• Network: A&E
  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 18, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 207 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 207

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  1. Apr 23, 2014
    so far its like watching alfred hitchcocks pyscho which was a good movie . But bates motel is the new pyscho with a whole new look and new secrets . This show is basically creepy nothing compared to hitch cocks pyscho and its beyond creepy so far . Grade B-
  2. Oct 6, 2013
    I thought this was interesting and of course a little creepy. I have only seen the pilot but I have the series recorded so I will continue to watch it!
  3. Mar 19, 2013
    Not a fan of the whole "contemporary prequel" thing, I think they should've stayed true to the cult classic Psycho and set it in the 50's or 60's. Besides that there isn't much bad to say about it- the acting and writing is good, and its compelling and suspenseful enough to keep viewers interested.
  4. Apr 9, 2013
    Solid opening episode and it has stuck there since, good writing, exceptional cast and just the right amount of thrills. keep it coming! From the begiining you are invested in the characters and it makes you hungry for more.
  5. Mar 24, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Another example of really wanting to like a show, and being completely disappointed. I had to struggle to watch the entire pilot, I was ready to stop at each commercial break. I kept on watching hoping it would get better, never did for me. I am open to an out-of-time prequel, but many aspects did not work for me. I would have liked to seen the storyline being true to the movie, Norma being conned into building the motel. Norman watching his mother in unhealthy relationships with men. This just seemed rushed, buying the hotel and then finding out the bypass was being built could have been stretched out into an few episodes could have paced the pilot better. I could not suspend my disbelief at a number of points, when every female was falling over themselves to flirt with him, the police do not notice that Norma and Norman were behaving oddly, when they were ripping up carpeting in the middle of the night, and others. Expand
  6. Nov 17, 2013
    The show works it way to climax slowly but in a good way. It doesn't rush things so viewers get to take all the suspense in. Freddie Highmore is surprisingly good playing against his typical role of being a sweetheart and Vera Farmiga manages to pull an act that makes me all sympathetic to her. Bates Motel is a very interesting and unique take on the story and should do well as long as the writers keep it consistent. Expand
  7. Sep 6, 2013
    We all know how it ends, but exploring what makes Norman Bates tick is fascinating. The acting is fresh and the characters are well developed. A&E may have just become relevant.
  8. Apr 14, 2014
    The talented and amazing Vera Farmiga is brilliant as Norman Bates mother. I am such a huge fan of hers', the diversity of her films is amazing. This show is a prequeI to the movie Pyscho for those who don't know. So far I've really enjoyed this series, the suspense, crime, nuttiness and drama is none stop and is far from boring. The majority of the shows success will be due to Veras' part, just my opinion. Freddie Highmore aka Norman Bates doesn't do too bad either. Like I said at the beginning, Vera Farmiga is BRILLIANT and that alone is a good enough reason to watch this series. Here's to the writers, actors, producers etc... GOOD LUCK!! Look forward to many more seasons Expand
  9. Mar 25, 2013
    So far, so good. The writing needs some polishing up and the teenage storylines could be very problematic, but Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are great, it’s shot well and the little references to the movie are fun. It could be great if they had smarter writers who could make a reference to Jane Eyre without mentioning that they're referencing Jane Eyre, but that can improve with time. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. Expand
  10. Mar 18, 2013
    I don't normally review television series after the pilot, I usually like to wait until at least 3 episodes in, However this pilot was just too good not to review it. Love the idea of showing how Norman Bates became such a tortured soul. And how awesome is it for Norma bates to finally have a story to her. Suspenseful, Gritty, Creepy, and compelling. would be proud!
  11. Oct 19, 2013
    Really liked this show. It has potential to be so much better and i'm looking forward to season 2 to see if it gains or loses momentum. Farmiga shines more than any one else here and its amazing watching both Norman and Norma plummet into insanity
  12. Jun 9, 2013
    A great plot, great actors Vera Farmiga is excellent), great twists and stunning landscapes. The motel is exactly the same like the movie 'psycho'. I am really looking forward the next season and i can't wait to see what else Norman will do. Thumbs up. One of the greatest (maybe the best) tv series that came out this year. A must-see
  13. Oct 27, 2013
    bates motel is a surprisingly good prequel to the events depicted in Hitch's Psycho. The story is pacy and the look of the seres is in keeping with our memories of the original. Where this series is best served is with its two leading actors. Freddie Highmore is uncannily cast as his resemblance to Perkins from the original film is all too believable. Vera Farmiga brings class and her wonderful talent and beauty to the moher role and all in all the series delivers. Expand
  14. May 2, 2013
    Rather Entertaining!

    I started watching the show scarcely expecting it to deliver, but deliver it did! Since the creators of the show were positioning it as a prequel to ‘Psycho’ it is near impossible for a viewer to try and not draw a parallel between the show and the movie. Let me put it this way, while ‘Psycho’ or let’s say a show like ‘Dexter’ is a character study of a serial
    killer while the pathology already exists, in other words the character is already a sociopath, ‘Bates Motel’ is a case study too, only difference is the pathology doesn’t exist yet. It’s fascinating to watch it happen before your eyes at a languid pace and to observe the twisted relationship dynamic between the Mother and the Son. I quite liked the Norman Bates here,played by Freddie Highmore, this one in my opinion is a lot different Norman than the one created and precisely for this reason I find him more compelling. For starters he is lot more “functional” than the one in the movie and dare I say more likeable. The casting is spot on, Freddie Highmore somehow manages to look innocuous but you can clearly see the darkness that he keeps bottled up inside him. We never got to meet Norman’s mother while she was alive, Vera Farmiga is doing a great job as the menacing,domineering and at the same time a caring mother of a would be….serial killer I reckon. The worst thing they can do to this show and which would kill it for me is if the writers do decide to turn this Norman into the one we saw in ‘Psycho’. I think they should let Freddi Highmore give him a different personality.
    We also never got to meet any of the townsfolk where ‘Bates Motel’ existed, in this series the town is also a character and there’s plenty going on. I wouldn’t say that the show has broken any new ground but it is treading wonderfully well on an established one so far (7 episodes in) and hasn’t faltered.
  15. May 7, 2013
    This is a excellent in every way. Vera Farmiga nails it EVERYTIME!! This role is made for her--it fits her like a glove down to every nuance of her movements. The dynamic between mother and son (meaning Norman) is brilliantly written and acted, it is just amazing to watch the disturbing nature of how emotional abuse really takes place and form between people. This show really gets it and makes itself a true gem in the world of cheap knock off shows with way too much hype and not enough substance. Expand
  16. Jul 15, 2013
    Bates Motel is the new thriller starring Vera Farmiga as Norma and Freddie Highmore as Norman. Bates Motel is kind of prequel to Psycho, but is it as interesting as Psycho? It is well made, but the story isn't as interesting as it should have been. Despite that the screenplay is mediocre, on the brighter side, the performances are breathtaking and enthralling. Directing wise, but the main issue I have with this series, that it falls apart sometimes in some of the episodes. While falling apart, it collects the pieces and builds up something shocking. Enough with negativity, and let me go the the positive new things in this series, Bates Motel has a great chemistry bonding Farmiga and Highmore, which makes it great but dark mother/son love, it is kind of wired but in a great way, you don't see bonding between parents and sons these days. But as I said it has uncountable flaws, but much more new and first rate things. Despite being somehow not as interesting as it should have been, but on the bright side, it is a good "Compelling Thriller" AND EXTREMELY INTENSE ONE, as said the critics, it is extremely moving and I will wait passionately for season 2. Go ahead and create more mystery and more good things. BRAVO!! Expand
  17. Apr 20, 2014
    Intresting twist on a movie, that almost everybody watched! a Prequel set in our time. Actors are great, the show is interesting to watch. Season one ended on a cliff note! will watch season 2!
  18. Mar 19, 2013
    The pilot for this episode was just so strong i had to review it at once. This will be one an amazing show is what the pilot proved. The pilot was so interesting and the acting is just great for a show like this.
  19. Jul 27, 2013
    I watched first two episodes and i liked it, then i watch the third episode, it was fantastic.I watched the whole season in two days! Freddie Highmore is the best choice to play Norman, and i was fascinated with Vera Fermiga's acting it was exquisite and suspense was good too, show is thrilling, it's really good but of course not better than the film, no one could do it like did it.
  20. Apr 25, 2013
    I'm now halfway through the series; I have watched until episode 6. As long as I remember, Bates Motel is one of the series this season that keeps me glued all the time. Every episode moves smoothly. I enjoy every episode until its last bite. Each character has their own motives in the town where Norma and Norman Bates live. Nevertheless, Bates Motel is not a masterpiece, but for a series to be this mesmerising, what do you call it? Compelling! Expand
  21. Aug 17, 2013
    It’s pretty safe to say that I was looking forward to Psycho the trailer was presented in a way I hadn’t seen done before featuring members of the cast talking about the series, I have also enjoyed shows like Sherlock which have brought old publications into a modern day setting. Seeing that I loved the original movie and the book by Robert Bloch’s I was very interested into just how they could bring Norman into the 21st century.

    Bates Motel the record breaking A&E series tells the story of a young Norman Bates and the proceeding events before ****’s masterpiece the 1960′s film Psycho. Bates Motel to put it simply had me hooked, every Monday night on A&E after the episode I could only count down the days until the next episode.

    Bates Motel opens with a strong first episode where we are first introduced to the frankly to close relationship between mother and son. Shortly after Norman’s father dies using the life insurance money Norma buys a motel, not before being harassed by the previous owner. Episode one quickly takes the darkest turn imaginable putting the events of Psycho to shame, so on that front I’m not sure in the already commissioned season 2 how far they could go but if it’s anything like this season I will be happy.

    Bates Motel had me glued to the television drama, even though I didn’t care much for the teen drama love triangle between Norman, Emma and Bradley. It seemed a bit forced and unnecessary, I realize that without it Norman’s betrayal to his mother by “getting laid” wouldn’t of happened and then Emma’s character would serve no purpose as she wouldn’t really be doing anything or have no emotional ark but I just didn’t personally care for the drama. For instance their were a few scenes were I just kept saying to myself “Norman please just kill them already they are driving me crazy”.

    I enjoyed the overall bad ass town which they created I thought it was a little far fetched having all the suggestions that the whole towns economy was being held up by pot, but I suppose the pot fields needed a reason to be important. Another thing which I enjoyed was Norman’s introduction to taxidermy I thoroughly enjoyed that nod to the original.

    When considering the acting I must remark that I thought Freddie Highmore was a great casting as Norman Bates, however whenever he is sad or is crying his voice did annoy me. Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates oh my! Was that the best piece of casting you have ever seen or what? When Norman’s hallucinations of Norma is talking to him I really felt sorry form him, Farmiga was just so intimidating and commanding over him that I could of literally screamed at the TV. The level of acting was great throughout but nothing incredibly spectacular stood out from the crowd in comparison to the fore mentioned performances.

    The series had a great script, a well structured plan which resulted in a good and intriguing story which leaves you gagging for more. Admittedly the middle few episodes did drop the ball a little bit in comparison to the rest of the episodes but it didn’t effect my overall opinion of the series.

    Bates Motel was a great overall series and I would recommend it to anyone.
  22. Feb 19, 2014
    I am a fan of Psycho and was anticipating this show greatly. The 1st season felt like it wasn't for Psycho fans and for other fans entirely. I surprisingly had no problem with that happening. I was disappointed it didn't have that Psycho vibe to me, but I still love the show as something on its own. Its one of those shows you don't expect or know how it will go after the first couple episodes, but it delivers. The cast isn't something to die for, but they fulfill their roles well enough to keep people interested. I'm looking forward to what direction season 2 will take. Expand
  23. Apr 23, 2013
    Brilliant story lines and acting. What an amazing prequel to Psycho. One can really see the development of Norman's mental nightmares. The writing is clever and very suspenseful. I think even Alfred would have enjoyed the show.
  24. Apr 18, 2013
    It's TV's best thriller! The story is very unusual yet compelling and a bit far from the 1960 classic horror film. But the real magic of the show is from Highmore's performance. He definitely nails Norman Bates. Highmore has this innocent and dark charisma which really suits his character. In the other hand, Farmiga provides this caring and mysterious personality for Norma Bates which adds up the show's mystery factor. There's still a lot of secrets to uncover and I cannot wait to see more on what will happen next. Expand
  25. May 31, 2013
    It is good, entertaining and interesting but it didn't live up to my expectations, some really chilling and nerve wracking episodes and scenes, but almost half of it is boring, on the bright side, it has great acting, an interesting but not so powerful plot, some chilling scenes and an amazing episodes later in the series, it is overall good and entertaining but not highly recommended.
  26. Mar 21, 2013
    Bates Motel is a vary well casted show and vary dramatic, show like this is what get people hooked in to watching them. Well done on the first episode, keep it up.
  27. Mar 20, 2013
    My problem was with the casting of the mother. She wasn't spooky enough. Her teeth were too white. She was too pretty. Let's go with a type like Felicity Huffman, a young Cloris Leechman or even Kathy Bates. I liked the boy. Why not set it in 1950 like it should be so it makes sense in our minds? That rape seemed unmotivated. If that man was that crazy he would have been arrested when he was younger. They didn't address his truck being in her yard, did they? I wondered about that. Expand
  28. Mar 29, 2013
    The pilot is a pale derivative from American Horror, using the Psycho franchise only to get someone on the hook. The characters are feeble, the plot is soft. Let's see.
  29. Mar 24, 2014
    Heavy on story though weak on dialogue, But Bates Motel is so powerfully acted and very well shot, That Bates Motel is one of the most intriguing shows out right now.
  30. Apr 8, 2013
    Bates Motel so far has started out exceedingly well so far mainly because of its character development and its overall essentially creepy atmosphere. If the show keeps this up, along with the fantastic acting from Highmore and Farmiga, then we are sure to have a real hit TV show on our hands.

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: Bruce Miller
    May 29, 2013
    This Bates Motel requires more than just a one-night stay. Once you slip in you may not want to check out.
  2. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    Mar 20, 2013
    The most believable character--and the real reason to check in to Bates Motel--is undoubtedly Farmiga's Norma.
  3. 50
    I’m torn between condemning the series for piggybacking on a classic and promising an origin story it doesn’t really care to deliver, and praising it for avoiding the homicidal Muppet Babies formula and pulling a pretty brazen bait-and-switch.