Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho introduced the world to a killer named Norman Bates. This is the story of how he was molded in to a murderer. Norman came home one day to find his father dead and Norman’s mother, Norma, sells the house to start over. They move to the coastal town of White Pine Bay to start a new and run their Bates Motel but they find out can’t ever completely run away from your past.
The A&E show Bates Motel was created by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano. It’s well done and casting Freddy Highmore as Norman and Vera Farmiga as Norma are spot on. Highmore has that same awkwardness as well as looking like a young Anthony Perkins. Farmiga shows that she has the range to be sweet and at the flip of a switch see her crazy side. There are also a lot of uncomfortable moments between Norma and Norman that just aren’t right. There’s murder, secrets, drugs, etc. Again, these elements combined help to understand why he became a psychopath and obsessed with his mother. It’s a good show but there are a few things that I don’t understand why they changed. For example, the town they move to is in Oregon but in the original film, the motel is in located in California. I’m sure it had to do with the location for filming not looking like California so the change does makes sense. Also, it’s set in the present as opposed to it being set back in the 60’s like the movie which is a very minor thing. They don’t take away from the cleverness of the show but they also are things that didn’t necessarily need changing.
Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates
Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates
Max Thieriot as Dylan Massett, Norman’s half-brother
Olivia Cooke as Emma Decody
Nicola Peltz as Bradley Martin
The 1080p AVC transfer of the show has excellent clarity and the details are very sharp. The video in general is very dark so even when there are darker scenes, the details don’t get lost in the contrast. However, there’s some minor crushing in the low lit scenes. Also, I know it’s intentional but the coloring of the show is drab and very dull. I’m sure it’s for setting the tone but the environments are lifeless without colors. Aside from that, the transfer does live up to Universal’s standard when they author Blu-rays.
The audio mix is a really good DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. This is Universal’s standard mix for Blu-rays except for it being a very front speaker show. The rear speakers and the subwoofer are rarely used because there aren’t many situations that would call for their use such as during the score. It’s a dialogue heavy show and the clarity in the sound is excellent. Overall, there aren’t any real issues with the mix aside from it being on the lighter side.
The extras on the release are a little light. The best one on the disc is the Panel discussion with the cast and crew.
Paley Center panel discussion with the cast and creative team- this is a panel to talk about the show. The speakers including:
-actor Freddie Highmore
-actor Vera Farmiga
-actor Nestor Carbonbell
-actor Nicola Peltz
-actor Max Thieriot
-Executive Producer Carlton Cuse
-Executive Producer and Co-creator Kerry Ehrin
Deleted Scenes- these are some scenes that were cut from various episodes
Includes all 23 complete episodes
2 disc Blu-ray
UltraViolet Digital copy
1080p MPEG-4 AVC
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
This is a really good show for the fans of horror and drama shows. The creators admitted to borrowing their ideas from The X-Files and Twin Peaks which the show is focused towards. It does the movies justice to find out some of the back story as to what made Norman Bates lose his mind. The acting and actors are excellent as well as the overall feel. Again, I don’t agree with some of the changes but I understand that you might not get as big of an audience when trying to make a time period series. The release is solid with great picture and sound. I recommend picking it up if you’re interested or a fan of the show.