We already knew that A&E’s Bates Motel was setting the story of Norman Bates in the present day, thanks to the iPod, modern cars and other clues in its trailer and promo pics. Turns out. though, that the show is going to wipe away even more of the original details as we know them from Psycho.
And that’s Hitchcock’s Psycho, Robert Bloch’s Psycho and any of the sequels. None of them will be adhered to by Carlton Cuse and co. as they plot out where Bates Motel is going to go.
Cuse was speaking at the TCA Press Tour and made it clear that his show will wander away from the beaten path as he sees fit. He explained:
The mythology that you think is what dictates the relationship between Norma and Norman is not what it’s going to turn out to be… In some general form, we are going to catch up with a version of the character [Norman] from the movie, but not having it set in the past made it so they weren’t bound absolutely to the continuity of the film and to have everything exactly line up.
He even addressed the specific question of Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s character in the first movie. Will she turn up, sooner or later? Cuse said he didn’t think so – but not why he didn’t think so.
The new version of Norman is considerably younger than the one in the movie, so I wouldn’t think Crane is too likely to turn up either. This doesn’t seem to be the sort of show that will run for seven or eight years.
Cuse also said a few words about how the show’s format works:
The show’s like all the best serialized shows, whether it’s Breaking Bad or Homeland. It’s a kind of a story that takes ten episodes to unfold. And obviously, there’s some hooks that will hopefully carry us into a second season.
But there are a number of different dramatic things that happen. We’re not just solving one particular crime. There’s a number of mysteries… I think there’s a story here that has a beginning, middle, and end.
I can’t tell you exactly how long our story’s going to last just yet. I think that’s part of the discovery process of us developing the show but I think, eventually, there is an end point to this narrative, absolutely.
To be good to this promise they may have to plan every season finale like it’s wrapping the whole series up. Tricky. Still, I wish it’s something most showrunners kept in mind.
Bates Motel kicks off on Monday March 18th, 10pm on A&E.