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Bates Motel: What is it about and should you watch it?

Rihanna as Marion Crane in Season 5 of Bates Motel
Rihanna as Marion Crane in Season 5 of Bates Motel. Pic: A&E

Bates Motel Season 5 starts tonight on A&E — but if you’re not familiar with the series, what’s it all about, and is it worth watching?

Bates Motel is a “contemporary prequel” to the iconic 1960 horror film Psycho, and follows its characters Norman Bates and his mother before Alfred Hitchcock’s film took place, but set in the modern day.

In the Hitchcock movie, serial killer Norman — who also murdered his mother — pretends she is still alive, and recreates her as an alternative personality in his mind.

Season 4 saw a young Norman kill his mother, while Season 5 starts two years after Norma’s death, with Norman struggling to cope as his “Mother” personality starts to take him over.

She is very much alive — but only in his mind, with him suffering from violent blackouts as she starts to take him over.

Season 5 introduces Rihanna as Marion Crane, the woman killed in Hitchcock’s famous Psycho shower scene.

Who’s in the cast?

Bates Motel has a strong cast. Season 5 features a central cast of Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates, Vera Farmiga as Norma, Max Thieriot as Dylan Massett, Olivia Cooke as Emma Decody, and Nestor Carbonell as Sheriff Alex Romero.

Also recurring are Rihanna as Marion Crane, Kenny Johnson as Caleb Calhoun, Ryan Hurst as Chick Hogan, Brooke Smith as Sheriff Dana Greene, Isabelle McNally as Madeline Loomis, and Austin Nichols as Sam Loomis.

Should you watch?

Bates Motel is a very popular show, and has also been praised by critics. IT has an average rating of 8.1/10 on IMDb, and a rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.

On top of that, the series has seen its Rotten Tomatoes approval rating improve from each series to the next — so it can be anticipated that Season 5 will be one of, if not, the best.

Bates Motel also won the 2017 People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Cable TV Drama. Highmore also won for Favorite Cable TV Actor and Farmiga won for Favorite Cable TV Actress.

Season 5 is watchable as a stand-alone series, but for the full experience make sure to also check out seasons 1-4.

Bates Motel Season 5 airs Mondays at 10pm ET/PT on A&E.

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years, previously as an editor at the... read more
Julian Cheatle

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