Saturday, March 16, 2013

Anyone want to check in to the Bates Motel?

As far as horror staples go, ‘Psycho’ is one of the best.

The movie has managed to stand the test of time, and Norman Bates is one of the best psychos in movie history (bad pun intended).

As an aficionado of all things horror, I was naturally curious when the announcement was made that A&E would be taking on a horror project called ‘Bates Motel’ for their spring lineup.

A&E is home to a lot of quality television – and if they hit it right, it could be a tremendous show. If they hit it wrong, though, it could be a big old dud.

Still, I decided to hold back my judgement until I knew a little bit about the show.

When casting started to leak out, I started to let my anticipation take over. Obviously, the casting of Norman and his mother, Norma, would be key.

The first bit of casting I heard about was Freddie Highmore as Norman. Like anyone else, I know Highmore as a child actor. I think the last thing I saw him in was ‘Willly Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.’

As child actors go, Highmore was spectacular. He was also British.

Yes, I know, it’s not like British actors can’t pretend to be Americans – and wonderfully so (just ask Andrew Lincoln – I just thought the pick was curious.

After seeing the previews, though, I have to say that Highmore does a great job of showcasing Norman’s awkwardness and exile. I’ll keep my final judgement until I see the pilot, but Highmore seems to be a good pick if the previews are any indication.

The second bit of casting I was interested in was Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates. Farmiga is probably best known for ‘Up in the Air’ with George Clooney. I really started to notice her in the underrated ‘Orphan.’ Either way, Farmiga is a powerhouse of an actress – and Norma Bates looks to be a meaty role.

The supporting cast includes Mike Vogel, Max Thieriot and Nestor Carbonell, among others.

The show is a prequel to Hitchcock’s film, and the first season consists of 10 episodes.

I know horror isn’t a lot of people’s forte, but I happen to love the genre. When horror is done right, it can have a lasting impact. When it’s done wrong, it can be a travesty of epic proportions.

The networks have been trying to perfect the horror formula for years. Some have done it right (‘The Walking Dead’), some have done it wrong (‘666 Park Avenue’) and some keep trying even though they’re muddying the waters (‘American Horror Story’).

I have high hopes for ‘Bates Motel’ – and it’s not because the cast is stellar. I have faith in the network, and a belief that this show could actually enhance the original source material.

Let’s hope my hopes don’t end up shredded in the shower.

‘Bates Motel’ premieres at 10 p.m. Monday on A&E.


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