Going into the pilot episode I was expecting it to take place during the same time era as the movie, which may have been the 1960s? (I have scoured the internet and can not seem to find the answer, so if you know the time period of Psycho tell me in the comments!)
It’s not until I see Norman with an iPhone that I realize, OH! It takes place today! I would have never realized this because the first 5 minutes of the show is very nineteen-sixtiesish. The car that Norman and his mother own seems nearly identical to the iconic car in the original film.
The concept of this horror, mystery, and thriller TV show is brilliant. I am so happy to learn about one of the most iconic characters in horror movie history and the fact that they are making the setting in today’s time just adds to its originality. The cable winter line up for dramas has been entirely composed of period pieces, so seeing something like this is a breath of fresh air.
Norman (Freddy Highmore, a now very grown up Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and his mother, Norma Louise Bates (Vera Farmiga) move to a new town after Norman’s father suddenly dies in their living room. I watched that opening scene twice and I am still not sure why or how he died, but the end outcome is the two moving. Norma buys a house and motel that was recently foreclosed by the bank and intends to renovate and open the motel back up.
For a kid that has a mother who is “free spirited” and makes him move from town to town, Norman seems pretty normal. He’s obviously an introvert but that is only because he’s never been in one town for too long which is his mothers fault.
The pilot episode has many “what the hell” moments that are well done, but others where you just want to scream at the writer, like ‘REALLY? That’s what you think high school is like?’ But the extreme horror scenes are worth sticking around for. Not to mention the first death that happens is eventually stored in a bathtub in one of the motel rooms, which I find absolutely priceless.
What is amazing is how similar Highmore and the original Bates (Anthony Perkins) look alike. Highmore is honestly a spitting image of a younger Perkins. And I am certainly looking forward to Highmore’s most scandalous performance. Being a child actor of many Nickelodeon movies and a favorite young actor of Johnny Depp’s, this will be Highmore’s first challenging role as a teenager. It is his time to shine and show the world how well he can act. He did a splendid job acting in the pilot, and Vera is just as astounding as well. Vera’s character as Norman’s Mother is one hard-core, clever bitch who doesn’t mess around.
The cliffhanger at the end of the episode is sure to bring you back for the next week as well. Bates Motel seems to have a promising season ahead of itself and the acting will prove worthy of the terrorizing plot and background story of Norman Bates, one of our first serial killers of the horror genre.