You would think no one would want to check into the Bates Motel, but millions apparently have for the show’s debut, and it’s even garnered decent reviews as well.
With Psycho being one of the most important horror films in history, I was initially wary of anyone going into Hitchcock territory, especially his best known film in modern times. But maybe Bates Motel has pulled it off.
As we’ve reported before on TG, a horror series is tough to pull off, and very few have been done successfully. If you’re going to do it right, a show has to be done with a different twist, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dark Shadows.
The upcoming Hannibal series certainly has potential, and so far it looks like Bates Motel may be living up to its promise as well. (Bates Motel was created by a veteran of Lost, Carlton Cuse, and Kerry Ehrin).
According to Entertainment Weekly, Bates Motel broke a ratings record for A&E, with 4.6 million viewers tuning in for the debut episode. As far as the reviews, nj.com wrote that Bates puts “the why in Psycho,” not to mention it “boasts a first-rate cast and an intriguingly creepy expansion of the original story’s universe.”
The L.A. Times also called it “a twisty, moody modern prequel to Psycho,” and that acclaimed actress Vera Farmiga (The Departed), who plays Norman’s beloved mother “is reason enough to watch.”
Freddie Highmore, who plays young Norman, said Bates Motel “was the right project,” and he was also interested in “the character itself and the chance to develop it over a longer period of time. On a film, you have an hour and a half or two to make that character; here you have at least 10 episodes to make that transition, which is great; you can play more on the subtleties and build things in slower.”
The key to Anthony Perkins playing Bates in the original Psycho was at the time he was the person you least expected, and before you learn he’s the killer you felt sympathy for him. Highmore continues that with the show Bates Motel, “Hopefully, people empathize with Norman and root for him, even though we know how he ends up. There’s still this false sense of hope that he might change and manage to pull through and surprise us all – even though he won’t (laughs).”
So will Bates Motel stay open for business? It’s off to a very good start so far, let’s see if it can hang in there over the next several weeks.