Bates Motel – TV series

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Bates Motel is an American drama television series produced by Universal Television for A&E. It stars Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates, Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates, Max Thieriot, Keegan Connor Tracy and Mike Vogel.

Filmed in Aldergrove, British Columbia, the series debuted on March 18, 2013. Following favourable reviews and strong ratings, A&E renewed Bates Motel for a Second and Third Season.

The series, being a “contemporary prequel” to the 1960 film Psycho (based on Robert Bloch’s novel of the same name), depicts the life of Norman Bates and his mother Norma prior to the events portrayed in Hitchcock’s film, albeit in a different fictional town and in a modern setting. The series begins after the death of Norma’s husband, when she purchases a motel located in a coastal Oregon town so she and Norman can start a new life.

Bates Motel Season Three will premiere on March 9, 2015. For the first Season Three trailer titled ‘Becoming Psycho’, the network partnered with artist and photographer Steven Sebring to develop the art and technology behind the piece, and this marks the first use of it in a broadcast. The technology uses 100 cameras and covers 360 degrees. The goal was to tap into the show’s roots while also conveying Norman’s transformation into his Norma persona. Here’s the trailer:

New cast members in the Second Season included Paloma Kwiatkowski playing a potential love interest for Norman, Michael Vartan (Alias) as a love interest for Norma, Michael Eklund (The Call) as a big player in the drug business, Rebecca Creskoff (Hung) as a new friend to Norma, and Kenny Johnson (Sons of Anarchy) as Norma’s brother.

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Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel

Reviews:

“The costumes, mode of speech and landscape help to create a timeless quality. Norman’s obsession with old movies speaks to his desire to have “things be nice;” a fantasy of how life should be that he inherited from his mother, who continually insists that “everything is okay,” even though it is so clearly is not.” Roth Cornet, IGN

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Bates Motel isn’t for everyone, and not only because of the violence. The show offers little in the way of triumph, as least so far. If there are sweet moments, they are tinged with eeriness. And we know where this whole thing is ultimately headed, don’t we, and redemption is definitely not in the picture.” Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe

“To their credit, the producers do keep things interesting, for the most part without resorting to the cheap tricks that have characterized the vastly overrated “American Horror Story.” Nevertheless, the premise becomes its own creative prison, fostering a hurry-up-and-wait attitude as the story metes out its examples of the things that make this duo, well, different.” Brian Lowry, Variety

Bates Motel plays like a slow-burning riff on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks sparked by some fascinating, nuanced performances.” Mark Perigard, Boston Herald

Bates Motel offers a multilayered mother and her son, who is, after all, a lot like other teenagers on television today, a kid with a secret. But though his mother insists, “As long as we’re together nothing bad can really happen, right Norman?” we know otherwise, that this secret is very bad. And along with him, we may be at once frightened and intrigued.” Pop Matters

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“The time-confusion is an unnecessary distraction, a straightforward telling of this potentially engrossing tale would have done the job. Particularly as young British actor Freddie Highmore (so good as the young Nigel Slater in Toast) and Vera Farmiga make a believably claustrophobic mother and son double-act, drawn together by cruel fate, bound by ties neither has the strength to unravel.” Keith Watson, London Metro

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