The creepy, yet addictive, Season 1 of Bates Motel is now available on DVD. The show follows a young Norman Bates along with his mother, Norma, before the events that transpired in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. With one of the masterminds from Lost (Carlton Cuse) behind the wheel, paired with Friday Night Lights‘ Kerry Ehrin, the compelling thriller doesn’t slow down at all from its pilot episode to the season finale.
With more of a Twin Peaks feel than I’ve seen in any series since (despite Hollywood’s best efforts), the first season follows the Bates family, Norma (Vera Farmiga) and Norman (Freddie Highmore), as they attempt to start over after the death of Norman’s father. They set up shop at the soon to be renamed ‘Seafarer Motel’, and everything seems somewhat normal until midway through the pilot episode. Everything seems somewhat normal, until midway through the pilot episode.
If you weren’t familiar with story of Norman Bates – or his creepy relationship with his mother – then you’ll figure it out pretty quickly in Bates Motel. Watching the earlier years of Norman’s life provides a fascinating look into the psychological progression that occurred with the character between his childhood and the events that took place in Psycho. You feel almost like his “issues” could have been avoided if he could have just somehow distanced himself from his mother. However, as the first season progresses, it is clear that Norman’s sometimes seemingly harmless demeanor could be a cover-up of mental instability and potential ill will. Norma seems to be aware of this even though she appears to be unfazed by it. Others around Norman seem less aware of the unstable monster that lurks behind that nervous and boyish smile.
Bates Motel is one of the most addictive series currently airing, appealing to the curiosity that TV viewers have toward characters with psychological issues. Murders, sex slaves, and hints of desired incest – these types of topics which don’t usually make sense to a normal person – become fascinating and enthralling as Bates Motel develops the deconstruction of Norman and Norma’s sanity. Season 1 may have struggled to find its footing initially – as most all freshman series do – but once it knew where it was going, it was a non-stop thrill ride of crazy. Fantastic acting, amazing yet unsettling writing, and the perfect backdrop of scenery are synthesized together to create a snapshot of an unusual family with psychological issues, as well as a strong and comically dark drama. Bates Motel provides a frightening look at one of fiction’s most enduring characters.
Bates Motel Season 2 returns in 2014.
Special features include:
- Deleted Scenes
- Paley Center Panel Discussion with the Cast and Creative Team
Review By: Emma Loggins