‘Bates Motel’ Premieres in March; Showrunners Tease ‘Psycho’ Connection

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 17th, 2013 at 8:45 am,

bates motel embed1 Bates Motel Premieres in March; Showrunners Tease Psycho Connection

Bates Motel is trespassing on somewhat sacred territory (less so, after Psycho IV: The Beginning), but some people are starting to become cautiously optimistic thanks to its respectable casting and effectively ominous trailers.

A&E has set the pilot to air on March 18th. The network currently has ten episodes lined up for the series, but there could be more down the line; should TV viewers applaud its portrayal of Psycho‘s iconic killer Norman Bates as a young man, that is. The issue of how, exactly, this show could tie-into Alfred Hitchcock’s movie – based on Robert Bloch’s novel – and whether or not it will adhere to the franchise’s canon story, were addressed at a recent event.

Co-showrunners Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) spoke with journalists during this week’s Television Critics Association press tour, where the official premiere date was announced. Furthermore, the producers indicated that past Psycho installments are providing inspiration, but that Bates Motel won’t necessarily be sticking to the elements introduced in those films (save Hitchcock’s original, presumably).

Here’s an excerpt from Deadline‘s report on the event:

“We don’t really view any of that as canon,” Cuse said. He called a desire to avoid “homage” a reason why the story has a contemporary setting, rather than being set in the ’60s. He added that the story of how young Bates becomes a murderous adult “will not be what you expect it to be.” (He did confirm that the story would be serialized but “have a beginning, middle and end” and will not focus on a single individual mystery or story point.)

 /Film is likewise quoting Cuse as follows:

“This is a tragedy, it’s a fantastic dramatic form. We want the audience to fall in love with these characters, particularly Norman. That tension of knowing what their fate is and how they get there, was something we thought was really telling.”

Indeed, all eyes will be on Freddie Highmore as young Norman Bates and Oscar-nominee Vera Farmiga as his mom Norma; not just in terms of their relationship – and how it culminates with a disturbing and destructive downward spiral – but also with regard to whether or not their experiences together truly shed that much light on Norma’s transformation into a tormented monster. Hence, deviating from canon and throwing in (hopefully) unexpected curveballs along the way seems like a wise decision (given that we all know what the final destination is).

vera freddie bates Bates Motel Premieres in March; Showrunners Tease Psycho Connection

Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga in ‘Bates Motel’

On that note: Cuse also mentioned that Bates Motel comes pre-packaged with a specific stopping point, but “[gave] no clue about how long it’ll take the show to get to it.” It’s a fair wager that conclusion won’t lie too far ahead in Norman’s life; unlike Bryan Fuller’s upcoming Hannibal prequel TV series, which takes place before and after the title character’s disturbed behavior has been revealed.

However, Cuse did promise the show won’t go off on any left-field tangents (a la Lost) or introduce supernatural elements (a la American Horror Story) that lead outside the realms of plausible reality, in order to keep things interesting.

As he put it:

“No polar bears, no Smoke Monsters, that’s for sure. I don’t think [American Horror Story] had an influence. It was its own thing.”

The Bates Motel supporting cast includes Jere Burns (Justified), Nestor Carbonell (Ringer), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood), Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender) and Max Thieriot (House at the End of the Street).

Look for the show when it premieres on A&E at 10 p.m. EST Monday, March 18th.


Source: Deadline, /Film

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  1. Showrunners “tease” Psycho connection? There will be a connection between Bates Motel and Pyscho? Really?!

    Haha. Just kidding. The headline just conveys as being obvious.

  2. Since it’s set in present day, there really is no way they can directly link it to Hitchcock’s masterful work save in name only. Hoping this will be worth watching, but I must admit I’m very surprised & disappointed it’s not a true prequel, and set in the correct time period. More scary somehow when set in a pre-high-tech gadgety world… Strange that they’re keeping the design of the house, but updating everything else. Very mixed feelings about it, but – hey! – could turn out to be a classic series in the making.

    Time will tell.

    Wonder who’ll be scoring it? Hope it’s not ‘teen grunge’ type crap to appeal to da kidz… Fingers crossed for keeping a Herrmann-esque atmospheric tinge to the music. Hope it’s not some Zimmeresque sound-effects ‘music’

    • The BBC did a masterful update of Sherlock Holmes, having the same basic characters in modern times. With essentially the same characters in Bates Motel, there is far more here that connects than disconnects, but even though the characters have the same names, and there will be the same basic plot (i.e., revolving around the growing psychopath Norman and his mother), I am not linking this to Hitchcock’s masterpiece in any way, shape, or form. In the end, this will just be one further work that borrows and/or copies from the original.

      • I had a masterful cheeseburger last night. Masterful!

        • I’m glad you learned a new word. Hope it hasn’t pushed another one out of your vocabulary.

          • Yes, unfortunately I think it masterful.

            • It’s cute, how much fun your having with that word. I imagine your parents are likely giggling by your inclusion of it in your most recent conversations with them, as well as by the way you probably mispronounce it.

              • Your right.

    • Is “Psycho” set in a specific time period? I mean other than the vehicles and style of clothing that were current at the time the film was made.

      • I get your point. The time period really had nothing to do with the story.

        • Wifi might have broadened young Norman’s ideas of women. Maybe Ms Crane could have texted for help. Free cable would have made the motel more busy. Online ratings could have warned people away from the murder-showers.
          Like it or not, Psycho is a thing of the past.

          • Ah, sure. We certainly don’t have any stories comparable to Psycho happening today. Isn’t it wonderful, how modern technology has cured all of society’s ills.

            • Maybe they’ll make a show where demented maniacs attack strawmen. That at least wouldn’t demand the audience be Amish to relate to what’s happening.

          • Yeah, I reckon he’s gonna have to pull out some sort of smoke monster to explain Norman’s demise, cause society is way more liberal now a days. The thing is I can’t actually see Vera be mean, but I suppose she will cause she’s an actress. Anyway if this plans out nicely, with straightforward arc, we’ll know who is to blame for lost!!!!

  3. Yeah, I reckon he’s gonna have to pull out some sort of smoke monster to explain Norman’s demise, cause society is way more liberal now a days. The thing is I can’t actually see Vera be mean, but I suppose she will cause she’s an actress. Anyway if this plans out nicely, with straightforward arc, we’ll know who is to blame for lost!!