Bates Motel is the new Twin Peaks.

Bates Motel fully deserves the huge ratings it’s getting. Those of us with a fondness for odd stories have spent a long time waiting for a series sequel to David Lynch’s brilliant Twin Peaks. Finally, the Log Lady has passed the burled baton to a teenager with portable oxygen and a decade to live. Bates Motel is the essence of entertainment: unpredictable, bent, and ultimately doomed. We are reminded that the best endings are seldom happy.

1721814Much of the Bates Motel appeal is rooted in austerity and superb casting. The sets are simple and seemingly culled from a thrift store or a Storage Wars container. Norman Bates is the soon-to-be psycho every girl wants to sleep with, maybe skipping the shower afterwards. Norma makes incest seem incidental.

From the simple idea of a Perkins prequel all the way through to a wry script and superb casting, the Bates Motel package is irresistible. Of course, the glue that holds it all together is Vera Farmiga; hitting the small screen in the wake of ‘The Departed’ and an Academy Award Nomination for ‘Up in the Air.’ Farmiga is awesome and every second watching her is time well spent. There are mischievous twists in the casting, with the Sheriff played by Nestor Carbonell; a dead ringer for Tony Perkins; the grown-up Norman Bates who stuck it to Janet Leigh in the Hitchcock film.

Twin Peaks fans will eagerly anticipate the appearance of Kyle MacLachlin as Norma’s new lover. Or possibly Norman’s new lover. Might a guest appearance by Lynch himself be in the cards? We can only hope as legacies rekindle, form and entwine.

As the ‘Vacancy’ sign lights up and the second season looms, no doubt there will be Bates Hotel parties and babies christened Bates. Geeks will assemble to organize Bates Dates and propagate their kind.

Bates Motel is more than a great idea, a fine script and a killer cast. It’s fun. Like a Quentin Tarantino movie, you can feel everyone from the writers and director to the actors having a blast telling this twisted story and making it up as we go along.

11 years ago

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