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Bates Motel

 (1,196)8.12013X-RayTV-14
From Executive Producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights and Parenthood), Bates Motel delves into the sadistic and twisted relationship between serial killer-to-be, Norman Bates, and his mother Norma. A prelude to the classic horror film Psycho, the series takes a contemporary glimpse into Norman's formative years and reveals how he became one of the most infamous murderers of all time.
Starring
Vera FarmigaFreddie HighmoreMike Vogel
Genres
SuspenseHorrorDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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  1. 1. First You Dream, Then You Die
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    March 18, 2013
    44min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    After the tragic death of her husband, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) buys a motel on the outskirts of an idyllic coastal town seeking a fresh start. Her handsome and shy teenage son Norman (Freddie Highmore) quickly catches the eyes of the local girls, much to his mother's horror. Norma and Norman soon discover the idyllic town isn't what it seems, and the locals will do anything to protect their secret.
  2. 2. Nice Town You Picked, Norma...
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    March 25, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Dylan wastes no time causing trouble at home and all the while, the Bates family is inexorably drawn into the dark underbelly of White Pine Bay.
  3. 3. What's Wrong With Norman
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    April 1, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Dylan starts his new job and learns that there is more to it than he thought. Meanwhile, Norman and Emma make a shocking discovery.
  4. 4. Trust Me...
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    April 8, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
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    English
    Norma's suspicions about people in town are raised, but other distractions continue to surface.
  5. 5. Ocean View
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    April 15, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Norman desperately seeks his mother's return home as Norma gets some much needed help. Norman and Emma find more clues that lead to a big discovery, while Norman continues to pursue Bradley.
  6. 6. The Truth
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    April 22, 2013
    42min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Dylan asks Norman to move in with him. Chaos ensues at the Bates home as Norma tells Emma that some things are better kept to themselves.
  7. 7. The Man in Number 9
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    April 29, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Norma's first guest at the Bates Motel is not what she expected. Norman discovers that even popular girls are complicated.
  8. 8. A Boy And His Dog
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    May 6, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Norma finds herself in conflict with a mysterious stranger. Rumors spread at school and Bradley is not enthused. Dylan and Remo go on a road trip that has a violent outcome. Norman takes up a grisly hobby.
  9. 9. Underwater
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    May 13, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Abernathy amps up the pressure, but Norma doesn't know what he wants. Dylan and Bradley connect. Norman has an active imagination, which Miss Watson encourages. Emma goes on a trip.
  10. 10. Midnight
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    May 20, 2013
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Romero decides that it is time to act and Norman takes Emma to the dance. Miss Watson gives Norman a ride home.

Bonus (1)

  1. Bonus: First Look
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    March 4, 2013
    7min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Check in to Bates Motel with this special excerpt from the series' pilot episode.

More details

Supporting actors
Nestor CarbonellOlivia CookeNicola PeltzMax Thieriot
Season year
2013
Network
A&E
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

1196 global ratings

  1. 87% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 6% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on September 23, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Holy Psycho, Batman!
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I'm kind of curious about some of the one star reviews here that rate it low based on the "violence and murder." What did these reviewers expect from show based on "Psycho?" A sweet tale about a boy and his mom? I mwan come on! These people should have known what they were getting themselves into right from the beginning. It's based on the most classic of classic horror films!

Anyway.

I'll admit, I was wary of this one when I saw the very first promo for it online. You don't mess with classics, and by all accounts, Hitchcock's "Psycho" is about as classic as it gets. Even more concerning was the apparent modernization of the tale. But the more I saw, the more intrigued I became. There was something about that creepy little smile of Freddie Highmore's that made me deeply curious.

I have to say, the first episode hooked me. Highmore plays young Norman Bates and his quirks with a creepy subtlety that pays homage Anthony Perkins performance in the original. He's humble, naïve, polite and mild mannered yet you can see that budding psychotic fighting to come through pretty early on. It's in no way overdone, and Norman is completely unaware of this other self. Yet you can sympathize with the kid. He's socially awkward and sometimes blunt and inappropriate, but even then, you can't hate him. Maybe it's knowing what he becomes that makes it sympathetic, knowing that this smart (mostly) nice kid has such a fate in store for him. Maybe it's just Highmore's portrayal of him, or a little of both. Either way, his journey into psychosis is a nuanced slow burn rather than an outright explosion. You can see it building slowly alongside the building tension from episode to episode, a little at a time.

Special mention goes to Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates, who is just phenomenal in this role. At times, her reactions are those of a normal but overwhelmed single mom. Other times, she goes completely off the deep end. Sometimes, she's strong and in control, sometimes she cracks and becomes completely helpless. One minute, she's nurturing, loving and every bit the `good' mother. The next, she's selfish, childish and manipulative. The thing is you're never sure which Norma it will be. You also can't be sure if she's telling the truth. Sometimes she delivers lies with convincing ease and other times is the worst liar in the world, telegraphing her guilt like a neon sign.

On the surface her relationship with Norman seems based on a genuinely close bond between mother and son, but it quickly becomes apparent that it's an unhealthy and sometimes uncomfortable one. Norma wants Norman to be her friend so badly, she smothers him and becomes jealous of time spent with anyone other than her. Any time Norman makes a bid for freedom, she lays the guilt on like an over dramatic 13 year old girl with a case of the "don't mind me, I'll just lay here and die," blues. Norma seems incapable of making the right decision and winds up digging a hole so deep she would be better off burying herself in it. Of course, she can't take ownership for any of these decisions and lays the blame anywhere she can, including on Norman.

On some level, Norma knows that there's something wrong with Norman. She knows that sometimes he's not himself, but she will do ANYTHING to protect him. And I mean anything. I won't give too much away here, but this is a woman who is quick to judge others but is often guilty of the things she accuses them of. But she's not entirely unsympathetic. It's pretty clear she's unbalanced, had a troubled childhood, has recently lost her husband (who may have been abusive) and is trying hard to start over. Not to mention, the events of the first episode are, in short, horrific. But, just when you start to feel bad for her, she does something creepy, inappropriate or just plain stupid and you hate her again.

Then, there's the addition of an older brother named Dylan. He seems to be the only person in the family who isn't suffering from mental illness. True, it doesn't seems like he can keep a job and he has a chip on his shoulder, but in all respects, there's nothing really worrisome about him. That is, other than his new job and a bad choice midseason that he shows no remorse for and apparently there are no consequences for. He's definitely not innocent. Still, he's only one who seems to acknowledge (at least to himself) there's something wrong with Norman. He's openly critical of the unnatural closeness between mom and brother, and at first it seems like jealousy. But then it becomes apparent that it's out of genuine concern for his little brother.

Personally, Dylan's a bit bland for me. It's not that the acting, writing or story line is bland, it's just that it almost seems like he was created to move some sub plots along and to enrich the family dynamic. The jury's still out because he has potential if they can figure out where they're going with him. There are shades of corruption in him, but also shades of morality.

The true moral compass in this story comes in the form of Emma, a girl with cystic fibrosis and Norman's only friend. Emma may be the only innocent one in this series, as it seems the rest of the town is just as shady, twisted and crazy as the Bates family. She genuinely likes him and sometimes overlooks his bluntness and occasional outburst because her innocence prevents it, and perhaps because she has feelings for him. She's honest and kind and outspoken about injustice. Unfortunately, her actions may directly impact Norman and his slow descent into psychosis.

Emma's the only character I truly fear for in this entire series. As corrupt as everyone else is, if they get their due, it's probably fitting. Those that have perished so far `had it coming.' And we know the fate of Norma and Norman Bates, don't we? I hope that Emma's innocence will be what saves her, but I fear that maybe it won't. We shall see, no?

(Spoilers Ahead!)
There are some fun references in this that relate back to "Psycho," and one or two other Hitchcock "easter eggs," such as a reference to "The Birds." We also learn where Norman learned about Taxidermy. Then, there's the scene where Norman speaks using his mother's voice. Holy Bejebus. I got chills. He replicates word for word something his mother said earlier in the evening about a girl he likes. The delivery and tone were spot on and absolutely chilling.

Some people have criticized the sex slave story line, but I kind of get it. In the beginning of this story line, the images in the book Norman finds clearly have a huge impact on him. There's an emphasis on the drawings of the shower to tip you off. Not to mention, this story line drives a lot of the events that happen in the series. I can't wait for season 2 to find out how much crazy is still in store for us. And I really hope that "Bates Motel" doesn't go the way of so many really great shows that had great first seasons and fell apart in the second (Heroes comes to mind).

Fans of the original movie may hate this for various reasons, but speaking as a fan of "Psycho" (since childhood, as a matter of fact - I bad parents who let me watch whatever I wanted) I love it. Sure, it's not 100% canon compliant, but I expected that. So long as you don't go into it with a purist attitude, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
77 people found this helpful
Anthony McGillReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
EXCELLENT NEW TAKE ON CLASSIC FILM
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Being an avid Hitchcock devotee and considering his 1960 "Psycho" as an all-time classic, I approached this modern day prequel with considerable trepidation. The thought came to me, that here comes another hatchet job with little respect for a film masterpiece. How wrong I was! Delighted to pass on that "Bates Motel" is a fascinating, beautifully made drama series and a remarkably original and ingenious take on the original material.
A fine example of what talented artists can achieve with an old plot. Everything works brilliantly and I found little I could take issue with and is a credit to all involved. Excellent writing and direction, atmospheric music score, great set design and a fabulous cast creating a unique storyline with superbly developed characters and edge of your seat suspense.
The cast if faultless with Freddie Highmore outstanding, developing his own very distinctive Norman Bates with just a dash of Anthony Perkins from the original. Vera Farmiga has not only brought Nora Bates to life but created one of the quirkiest characters seen for many a year. And the invention of another son is pure magic with Max Thieriot brilliant as Dylan as is the entire supporting cast.
I think even Hitch would be impressed by this new interpretation of weird happenings at the famous "Psycho" house and motel.
4 people found this helpful
Blue LeafReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Do You Ever Wonder What Norman Bates Was Like as a Teenager?
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I just finished watching the first six episodes. I was pleasantly surprised in finding a well thought out, unique, and wonderfully acted series. The name BATES MOTEL sounds like a desperate spin-off of PSYCHO but it reminded me more of David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS using PSYCHO as a starting off point for the two main characters.

The series begins when Norman Bate's father has a sudden accidental death and his mother, Norma, decides she and Norman need a brand new start in a brand new town. She decides that taking advantage of her late husband's insurance policy and buying a home and motel that are up for forclosure is the perfect beginning to their new life together. Little does she realize the sleepy town they are moving to is as dysfunctional and has as many secrets and lies as she and her son have.

I don't think they could have found a better teenage Norman Bates than Freddie Highmore. He is incredibly believable with his uncomfortably shy persona, abnormally polite speech and awkward gestering. Vera Farminga does an equally impressive job as his mother, Norma Bates. I just watched her in a film that she directed as well as starred in called HIGHER GROUND and am a fan of her performances in UP IN THE AIR and an earlier 2004 feature DOWN TO THE BONE. She is proving with every role just what great a range of acting she is capable of.

Farminga's role as the mother is very complex and always changing. How far WILL she go to get what she wants? Is she a sociopath or just an overprotective mother? Whatever her mood is in that moment Farminga is right there. She can change personalities three or four times in a single scene. Brilliant! One other character that really stands out is that of the town sheriff, played by Nestor Carbonell. He looks like a tough Anthony Perkins and his presence provides us with a weekly reminder of just how creepy and mysterious the town is. He also has a constant eye on Norma and is quick to figure out The Bates are a family that he needs to watch out for. He will not be manipulated by Norma's feminine wiles as other men, in her past, have.

I would say the only problem I have with the series is that it has alot of mini-dramas going on at the same time, some of which I find unnecessary. I am not quite sure, as of yet, whether the older brother adds anything to the show. His character does not seem as well constructed and believable as the other two members of the Bates family. With his charming good looks and his attempt to fit into the darker elements of the town, will take a few more episodes before the verdict is out on his character and relevance in the show. Right now his normalacy makes me feel as if he does not belong to his family or the town especially compared to the rest of the cast.

All-in-all this program from the A&E channel is a great find. BATES MOTEL as well as RECTIFY on the Sundance Channel are two of the best new programs on television this season. I can't wait for season 2 of both of these quality and well-written programs.
4 people found this helpful
PandaApprovedReviewed in the United States on November 29, 2013
4.0 out of 5 stars
Holy crap. This is ALMOST great.
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What a really good first season. I decided to check things out due to the ratings and word of mouth and, for the most part, it lives up to expectations. It's really in a different universe altogether than the original movie (and book), except for the fact that the character's names that matter are the same and the hotel is just as worn down and creepy as it was in all the previous filmic tellings of Norman Bates's strange (to say the least) life.

I absolutely love Vera Farmiga's performance as Norma. It's kind of genius and helps make everything fall into place. She's creepy and smothering and sympathetic all at the same time. I can see why she got the Emmy nod, and in my mind she totally earned it. The best/creepiest moments on the show are when she and Norman are interacting, and you see just how close (too close?) they are.

And now it's time for the negatives. Why this show is so close to being great and yet in my mind I can't give it that honor. Yet. The show's Achilles heel is its portrayal of Norman Bates. Norman Bates, the original character, wasn't really all that creepy when he was talking to people. He just seemed very shy and nervous and came off, at first, as sort of a victim of circumstance. He was only creepy in certain situations that if you've seen the original movie you know exactly what I'm talking about. However, here, he seems creepy all the time, which betrays the essence of the character in a way. And I think that's mostly due to Freddie Highmore's performance.
He's fine, but he can't nail the emotional complexity of the character. He goes from being creepy to extra creepy, never really showing a real shift in psyche, and when he claims he has blackouts I just don't buy it at all. Hopefully this improves or is at least addressed later on in the series in some way.

But, for what it is now the show is really something. 8.5/10 (9 is great to me btw)
4 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on July 3, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
David/Hitchcock!
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Before we start , let me just say there were two shows this year that I cringed upon hearing about. Hannibal and the second was Bates Motel. And Hannibal had at least worked as a series of movies all previous other versions of Psycho have sucked minus the first one. Thank god that I ended up eating my words after watching both these shows. With Bates Motel they have managed to actually make the Motel a character ,hell they managed to make the whole town a character and that's were this show truly shines. The creators of this show understood in order to make this work THIS HAD TO EXIST OUTSIDE of the original movie. This is not the Batman Begins of Psycho, this is a re-imagining of the Psycho myths. Bates Motel pays Homage to David Lynch's cult show Twin Peaks and sits somewhere on the edge of the Twilight Zone. No one character has redeeming traits and that sits just fine with me. We are all a little twisted on the inside.
2 people found this helpful
GwenReviewed in the United States on September 21, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Can't wait for more!
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I had never even heard of this series until I saw it on the an Emmy nominated shows on sale ad from Amazon.

I expected much more of the horror story I came to know in my younger years. I believe most of my recollections of Psycho are based on a sequel from the 1980's (Psycho 2?).

This wasn't what I expected as this wasn't what I would consider to be 'horror'. However, the show was fascinating and I only wish there were more episodes now. The series deals with the events leading up to the Bates Motel movies we know and the story gets more interesting as it progresses.

Both my husband and I watched all of this show within a few days and we both loved it. How did I ever miss this?
One person found this helpful
TheWritingRoomReviewed in the United States on April 16, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
I'm Checking Into Bates Motel
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There are very few series that I consistently follow but Bates Motel has me hooked, and I have only seen the first season thus far. I can only imagine how wild the ride is going to be on the second and third! The acting is superb and I can't think of better actors to play the role of Norma and Norman. What a creepy yet lovable team they make! And I adore the hush-hush relationship that Norman has with Miss Watson; I honestly wish it would have gone further than what it did but we know who took away that opportunity! Miss Watson, to me, was a curious character in her own right and I would love to have found out the mystery behind her presence in the film. Nonetheless, Bates Motel is just opening for business, and I plan to make a home out of this series!
One person found this helpful
robert e. burrowReviewed in the United States on May 10, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
Really Surprised!!
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My curiosity is what made me get this. I was worried that they couldn't bring this together conceptually. This show is set in the now, but the original movie was set in the 50's? But once you start watching the character's and plot are so interesting that I didn't find myself caring so much. The first few minutes gets your attention and you just want to know more and more. The tone of the show is a bit spooky. The mom is a real piece of work, and Norman is a likeable, sweet boy. You can totally put together why he ends up the guy from Psycho. There is a lot going on in this show to get and keep you hooked. Not to spoil anything but the first few episodes has a possible murder and cover-up, a rape, a definite murder and cover-up, a sex trade hostage, a bulldog sheriff, a dangerous deputy, and an illegal drug operation that the whole town might be a part of. Yep, it's a roller-coaster. If you like shows like Smallville and Supernatural (I do) then I think you will like this.
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