Review of "Bates Motel" on A&E From The TV MegaSite

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Bates Motel

"Bates Motel" review by Suzanne
Mondays 10/9c on A&E

This is a prequel show, based on the classic horror movie "Psycho". It takes place when Norman Bates is a teenager and his mother is younger and alive. They move to a new town. It's all very creepy. Norman is an awkward teen (not quite as creepy as he is later) and his mother is very possessive of him. Their relationship seems very close (and that is creepy).  The town they move to is even creepier than they are. It reminds one somewhat of "Twin Peeks", and I'm certainly not the first to observe this.

The only problem I had with the show is that it takes place in modern day, even though the original Psycho took place in the 60's, when the movie came out. I would have much preferred if they had set the show in the late 50's or early 60's. When I watched the first episode, I wasn't sure what time it took place in, particularly since Norma and his mother didn't call 911 when his father died. Later, he is seen listening to old records, so it was very confusing. It wasn't until the girls he met used their cell phones that I realized it was set in the modern day.

The show is very well written, though, and the actors do a brilliant job, particularly Vera Farmiga as Norma, the mother. She is an Oscar-winning actress for "Up in the Air", so of course she does a great job.  Norma is a very complex character.  Freddie Highmore plays her son, Norma. He's been in lots of movies in his young life -- mostly kids' movies like Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He is a great talent, though, as evidenced by his work here.

Something very shocking happens in the pilot that makes you feel sorry for them both.  Clearly they are not yet the monsters portrayed in "Psycho".  It will be interesting to see what happens to them and the townspeople they encounter. It reminds me a little bit of the situation in the Star Wars movie "Phantom Menace" in that you know this cute little kid is going to grow up to be this horribly evil person, Darth Vader. You're interested in learning how that happens, but yet you keep hoping, somehow, that it won't. At least Darth redeems himself at the end of "Return of the Jedi", but the adult Norman is beyond help.

I hope you enjoy the show!

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