Here's Why You Won't Hear the Original 'Dawson's Creek' Theme Song on Netflix

Paula Cole's iconic "I Don't Wanna Wait" didn't make it over to Netflix.

dawson's creek
Columbia/TriStar International Television
Columbia/TriStar International Television

So you need some comfort viewing. You turn on Dawson's Creek, newly returned to Netflix, to soak up some Gen X nostalgia. Once you finish hearing Dawson babble about Steven Spielberg, you gear up for the opening credits, ready for the sweet sounds of Paula Cole's iconic "I Don't Want to Wait." But you're met with an unfamiliar tune? What is this? Why is this there? 

Yes, Dawson's Creek on Netflix has a different theme song. Why? How? Well, it's pretty boring actually: It all boils down to rights and money. Let's explain.

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What's this song that's not "I Don't Want to Wait"? 

It's called "Run Like Mad" and it's by Jann Arden, and, admittedly, it's sort of a bop. In the song, Arden sings: "My heart is in my hands / My head is in the clouds / My feet have left the ground / My life is turning around and round / And every voice inside my head is telling me to run like mad / Oh bows and arrows stars and sunsets…" It's not that dissimilar thematically from "I Don't Want to Wait," filled with angst and singer-songwriter vibes. It's definitely goofier, though. That "bows and arrows" lyric reminds me of the song the pregnant teen sings to Liz Lemon that one time on 30 Rock

Where did "Run Like Mad" come from? 

Unlike, "I Don't Want to Wait," it was actually written for Dawson's Creek. According to a deep dive into the theme song drama published in 2012 by HuffPost, the producers initially wanted to use Alanis Morrisette's classic "Hand in My Pocket'' off of Jagged Little Pill, but it was too expensive. So they reached out to various artists to try their hands at the gig. Canadian artist Arden was the winner with "Run Like Mad," except her song was eventually punted when the network wanted "I Don't Want to Wait." "At the time, it was really just another option worth exploring," executive producer Paul Stupin told HuffPost. "But when we looked at it and really assessed it, we thought, this could be great. So the network ended up making a deal with Paula Cole." 

Why isn't "I Don't Want to Wait" on Netflix? 

Simple answer: Because Sony, the studio behind Dawson's Creek, didn't purchase the rights to it for streaming purposes. Per HuffPost, it was included when the first two seasons were released on DVD, but because sales weren't what Sony was hoping for, they didn't shell out for the tune for the later season releases. Now that streaming's a thing, giving Paula Cole (what she rightfully deserves) is seemingly just not worth the money when "Run Like Mad" is available free of charge, considering that Arden gave them the rights for a flat fee. This pisses Cole off on both her and Arden's behalf.

"When they released the show on DVD and streaming platforms, they decided not to use my song and instead went with another artist, Canadian musician and singer Jann Arden," Cole told HuffPost. "That surprised me just as much as it did everyone else! There was no discussion―it happened because of a technicality at Sony Pictures. There was a Canadian executive there who wanted to save money. That’s all that was―money, not artistic integrity or continuity for a beloved show." For what it's worth: Arden's deal is also shitty. She gets no money even though her song—however short it is—is being listened to countless times by bingers. 

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Can I still watch the credits with "I Don't Want to Wait" on YouTube? 

Of course. I mean, if you want to go to the trouble, you could even have this video ready to go throughout your entire binge. 

Is Pacey Witter still the cutest? 


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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.