He was in those duck movies, remember? God those were classics. So funny." Joshua Jackson was in all three "Mighty Ducks" films with Emilio Estevez.
The character of Joey is inspired by Fannie Norwood, a long-time friend of Kevin Williamson. According to Williamson: "If Fannie watches, she will know exactly where I got some stuff. It's nice because only she will know."
Paula Cole's "I Don't Want To Wait" was not the theme song that was initially chosen for the show. Executive Producer Paul Stupin originally wanted Alanis Morissette's "Hand In My Pocket" as the theme song. However, the song was too expensive to use, so Stupin commissioned songs from Canadian folk artist Jann Arden. Her song "Run Like Mad" was written specifically for the show, and was chosen as the theme. The Arden song is used in every streaming episode of the show on Hulu, except the last two episodes ("All Good Things..." and "Must Come to an End").
There are a few references to Tom Cruise in the early seasons. Joey and Dawson are watching a scene from Jerry Maguire (1996). Later, during suspension from school, Pacey is seen watching Jerry Maguire (1996). Pacey, and the mysterious Eve (Jen's half-sister), convince Dawson to let them use his house for a Risky Business (1983)-inspired fundraiser, to pay for a boat mishap, into which Eve led him. Katie Holmes (having had a relationship with Joshua Jackson during the series) later became Mrs. Cruise number three.
This show was written about a small place on the North Carolina coast, and most cities referenced are in that area. However, due to its location, television officials deemed it was unspectacular to use as the setting for the show, because it's a sparsely populated area.
In season six, episode six, "Living Dead Girl", Jensen Ackles (C.J.) mentions to Jen Lindley over the phone, that he will be watching Halloween H2O: 20 Years Later (1998) later. Michelle Williams starred in Haloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) as Molly.
Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee) left the series during the fourth season. In the original airings, a new version of the opening credits aired. In reruns, DVDs and streaming websites, the season three credits were reused, so her name remained in the opening credits.
In season one, episode nine, "Road Trip", Billy (Eion Bailey) takes Dawson and Pacey to a bar. The girl, to whom Dawson decides to talk, is named "Nina", and played by Melissa McBride. In the series finale, "...Must Come to An End", Joey's boss is named Melanie (credit only), and was also played by Melissa McBride.
In the scene where Joey (Katie Holmes) and Jen (Michelle Williams) are talking about how they plan on getting back at Warren Goering (Eric Balfour), Joey mentions that it's not going well, because her teacher, Mrs. Tringle, wants her to take a class on how to take care of babies. This is a reference to Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999).
None of the cast ever refer to their partners as babe, honey, sweetheart, darling, et cetera. They always use their first names, or a shortened version of their first name, except for Pacey, who used his last name at times. Other than Pacey calling Andie "honey" in season two, episode sixteen, "Be Careful What You Wish For", and later on in the same season, when Pacey calls Andie "sweetheart" as they are walking out of the kitchen, as when they are helping Joey with a catered wedding, and Joey calling Pacey "sweetheart" in the episode "A Winter's Tale."
Sasha Alexander, who played Gretchen Witter (twenty episodes 2000-2001) Pacey's sister; and Pauley Perrette, who played Dr. Rachel Weir Ph.D. (two episodes 2001) Dawson's therapist, appeared on NCIS (2003) as Caitlin Todd (fifty-two episodes 2003-2005) and Abby Scuito (2003-current) respectively.
Meredith Monroe (Andie McPhee sixty-nine episodes 1998-2003) Scott Foley (Cliff Elliot five episodes 1998) and Jennifer Morrison (Melanie Shea Thompson two episodes 2001-2002) all appeared in House (2004).
Rachael Leigh Cook (Devon three episodes 1999) and Chad Michael Murray (Charlie Todd twelve episodes 2001-2002) starred in the short film First Kiss with Rachael Leigh Cook & Chad Michael Murray (2012).
Before The WB picked the series, Fox passed it for being already struggling with Party of Five (1994)'s ratings. The WB was interested in other teen dramas after Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996) became a hit.
The series was originally set in North Carolina where creator Kevin Williamson lived as a teenager (and where it was actually filmed) but Columbia TrisTar ordered it to be set in Boston, MA. Williamson then created the fictional small town of Capeside.
Abby Morgan's death happened after Monica Keena requested her character to be written out of the series, as her boyfriend at the time was living in New York City, and she didn't like being in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the show was filmed.
Kevin Williamson reportedly disliked Eve's storyline in Season 3 and Andie's departure in the fourth, stating "by the time she left, everyone hated her. I didn't think the audience needed to turn against her the way they did."