Psycho, in all its various iterations

I recently watched the A&E series Bates Motel, and was impressed by the acting of Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates) as well as Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates). The show did a good job of telling their story, which was intriguing and engaging. However, as with many of these TV dramas, they had to add in 78 other plot-lines and constant nonsense which unfortunately often distracted from the main point of the show: Norman’s neurosis and weird relationship with his mother.

But when the show was about Norman and Norma, it was high quality TV. So good, in fact, that I decided to read the novel by Robert Bloch… and then watch the Alfred Hitchcock movie.

The novel and the movie are very similar in spirit, and in the plot. They are very short, thrilling and too the point. The novel is less than 200 pages long, and not one of them is wasted. Hitchcock was so struck by the novel that after reading it he went and bought out all the bookstores in the area so that no one would know the plot when his movie came out–which he was determined to film the moment he read the book.

The TV show, though, suffers from the fact that most TV series aren’t made to tell a story, but are instead made to keep you watching for as long as possible. If all the other crap in the FIVE seasons of this show (much of it so ridiculous that it makes the idea of Norman’s insanity seem kind of normal) was pared away and the show had instead just told the story of Norman and Norma, it could have been a really great show. However, in that case it would have only lasted 1 or 2 seasons, and we can’t have that, can we.

Even though somewhat bloated, it was one of the better quality shows on TV, and was very well done. Though if you’re a fan of the original, you might be a bit baffled at the scope of it.


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