BATES MOTEL Trailer Threatens To Unleash A Teenage Serial Killer

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

Something about this trailer makes me feel queasy.

It's not that the images are shocking, or the idea that U.S. basic cable channel A&E is making the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror classic the basis of a weekly television show. (We've known about it since last summer.)

Part of it is the decision to set the series in what looks like the present day. That makes sense from a business perspective -- setting it in the late 1940s or 1950s would incur substantially greater costs -- and a demographic standpoint; clearly the series wants to entice modern teen viewers who are accustomed to watching teen vampires, teen vampire hunters, teen criminals, and so forth.

The decision, however, means that we're dealing with a 17-year-old Norman Bates, and perhaps I'm simply too overly sensitive in a post-Newtown environment to want to spend much time in a world where a teenager serial killer is being hatched. But that's just me. Obviously, the show was developed before the massacre that took the lives of 26 people, and I don't want to attach too much importance from real-life events to a well-established fictional character and a possibly valid attempt to reinterpret him in a different time period. Vera Farmiga is a tremendously talented actress, and casting her as Norman's mother is (potentially) a stroke of genius. This brief trailer, though, makes it look very much like a "teen in trouble" show. I hope that's not the case.

Freddie Highmore plays the young Norman and Max Thieriot will play Norman's half-brother, an "edgy outsider." The cast includes Nicola Peltz and Olivia Cooke as teen girls who enter Norman's orbit, Nestor Carbonell as the town's Sheriff, Mike Vogel as a deputy sheriff who develops an attraction for Norman's mother (?!), and Keegan Connor Tracy as a high school teacher.

The series debuts on Monday, March 18. You can watch the trailer below to get a sense of whether the show is close to hitting its original description as "a cross between Twin Peaks and Smallville."

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  • mightyjoeyoung

    "The decision, however, means that we're dealing with a 17-year-old Norman Bates, and perhaps I'm simply too overly sensitive in a post-Newtown environment to want to spend much time in a world where a teenager serial killer is being hatched. But that's just me. "

    Timing is everything......but who knows, might be a hit show anyway.

    The premise sounds interesting, I always liked The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995).

    Of course this seems more serious, focusing on drama, coming of age etc but it looks nice and as you said Vera Farmiga is very talented, just look at Down to the Bone(2004).

    Freddie Highmore looks right to play the young Norman Bates.......damn, if Hitchcock could only see this.....first biopics like Hitchcock(2012), The Girl (TV 2012) and then this, he will always be relevant.
    Thanks, Mr Martin

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