Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What I'm Watching: Bates Motel

If I haven't told you yet, I like creepy stuff- books, stories, etc. I normally don't go out for spooky TV and movies, but after watching Supernatural last summer (yes, all of it), I've changed and I'm much more open to creepy or scary TV shows now. Enter Bates Motel.

"Psycho" is so iconic that even people who haven't seen it recognize certain elements: the famous screeching violins from the shower scene, the dark, looming mansion on the hill overlooking the hotel, Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. Some of us have seen the original enough times to recognize other things, such as the music that plays while Marion is driving in the rain, or the stairs inside the Bates home. Never has someone offering to make another person a sandwich seemed so sinister. If you only saw the remake, do yourself a favor and watch the original. Hitchcock was a master.

I hesitated at first to watch "Bates Motel" because the ads made it look like Normal was fantasizing about his mother and I didn't really want to watch that. Then I read the book "Psycho" by Robert Bloch, and heard good things about the show, and decided to give it a chance. 

And I love it! It's not the best show on TV (that honor goes to Justified right now, since Sherlock is in hiatus), nor is it 100% perfect, but it's very enjoyable and the writing is great and most of the actors are perfectly cast. Freddie Highmore as Norman is amazing. Watching him grow into the murderous, crazy Norman Bates we know and love is fascinating, and Highmore manages to make Norman both sympathetic and frightening. Vera Farmiga as his mother, Norma, is also scary and likeable--terrific casting! We love when actors from one of our family's favorite shows, "Lost", show up in new shows, so it's been fun watching Nestor Carbonell as the local sheriff. And Max Thieriot as Norman's brother Dylan is low-key, subtle acting at its best. 

My only complaint about casting was in the first season, when Nicola Peltz played Bradley (yes, a girl with a boy's name, go fig.), who was a sort-of love interest for Norman. She has yet to develop the acting chops to keep up with the rest of this stellar cast.

The show has had murder, intrigue, secrets, character development, and mysteries aplenty. If you like a good drama or are a fan of Psycho, Bates Motel is worth checking out!