Monday, March 25, 2013

First Impressions: Bates Motel

Last week I checked out the new A&E series Bates Motel, with my wife and my youngest daughter Kaia.  A few days earlier I had shown Kaia the 1960 classic Psycho - so we were pretty excited to see how this new show would go.

One episode in, and honestly, I'm liking it.

As the series is effectively a prequel to a story most people are very familiar with, it's interesting to see how they play with the interactions between young Norman Bates and his mother Norma.  The casting is really good, both stars Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga come off as quite genuine, and both more than a little wrong - just the perfect mix of what you would expect for the characters.

The premise has them relocating to Oregon after the untimely death of Norman's father.  Here they purchase a new motel and try to start a new chapter in their lives.  Pretty quickly things start to go south.  The police seem strangely interested in the pair and Norman's quick popularity with the girls at his new school seems to be a pretty big problem for his mother.

With a series like this everything comes down to atmosphere - if things go wrong you move quickly from creepy into farce, but so far, the tone is very nicely set and I'm definitely interested in checking out the next episode.

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