It is a tall task to take on one of the most famous characters from horror film and turn them into a lead character in a television series. Keep people’s attention week after week. Norman Bates of the film Psycho is the character and Bates Motel is the series. It is a prequel to the film bringing us along on the development of Norman from his teenage years. His development from a sweet but quirky young man to a serial killer. Dark and riveting. You may wonder why they are going back to this particular well but once you see a couple of episodes and settle into its particular eerie rhythms you will be hooked.
The reason this series works because of the great acting and tight script. Emmy and Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, The Departed) is the glue that holds it all together in her turn as Norman’s mother, Norma. She chews up the scenery with the best of them as Norma Bates. You don’t know whether to blame her for her son’s damaged psyche or feel sorry for her. Mother and son are close…too close.
Small-town dynamics and dysfunction are the keys to Bates Motel. That plus Norman’s growing psychosis. After an uneventful summer together Norman and his mother begin their bumpy life once again. Norman starts back at school, not that he wants to. That lasts one day after he runs home after suffering a hallucination. Norman agrees that he can be home schooled and will take over as the manager of their motel.
As time goes on Norman’s sick nature becomes something that even his mother can no longer ignore. Her growing closeness with her other son Dylan (played by Max Thierot) makes Norman irrationally jealous. His mental state becomes more and more precarious. With Norma’s estranged brother Caleb (played by Kenny Johnson) thrown into the mix and incriminating evidence against some of the richest and most influential people in town which they don’t want to get out, White Pine Bay becomes quite a hub of activity in season three of Bates Motel.
-A Broken Psyche: Creating Norma-N