Only four episodes in and Bates Motel is proving to be one of the hits of the season for A&E. The premiere of Bates Motel garnered 4.5 million total viewers and 2.5 million adults 25-54 and 18-49, based on Live+7 viewership, making it the most-watched original drama debut in the key demos in the network’s history.
But more than just a sum of its numbers, the show has reimagined one of the most popular stories in modern horror culture. The story follows Norma Bates and her son, Norman. Following the tragic death of her husband, Norma buys a motel on the outskirts of a coastal town – White Pine Bay – seeking a fresh start. But they discover that the town isn’t quite what it seems and the locals are insular, protective and suspicious of the new arrivals. Norma, however, is done with being pushed around and quickly learns that she will do whatever it takes to survive – and to protect her own somewhat lurid past.
Bates Motel is a brand new kind of “family show”, focusing on the relationship between mother and son and the origins of the character that came to fruition in the classic Hitchcock movie. The show’s success lies in careful scripting, thorough character development and the outstanding performances of the leads: Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore. Even in its first few weeks, the show has gained critical acclaim and a dedicated, loyal audience. Additional cast members, Nestor Carbonell (LOST, The Dark Knight Rises), Max Theirrot (Disconnect), Mike Vogel (Miami Medical, PanAm) and Keegan Connor Tracy (Battlestar Galactica, Once Upon A Time) round out a solid, talented ensemble and contribute towards an intriguing prequel that has garnered such a positive reception so early on.
With a blend of dark, murderous secrets and the desire to have a normal, family life, the show presents its audience with a fascinating, contradictory look at the bond between mother and son, peer pressure and the beginnings of horrors yet to unfold.
Season two of Bates Motel will begin pre-production on ten new episodes later this year, with the premiere slated to appear onscreen in 2014.