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Review: Bates Motel

02/26/2014

Netflix is constantly adding to its expansive library, and one recent must-see addition is season one of A&E's “Bates Motel,” which is a series inspired by the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film “Psycho.”

“Bates Motel” is also available on AETV.com to get fans and newcomers up to speed before season two premieres on March 3.

“Bates Motel” concentrates on Norma and Norman Bates, who have relocated to White Pine Bay, Oregon after the death of Norman's father.

Acting as a prequel to “Psycho,” with a modern spin and a few tweaks (“Psycho” takes place in Fairvale, California, for example), the series sheds light on the Bates' lives before the movie.

The series can be watched as a stand-alone piece and viewers do not have to watch “Psycho” before starting “Bates Motel.”

Freddie Highmore, all grown up since his “August Rush” days, portrays a very complex, creepy, and likeable Norman Bates.

Norman fights an uphill battle with commonplace high school drama, his polar opposite older brother, hormonal teenage love interests, and a love-hate relationship with his overbearing mother, Norma Bates.

Norma Bates has her own share of issues as well, which is what makes the show so enthralling.

If the viewer can get past the insanely graphic nature of the pilot episode, which (spoiler alert) includes an unsettling sexual assault/murder scene that fuels the first season, then the rest of the series should be slightly easier to digest.

Just as interesting as the main characters, the setting for “Bates Motel,” White Pine Bay, Oregon, offers an array of odd townsfolk and scandal.

Norma Bates purchases her new home and the motel out of foreclosure, which sets the show's drama in motion.

Even the law enforcement in town is a little off, which immediately confuses the viewer when it comes to which characters to trust or mistrust (in a good way).

Norma and Norman's problems, which are often intertwined, make the show work. With twists, turns, and suspense, “Bates Motel” is a perfect match for a viewer who needs a break from mainstream prime-time television.

Gritty, thought-provoking, and at times, emotional, this series leaves the viewer reeling after every episode of season one.

One warning to the viewer about “Bates Motel:” Don't get too attached to any single character. Every person, building, or organization in White Pine Bay, Oregon, has something ugly to hide.

“Bates Motel,” season two, premieres on A&E on Monday, March 3 at 8 p.m. Until then, viewers may catch up on or discover season one with Netflix or AETV.com.

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