You all know Psycho right? That black and white horror of the 60’s directed by Alfred Hitchcock? That first film in Hollywood cinema to show a toilet on screen? That famous shower scene that had you wary of shower curtains? That squeak squeaking knife? Well if you didn’t, now you do! It is from this Psycho core that Bates Motel stems its roots, branching simultaneously backwards as well as forwards because this major creep trip of a show is a contemporary prequel. This was actually a surprise for me, I can’t say I was expecting Norman Bates to own an iPhone but I do believe it gave the story a new lease of life. I can’t recall ever having come across one before…if anyone else has then let me know!
The binger behind this recommendation was LetsTalk20 who has recommended so many awesome television shows to me in the past that I never ever say no; “I’ve just started Season Two and it has just kept me hooked from the get go. I think I really appreciate how the show presents its characters.” I couldn’t agree more!
Brought to you by A&E, Bates Motel which is now preparing for a fourth season has been luring in viewings surprisingly surpassing expectations. On premiere night the episode pulled in over 3 million viewers and has kept steady numbers throughout the duration of the opening season and beyond.
Bates Motel may be a creation of a genre defining classic but in giving it a prequel narrative the audience is allowed to see the inner workings of one of cinema’s most feared and complex of serial killers and watch him come into being. Who isn’t interested in the story behind the killer? It re-opens that age old discussion of whether evil is born or made…or maybe I just watch too much Once Upon a Time. The decision to set this within a contemporary world gave this series a window of opportunity to widen its appeal and what I find fascinating are the noticeable disconnections in transition between these two time periods. We are very much thrown into a technological age; relationship statuses being finalised over social media, the internet being a source of information and iPods being the perfect way in which to block out the world around you…however, Norman is placed on the border between the two time frames. You’ll find him analysing his dreams on debatable legit websites but the majority of his wardrobe and values scream the sixties, a nod to his original source of inspiration? I believe so!
Whoa that picture really does freak me out big time! Gone are Freddie Highmore’s days as Charlie Bucket, he canon balled his way into this role and the sheer amount of nominations that he has gained from his performance speaks volumes for the quality of acting and that’s not including the one and only Vera Farmiga who plays alongside Highmore as his mother Norma Bates. You enter the story with Norman and Norma attempting to leave their past life behind after Norman’s father “died accidentally” and naturally the trouble follows them as they set up their new BnB in a new but equally as mysterious town.
Relationships also formulate trouble in any teenager’s life but when that teenager is Norman Bates you just know that everything is not going to go well. His relationships with all of the women that come to be in his life start off with the cliche love triangle but then comes the square, pentagon and as the seasons progress they only get more and more complicated.
Fun Fact: Actor Max Thieriot who plays hot leather junkie and Norman’s half-brother Dylan Massett played Seth Plummer in The Pacifier starring Vin Diesel.
I might have binged on another series in the horror genre but not only are these shows good enough to overwhelm the listings, this programme in my opinion is not so much horror of the gory or frightening kind. Bates Motel, dances in the macabre and the disturbing and the horror comes in the psychological form. The struggle of not being able to figure whether you need sympathise with Norma or fear her is real, or perhaps it is easier to say both…although I tend to lean towards the fearing side of the scale. The dynamic ranges of these characters is what powers the intrigue of this show. It is the intricacies and complexities of the characters morals and personalities that bring forth the horror…give me this over the Saw films any day!
You can watch Bates Motel on the Universal Channel in the UK, A&E or seasons one and two are available to purchase on DVD.
Have you seen Psycho and have any thoughts on this adaption of the classic? Do you have a favourite Norman? What do you see for the future of this show? Or do you even have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments! Also check out my twitter @bingebox for all my updates and general television goodness. Thanks!