Den of Geek
When Bates Motel first premiered in 2013 it was hard to tell what to make of it. Pitched as a contemporary prequel to Psycho, it borrowed the iconography, set, and visual style of the original film while updating it to the present day. Unlike Hannibal, which premiered around the same time and from the start drew a clear divide between itself and the earlier Anthony Hopkins films, Bates Motel seemed conflicted about its relationship to its source material. Hannibal, while certainly including moments of tribute to the films, was very much a fresh adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novels, while Bates Motel owed far more to the Hitchcock film than the book that inspired it. And sure, visually it wore its influences on its sleeve, but plot wise it seemed to be diverting from the film from the very start. A heavy focus on weak crime subplots and Norma Bates going from the "clinging, demanding" woman of the original films to a likeable and loving, if flawed, mother, made it feel a little uncertain about its own identity or how exactly it related to the original.