Review: Bates Motel – Season 1 / Cert: 18 / Director: Various / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga, Max Thieriot, Olivia Cooke, Nicola Peltz / Release Date: February 3rd
Ever wondered how Norman Bates came to be? If you’re intrigued by the creepy taxidermist in the Psycho films, Bates Motel is for you. Not all great stories and characters need an explanation or reason behind them; sometimes the mystique and vague nature is part of the charm of a movie or character. Is Norman Bates one of those characters? Initially, Starburst would have answered a firm “Yes!” But watching Bates Motel’s elaboration on Norman’s childhood, it’s impossible not to be drawn in by the impressive storytelling, the strong character development, and some truly wonderful performances from the principal cast.
We’re introduced to Norman (Highmore) at a time after the death of his father and when his mother, Norma (Farmiga), decides it’s time to move on to a new life in a new town. Deciding to settle in White Pine Bay, the family Bates wind up the new owners of a rather familiar-looking motel. With the pair in trouble from the get-go, it would seem that they can never just go smoothly for Norma and her son. Adding to the Bates’ dynamic, we’re introduced to Max (Thieriot), Norman’s older half-brother. Whilst not as dark, menacing or unstable as the rest of the Bates clan, Max still manages to get himself into bother in other ways.
Full of slow-build subtleties, sinister mayhem and just the slightest teases of what is to come, the first season of Bates Motel is quite simply addictive…
A truly fantastic TV show, check out the full review of Bates Motel: Season 1 at Starburst Magazine.