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

Universal acclaim- based on 236 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 236

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  1. Mar 19, 2013
    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.
  2. Mar 18, 2013
    So 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. Expand
  3. Mar 19, 2013
    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 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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!
  6. 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. Collapse
  7. 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
  8. Apr 13, 2013
    This is one of Shows that people gets hooked from the very first episode. Framiga's done a good job with determined with hint of crazy character. For Highmore, he looks normal, but too normal that will makes you think 'this boy is creepy'.
  9. Apr 30, 2013
    This show is great! I like scary stuff but am not a fan of the Psycho movies or anything. The show itself drew me in not the "movies". The writing is great and NOT predictable at all. Great actors and really good character development. As we can see, there are not many negative reviews. I would have to ask the negative reviewers if they are blind and deaf? I watch many shows and they just don't have what this show has! The writing is clever and there isn't all this gore like the other new Tv shows in this genre. I can't say enough good things. I get excited each week to watch this show. Expand
  10. Apr 21, 2013
    I love this show. Its full of suspense and tension that has me on the edge of my seat every step of the way. Freddie Highmore succeeds in portraying a modernized version of the young original 1960's character, Norman Bates. Bates Motel is going where most shows wouldn't go and I hope to see it become much more over the next few years. If you are thinking of watching this show, don't hesitate. Do it now. Expand
  11. Mar 25, 2013
    I was completely into it from the first 10 minutes. Everything about the show is great and well acted. I think I might have found my new favorite show! I would recommend this to anyone.
  12. 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.
  13. Jul 16, 2013
    The first respectable homage of "Psycho" I've seen yet. The characters of Norma and Norman were done wonderfully by their respective actors (Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga) and I actually felt like I was watching a modern day remake done well. How they even kept the original set of both the motel and home was great to see. The only downside I have is that I feel like they ended it a little too soon. I hope they decide to bring this show back, but if not, I can still rewatch these episodes and enjoy it. Expand
  14. Mar 21, 2013
    Slow, derivative, and feels like a mess of a concept. I couldn't find myself caring for the characters, and the pilot was an extremely boring time-sink. Maybe it will pick up from here, but I'm not expecting much from the series. It will be neat to see Norman Bates grow into the killer he's supposed to be, but I just find myself wanting that to happen already because as he stands now, he's extremely unlikable. Expand
  15. May 25, 2013
    Absolutely love it!! Freddie Highmore is an amazing actor, as well as Vera and Max, A show with a brilliant cast. Full of suspense and always has you on the edge of your seat. Definitely worth a watch!!
  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. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Jun 19, 2013
    Bates Motel starts off strong just like any other TV series premiering this year, but soon starts to lack in story and cliffhangers. The acting provided by Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates) really makes the show shine in places it really doesn't. All in all, Bates Motel started off strong but ended but a lousy season finale that makes you wonder whether or not you will be tuning in for Season Two.
  24. 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.
  25. Jul 10, 2014
    The show is creppy is in a good way. I like the way Norman Bates is . We all try to think he is a nice guy with just some "problems" but we all know he is pshyco in training. The acting is outstanding and Freddie Highmore sometimes gives you the chills. Oh my god,this show is excellent because the way it's presented in.
  26. 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
  27. Apr 6, 2013
    I want to start by saying I knew this was a bad idea it is completely destroying a classic film. Now as bad as it is I still watch just to poke fun at the little things like the deep fried father burnt to a crisp in episode 2 how is he still living? Either they went overboard on the make up or the guy looked like a cannibal's supper. The power of suggestion is a big thing to influence Norman I guess. What happened to the whole incest storyline much easier to believe that could drive one psycho instead of a stupid book with nudity in it. Why even use that book just give him some old playboys lol. By the end of season 1 I will not be able to watch any psycho again they have completely killed it. Expand
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. lox
    May 8, 2014
    Perfectly cast, genuinely intense, smoothly paced, superbly acted and multilayered, Bates Motel is a highly engaging, semi-modernized origins story of Norman Bates. Immersing you into Norman's world nearly inch by inch pre-Psycho, mixing 1950's and modern day elements together, this first season is taut and engaging. The highlight of this series is definitely Freddie Highmore, a young and amazing talented actor who channels Anthony Perkins excellently, and Vera Farmiga who is superb and convincing as Norma Bates. Expand

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.