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  • Series Premiere Date: Mar 18, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Bates Motel Image
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 201 Ratings

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  • Summary: The relationship between 17-year-old Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) is explored in this contemporary prequel to the movie "Psycho."
  • Genre(s): Drama, Suspense
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Mar 14, 2013
    80
    Bates Motel turns out to be a worthy reimagining of the Norman Bates story.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 18, 2013
    63
    It ain’t Hitchcock, but it ain’t bad. Too bad it ain’t new.
  5. Reviewed by: J.C. Macek III
    Mar 18, 2013
    60
    Bates Motel isn’t Hitchcock, and doesn’t try to be. But the show does make intelligent use of what you already know about Norma and Norman in their efforts to “start over.”
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Mar 18, 2013
    20
    Having started with a bad premise, producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin then made it infinitely worse by rejecting the loneliness and isolation that were the nucleus of Hitchcock’s film.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 58
  2. Negative: 5 out of 58
  1. May 25, 2013
    10
    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!! Expand
  2. Aug 17, 2013
    10
    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.
    Expand
  3. 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. its too good to miss out and you wont stop watching it. Expand
  4. Mar 19, 2013
    9
    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. Expand
  5. Jun 9, 2013
    8
    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 Expand
  6. Jun 19, 2013
    7
    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. Expand
  7. Mar 24, 2013
    0
    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

See all 58 User Reviews

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