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

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

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 256 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • 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: Ellen Gray
    Mar 18, 2013
    60
    Whether other people's secrets will prove to be as interesting as the intimations of Norman's not-so-sweet future remains to be seen.
  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: 62 out of 70
  2. Negative: 5 out of 70
  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. Expand
  2. Sep 21, 2013
    10
    I've been dedicated to this series from the beginning. The first season was so broad in its storyline with all sorts of problematic issues inI've been dedicated to this series from the beginning. The first season was so broad in its storyline with all sorts of problematic issues in trying to introduce all the odd characters; however, suspenseful nonetheless. Toward the end of the season the episodes and characters seem to pick up becoming solid, as well as the plot. I'm excited for season two. Expand
  3. 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 alwaysAbsolutely 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
  4. Oct 19, 2013
    8
    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.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 Expand
  5. Jul 16, 2013
    8
    The first respectable homage of "Psycho" I've seen yet. The characters of Norma and Norman were done wonderfully by their respective actorsThe 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
  6. IAC
    Mar 20, 2015
    7
    Excellent performances from everyone signed on to this series. Norma Bates is one of the best written characters on TV right now, brought toExcellent performances from everyone signed on to this series. Norma Bates is one of the best written characters on TV right now, brought to life by Vera Farmiga in a way that is disturbing and sympathetic at the same time. This kind of fallibility and nuance is generally reserved for leading white male characters, and to see a woman finally written as both condemned and redeemable is refreshingly courageous. It is beautifully shot; props to everyone involved with the look and feel of the show, which creates a subtly off-kilter blending of eras from 1960s through present day.

    Most criticism I've seen here stems from a comparison to its source material, Psycho, which frankly I feel is missing the point. Bates Motel is a separate entity that draws from the classic film, but is in no way a companion piece. It explores the motives and psychology behind a dysfunctional, codependant relationship between mother and son, which is interesting on its own. It's not Psycho, and it's not trying to be.

    My own criticism is with regards to the plot, which can feel contrived at times, particularly in the second season. Certain events occur for the sole purpose of moving the characters from A to B, rather than their attitude and decisions moving the plot, so I sometimes felt like I was being led by the nose. The strength of the show is in the characters, their twisted relationships with each other, and the depth with which the actors all seem to grasp their characters. Overall, a compelling, unique show that's not afraid to creep you out with incestuous undertones in a relationship that has you feeling compassion and disgust a the same time.
    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 70 User Reviews

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