Bates Motel returns soon for a second season much to the delight of fans. The first season of Bates Motel introduced fans to the early years of infamous killer Norman Bates. The original Psycho film, created by Alfred Hitchcock, created a new genre of horror movie that was suspenseful but not overly gory. Hitchcock was a master at using suspense and the power of imagination to terrify an audience. He created a character that has fascinated people for decades when he created Norman Bates. However in the film not very much is revealed about Norman’s past or what turned him into a ruthless killer. Bates Motel is the prequel to Psycho and tells audiences more about Norman’s past and the events that led Norman to become a killer.
Even though Bates Motel is a prequel to a film that came out decades ago it is set in the modern day and it is set in Oregon instead of California. The show borrows heavily from cult classic TV Show Twin Peaks. The same sense of surreality that enveloped Twin Peaks seems to exist in White Pine Bay, the town where the show is set. The show is shot in the same style as Twin Peaks as well, so that it always looks dark and moody. Keeping the audience slightly off balance through the use of graphics, colors and sets is a great way to get them fully invested in the story. The uniqueness of the show captured audiences who immediately embraced the show.
It’s a great time for dark themed TV shows right now. The number one show on television is zombie drama The Walking Dead and other horror and crime shows are consistently in the Top 10 in the ratings. After several Psycho movies the story of Norman Bates as an adult had been neatly wrapped up and the film noir style of the films that didn’t feature a lot of violence fell out of style. But now that style is undergoing a resurgence on TV and audiences can’t get seem to get enough of it. Bates Motel was a surprise hit when season 1 aired with ratings that started strong and continued to grow throughout the season.
In Season 1 Norma Bates, who has been recently widowed, moves to White Pine Bay with her teenage son Norman. In Bates Motel Norma is not shows as the outwardly cruel and abusive mother that is portrayed in the Psycho film. She is shown as mentally unbalanced, and unwilling to let Norman have a normal life with friends and a girlfriend. She tells Norman repeatedly that all women other than her are whores and manipulative evil beings who will try to hurt him in an effort to keep him close to her.
When Norma and Norman first move to White Pine Bay a man from the town breaks into the house and rapes Norma. Norman witnesses the attack and knocks the man out, and Norma kills him. From the start Norman tries to walk a tightrope balancing his appearance as a normal teenager trying to make friends and build a life in a town with the reality of the strange living situation he is in. He has blackouts where he cannot remember what he does or says, but they don’t seem to concern him. At the end of Season 1 his teacher is murdered, and it’s implied that Norman killed her during a blackout.
Season 2 of Bates Motel promises even more intrigue, death, and insight into the disturbed psyche of Norman that created a killer. Bates Motel is one of the most anticipated shows of the upcoming TV season. Fans quickly embraced the Bates family in Season 1 and are excited to see more of Norman’s early life. People are always fascinated by serial killers and want to know what turned a seemingly ordinary person into a person capable of killing multiple people.
When Hitchcock created the character of Norman Bates the specter of a disturbed killer lurking in the shadows he knew that by playing on the innate fear of the unknown that everyone suffers from he would be able to get into the psyche of even the most hardened movie goes and scare them. But Norman Bates is a sympathetic character, even if he is a killer. Audiences have always wanted to know more about Norman and what drives him to kill. Bates Motel gives audiences that background information they have always wanted on Norman and it tells the story of Norma as well.
Norma is a very complicated and tragic figure. In Psycho audiences see that Norman kills her, and his guilt over killing her pushed him over the edge and makes him dress up in her clothes and speak to himself in her voice. But audiences don’t see what drove Norman to kill her and what drove Norma to be the way she was. In Bates Motel Norma reveals to Norman that her brother raped her when she was a child and hints at other abuse which may be responsible for making her unbalanced as an adult. In Bates Motel audiences can see that Norma also has a propensity to kill, which also influences Norman.
Bates Motel has the potential to do what Twin Peaks couldn’t do and last more than a few seasons. Twin Peaks topped out at just 30 episodes, because audiences then weren’t ready for such a dark and unique show. Audiences now are much more receptive to shows like Twin Peaks and Bates Motel. Judging by the ratings that Bates Motel got in Season 1 the show will be a bona fide hit as it goes on. Season 2 previews are exciting and promise fans a lot more plot twists and insights into Norman’s pathology.
With just a few weeks to go until Season 2 premiers the network is releasing new trailers and teasers that show fans the show will be taking the story of Norma and Norman to even darker places that will shine more light on what created the infamous Psycho killer.