It is all the rage lately to make TV shows from popular movies. From Dusk Til Dawn. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Hannibal. Fargo. About a Boy. The list goes on. But for my money one of the best interpretations on the small screen has been Anthony Cipriano’s Bates Motel. Since it debuted last year I have been taken by the modern retelling of Hitchcock’s Psycho with Vera Farmiga as the domineering Norma Bates, mother to Freddie Highmore’s teenage Norman Bates. The show takes all kinds of liberties in telling the mother/son story and updating it for a new era but the reason it is great is because they do that updating so well. Even though the modern tale must inevitably culminate in the events in the 1960 film, we are left to wonder exactly how. But the main reason the show really works is thanks to the dynamic duo of Farmiga and Highmore. Highmore fully inhabits Anthony Perkins iconic character with frustration, confusion, angst and emotional problems brilliantly. And Farmiga is insanely over the top and off the hinges as Norma. You can simply not believe the things she does and her uncomfortably close relationship with Norman. In addition to all of this we get a stellar supporting cast including the excellent Nestor Carbonell as the town sheriff, Max Thieriot as Norman’s brother Dylan from another father, and the adorable Olivia Cooke as Emma, the classmate of Norman’s with a heart of gold.
Season Two picks up after the events of Season One with Norman’s incident with Miss Watson and Bradley’s search for her father’s killer. Norman continues to have feelings for Bradley despite Emma still being enamoured with Norman. And Norma continues to try and solidify her relationship with Norman by signing them to do things together. And the Bates family also has to deal with a new visitor to town; Norma’s brother Caleb (Kenny Johnson).
Bates Motel: Season Two is just as addictive and well written as Season One but with even more turmoil and insanity. And the events that build up to the finale are just awesome with a major stepping stone in Norman’s personality shift taking place as well. This is a very fun, well done and entertaining show that is not just for fans of the original movies.
The Blu-ray from Universal Home Entertainment is excellent and easily matches the quality being put out by the competing cable channels. Nice sharp picture, great color, and a solid audio presentation all make for another great season of one of the best shows on TV right now. Highly recommended.
Available October 7, 2014 on Blu-ray and DVD.