The Bates Motel

The Bates Motel is oddly amusing, disquietingly unsettling, utterly absorbing – and the most promising genre show of the season. It's supposed to be a prequel to the events of Psycho, yet it is set in present day as the numerous iPhone cameos will attest. Yet there is something in the air, and in the styling of the hair and costumes that evokes a more nostalgic feeling of a bygone era. Freddie Highmore as a 17-year-old Norman Bates is an naive oddball who thinks he's going to study at the library with the hot girl but is actually going to a pot party. Vera Farmiga plays Norma Bates, the suffocating mother, as disconnected one moment, passive aggressive the next, all while possessing an edge of incalculable malevolence. The rest of the cast – although I'm not sure yet who the regulars will be – is also shaping up to be just as peculiar. It's definitely quirky (but not Twin Peaks quirky), yet tinged with a creepy, vile underbelly. The Bates Motel premieres on Monday, March 18th on A&E, but if you are a Comcast customer you have access to an early premiere OnDemand.