Whenever the term reboot, re-imagining or prequel is used in conjunction with an established and – in the case of A&E's Bates Motel – incredibly well-regarded piece of cinema like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, a certain amount of skepticism and immediate critical blowback is to be expected.
However, when one of the key individuals behind such a re-imagining is Carlton Cuse, the former co-executive producer of Lost, that only seems to add more fuel to the fire for those eager to engage in a little prejudgment. But after two extremely short Bates Motel teasers were released earlier this month, some of that prejudgment and skepticism gave way to cautious optimism – or, at the very least, simple curiosity.
Well, now, courtesy of Deadline, the first trailer for the A&E 10-part series has been unleashed upon the Internet, so that fans and detractors alike can get a better sense of just what the series has in store for us come March 2013. As you've no doubt noticed, the trailer – which will be seen in theaters starting today – acts as something between an actual full-length trailer and a behind-the-scenes featurette, granting the audience a brief introduction to the cast and recognizable names working on the show.
Joining the young Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga) is Cloverfield co-star and one-time Captain America hopeful, Mike Vogel, as Deputy Zack Shelby. Playing his boss, Sheriff Alex Romero, will be Nestor Carbonell, who certainly knows a thing or two about working with Carlton Cuse, after portraying island-helper Richard Alpert on Lost for 36 episodes. Rounding out the cast are Olivia Cooke, Max Theirot (House at the End of the Street), Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender) and Jere Burns (Justified, Burn Notice) – although Jere didn't quite make it into the featurette.
As suggested by the new trailer and the creepy teasers released earlier, Bates Motel seems to have a good grasp on the series' darker tone, which aims to depict the events that would twist the teenaged Norman Bates into a demented serial killer. Naturally, as we are all aware, that story is intimately tied to Norman's relationship with his mother, which is certainly a large part of what this trailer depicts.
But there's more than just the Bates' family dysfunction and their titular motel at the heart of this story. According to Cuse, "This town looks really beautiful on the outside, but underneath it is something very dark and malevolent." Whether that means certain forces in addition to Norman's mother play a role in his developing all those antisocial personality quirks, or that the drama simply isn't relegated to the tale of a single mother running a motel with her soon-to-be psychotic son is not entirely clear, so we'll just have to wait until next year to find out. At any rate, it's a relief to see this won't be a TV-MA version of Fawlty Towers.
For the most part, the series looks like it is very well made, and seems like an interesting and welcome departure from the usual A&E fare of procedural dramas like The Glades, Longmire or the now-canceled Breakout Kings. Additionally, the series premiere is titled 'First You Dream, Then You Die,' which certainly suggests that things get off to a suitably twisted start.
Now, whether or not any negative presumptions about Bates Motel will be put to rest after seeing the first trailer remain to be seen, but a glimpse like this should certainly spark some positive interest.
Bates Motel premieres in March on A&E.