From The Showrunner Of LOST!! What Make Critics Of Carlton Cuse's New PSYCHO Prequel And A&E Hourlong BATES MOTEL??
The first series from “Lost” showrunner Carlton Cuse since Hurley was put in charge of the island, “Bates Motel” is a prequel to 1960’s “Psycho” but set in the present, with young Norman Bates listening to his iPhone with earbuds, and the locals involved with marijuana farming.
Freddie Highmore (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) plays Norman and Vera Farmiga (“Up In The Air”) plays Norman’s mom Norma. “Lost” player and Anthony Perkins lookalike Nestor Carbonell portrays the local sheriff.
... this strange hybrid is weighted down by the fact that we know how this story ends. … The additions to the "Psycho" universe are understandable, in theory: Horror depends on the element of surprise, and new characters (unlike characters whose arcs are already mapped out) may be able to take part in unforeseen developments. None of the new characters are all that interesting on their own, however, and their pallor continually throws the focus back on the core Bates duo … All in all, the stories about the town feel somewhat contrived, and the lead characters' arcs feel predictable, despite the texture the actors are occasionally able to give the material. … what I've seen of the show makes me think that it's ultimately an example of Boba Fett Syndrome: When it comes to what we know about certain characters, sometimes less is more.
... The lead performances, and the way that relationship is written, are all excellent enough to stick around a little while longer in the hopes that “Bates Motel” as a whole becomes something more interesting. But a lot of that may also depend on what exactly Cuse and Ehrin want Norman Bates to turn into, and how quickly. But based on early episodes, the old movie version of Norman — who only had to inhabit a 109-minute feature (and not even all of it) — clearly had a better circumstance. …
... at its best it’s intriguing and enjoyably grim. But even more than Norman, the series itself has a split personality, a Hitchcock classic grafted onto a much more mundane brand of suspense. Each new twist moves it further from “Psycho” and closer to Nancy Drew.
... 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. …
... kind of a mess, but that's one of the reasons it's fun to watch. …
... I don’t give up easily, and I’m glad I kept going with “Bates Motel,” which turns out to be a worthy reimagining of the Norman Bates story. … I’m going to check in and take a shower. I have a feeling I’ll regret it in a couple more episodes, but I need the rest, and there’s something oddly comforting about all these creeps.
... Up to this point "Bates Motel" is an OK character drama, but in building the broader world it inhabits the show begins to come into sharper focus. Creating a more fully realized fictional world offers promise that "Bates Motel" will grow into a deeper, more mysterious TV drama.…
... you won’t find the suspense or the thrills of such horror hits as AMC’s “The Walking Dead” or FX’s “American Horror Story,” much less any of the freak-out scares of the classic …
... sufficiently creepy … I should stress that “Bates Motel” isn’t for everyone, and not only because of the violence. The show offers little in the way of triumph, as least so far. If there are sweet moments, they are tinged with eeriness. And we know where this whole thing is ultimately headed, don’t we, and redemption is definitely not in the picture. …
... mostly serves to prove that the original already used up all the good parts of the story. What's left, sadly, plays like a remnants sale. …
... Expect a slow(ish) rollout for Bates Motel, as the first couple of episodes establish character and location, before things take an uptick during episode three. But there’s more than enough intrigue and entertainment -- on top of Farmiga’s outstanding turn -- to keep viewers wanting more of this new-style nonhomage to Psycho.
… looks fraught with peril, and destined to quickly strain credibility. ... Audiences have demonstrated a taste for even flawed horror, but after almost-certain sampling, keeping “Bates Motel” open should be its own nightmare.… To their credit, the producers do keep things interesting, for the most part without resorting to the cheap tricks that have characterized the vastly overrated “American Horror Story.” Nevertheless, the premise becomes its own creative prison, fostering a hurry-up-and-wait attitude …
10 p.m. Monday. A&E.
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