• Network: A&E
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 18, 2013
Season #: 1, 2, 3
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    Mar 20, 2013
    83
    The most believable character--and the real reason to check in to Bates Motel--is undoubtedly Farmiga's Norma.
  2. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Mar 13, 2013
    83
    A&E's Bates Motel is both mesmerizing and sometimes absurd in its rewind to Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) as a repressed 17-year-old.
  3. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    May 29, 2013
    80
    This Bates Motel requires more than just a one-night stay. Once you slip in you may not want to check out.
  4. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Mar 18, 2013
    80
    Three episodes in, the story is certainly serpentine, at times self-consciously so. But there does appear to be writerly method in the madness. More important, there is Farmiga, and she, like Norma, appears up to any task.
  5. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Mar 15, 2013
    80
    All in all, its assured storytelling and fine performances give a worthy contemporary spin to a classic.
  6. Reviewed by: Sara Smith
    Mar 15, 2013
    80
    It brings its own style of spine-tingling dysfunction to the screen.
  7. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Mar 14, 2013
    80
    As odd as poor Norman is, there's something about Norma that gives Bates Motel its true, and truly frightening, center. Vulnerable and malign, Ms. Farmiga pretty much nails it.
  8. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Mar 14, 2013
    80
    Bates Motel turns out to be a worthy reimagining of the Norman Bates story.
  9. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 7, 2013
    80
    Expect a slow(ish) rollout for Bates Motel, as the first couple of episodes establish character and location, before things take an uptick during episode three. But there’s more than enough intrigue and entertainment--on top of Farmiga’s outstanding turn--to keep viewers wanting more of this new-style nonhomage to Psycho.
  10. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Mar 18, 2013
    75
    Like "Psycho," it offers a deliciously scary stew of unexpected twists, murder and mind games.
  11. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Mar 15, 2013
    75
    Bates Motel builds psychological scares rather than spooking us with haunted-house cliches. Following these characters to the end we can see coming should be a fascinating journey.
  12. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Mar 14, 2013
    75
    For now, though, the credibility issues don't matter that much because we're more interested in the characters, who may not be all that credibly created themselves, but who are informed by Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece.
  13. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Mar 18, 2013
    70
    They’ve done a smart job of building a cryptic, threatening world around the disturbing relationship at its center.... Highmore is just right as Norman.... I’m less convinced by Farmiga, who doesn’t seem to have a strong fix on Norma’s motivations.
  14. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Mar 18, 2013
    70
    Bates Motel takes a few episodes to get going as the writers build the world of White Pine Bay, and the story appears poised to really kick into a higher gear with a revelation at the end of the third episode. Up to this point Bates Motel is an OK character drama, but in building the broader world it inhabits the show begins to come into sharper focus.
  15. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Mar 18, 2013
    70
    Maybe the most encouraging thing about this intriguing but imperfect Young Norman Bates Adventures show is that, in a time when dramas are determined to hook viewers with rapid-fire twists, it takes its time answering.
  16. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Mar 18, 2013
    70
    Curiously compelling.
  17. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Mar 18, 2013
    67
    A&E reboots the legend of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” but Bates Motel plays like a slow-burning riff on David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” sparked by some fascinating, nuanced performances.
  18. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Mar 18, 2013
    67
    The lead performances, and the way that relationship is written, are all excellent enough to stick around a little while longer in the hopes that Bates Motel as a whole becomes something more interesting. But a lot of that may also depend on what exactly Cuse and Ehrin want Norman Bates to turn into, and how quickly.
  19. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Mar 15, 2013
    67
    The acting is solid all around--just not entirely convincing.
  20. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Mar 15, 2013
    67
    Things go bad quickly, which is to be expected. The challenge with this show will be to keep it appropriately Crazy Town without letting it get Loony Bin bad.
  21. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 18, 2013
    63
    It ain’t Hitchcock, but it ain’t bad. Too bad it ain’t new.
  22. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 18, 2013
    63
    Were Bates Motel a movie, Farmiga and Highmore (who has Tony Perkins' troubling, sort-of-smiling stare down cold) might be able to keep you tied to these damaged creatures through to the end of the film. But for a series, these do not feel like ties that bind.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 268 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 71
  2. Negative: 5 out of 71
  1. Mar 19, 2013
    10
    so far its amazing from start to finish. the actors (vera farmiga and freddie highmore) give it their all in their outstanding performances.so far its amazing from start to finish. the actors (vera farmiga and freddie highmore) give it their all in their outstanding performances. its too good to miss out and you wont stop watching it. Full Review »
  2. Mar 18, 2013
    9
    So far, so good. It's only the pilot, so there's time for "Bates Motel" to become great. Vera Farmiga provides a wonderfully nuancedSo far, so good. It's only the pilot, so there's time for "Bates Motel" to become great. Vera Farmiga provides a wonderfully nuanced performance as Norma, Norman's domineering mother. Freddie Highmore is a dead-ringer for a young Anthony Perkins. This is not American Horror Story. There are no ghosts or goblins here. Just one boy's forming psyche that eventually turns him Psycho. We'll see where the writers take it. Full Review »
  3. Mar 19, 2013
    10
    This is a true homage to classic. It gives you this nail biting edge of your seat feeling that leaves you clamoring for more. I can't wait toThis is a true homage to classic. It gives you this nail biting edge of your seat feeling that leaves you clamoring for more. I can't wait to see where this is headed and how we see young Norman turn 'Psycho'. Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga give amazing performances that take your breath away. Full Review »