Bates Motel (TV show 2013-present)

Gian Carlo Baldonado, Staff Writer

[Spoiler Alert for a movie that precedes the TV show. Writer suggests to watch the movie Psycho (1960) first before reading ahead.]

Check behind your shower curtains–- you’d never be too cautious looking for a tall, lanky young man carrying a knife decked on his mother’s evening gown.

Anyone who have lived the tumults of the 60s knew about this cautionary man named Norman Bates. A taxidermist, motel owner, and a serial killer, Bates centers the Psycho franchise that is based on the Psycho novels written by Robert Bloch.

English director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller Psycho introduced the audience in Bate’s already-laden world of delusion and psychological mayhem; the TV series Bates Motel (2013 –), produced by Universal Television and aired by the Arts & Entertainment network, stories the development of this fantasy and Bates’ gradual descend to insanity.

Starring English actor Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Norman Bates or the son and American actor Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring series) as Norma Bates or the mother, the TV series is a prequel to Psycho set in a modern-day setting.

Viewers who’ve seen the 1960 flick first point out that the show’s contemporary setting does not match with Hitchcock’s timeline for the original movie.

Carlton Cuse, one of the creators of the show, said in a Screen Prism article that a set showcasing the events before Psycho wouldn’t have worked because it “felt way too confining.”

“Right from the get-go, I would not have done the show if it was period,” Cuse said in the article. “Then I think you can really feel the pressure to be living literally in the shadow of the movie….”

The creators’ vision for Bates Motel is to set an homage to Psycho by being its mere inspiration rather than its blatant source material.

Similar to how the series follows the platonic relationship between Norma and Norman Bates, misfortune seems to shadow the mother and son who struggle to find a peaceful life in rural White Pine Bay.

Mysterious incidents and crime act as a predominant driving force of the show’s narrative, second to Norman’s erratic psychological behavior, that in the pilot episode the mother and son becomes acquainted with the local town sheriff Alex Romero, portrayed by Nestor Carbonell (Lost).

Norma also deals with the truth about her older son Dylan Massett, portrayed by Max Thieriot (Jumper), while Norman befriends a girl named Emma Decody, portrayed by Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

The show’s current four seasons circle around these main characters with a highlight on Norman’s descend in the abyss of madness.

Personally, knowing that Norman would turn out to be serial killer by the end of the series offers me a longing dread to witness how he would exactly lose his sense of touch with reality.

A Wisecrack video on Youtube may explain my (and probably your) fixation on serial killers in that they offer me a sense of danger and risk that I secretly crave without the need to perform such deed.

If you think you have the same desires, I highly recommend binge-watching Bates Motel for your cravings. It’s a show rife with mystery, suspense, and misdirection that it is impossible not to be hooked within the first episode.

Bates Motel seasons one, two, and three are currently on Netflix, while season four is set to arrive on the streaming service on Saturday, January 21st.

Season five will be the final season of the show, coming down to the scenes that are familiar to fans of Psycho, scheduled to premiere on February 20, 2017, on A&E.