Tuesday, August 28, 2012

'Bates Motel' Casts Female Lead

Norma Bates (Norman Bates's mother) will be played by Oscar nominated actress (Up in the Air) Vera Farmiga in the upcoming A&E series that will serve as a prequel to the Alfred Hitchcock directed 'Psycho.'   (THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER)

The article from The Hollywood Reporter's LIVE FEED blog mentions that the series has been described as a "contemporary exploration of Norman Bate's formative years.  So if the series is set in the present and not a period piece, referring to it as a prequel may be a bit misleading.

Some commentators have expressed their displeasure with television making yet another prequel.  They've even singled out A&E specifically for abandoning the Arts and Entertainments that it originally stood for back in the '90s.  However, isn't scripted television a step up from the reality garbage that has aired on the network for the past decade. 

I do empathize with people who are skeptical about prequels.  The last TV prequel that I watched was Caprica, a SyFy show set prior to the events of the re-imagined Battlestar Gallactica.  I liked a couple episodes of that show but I did drop it from my viewing list after it took a six-month hiatus between half seasons.  That show may not have been a success but it wasn't because it was a prequel.  It's because the writers and network didn't know what kind of show they wanted it to be.  They sought to make a family drama that explored the various culture of the twelve colonies more thoroughly.  It evolved into a mess that lacked narrative focus and momentum.

The last prequel film I watched was Prometheus.  Once again, this film's problems didn't have to do with the fact that it's a prequel.  The screenplay for Prometheus was primarily written by Damon Lindelof, the co-creator and co-showrunner of the TV show Lost.  Carlton Cuse, Lost's other showrunner, is the man developing Bates Motel.  Maybe these are the right guys to go back and explore worlds that audiences are already familiar with.  After all, Lost had its fair share of intriguing flashbacks that supplemented the events of the present.

Bates Motel is the first TV project that Carlton Cuse has worked on since the ending of the island mystery serial that aired on ABC from 2004-2010.  Damon Lindelof has worked on a few film projects since Lost ended.  However, he is developing a series for HBO that is based on Tom Perrotta's novel The Leftovers.

The Leftovers is set in a post-Rapture world.  Thankfully, from what I've read, the novel is primarily set in a single suburban community of the United States.  The book does not take a global look at what life after the Rapture would look like.  I think Lindelof and HBO knew that they should avoid making a TV series that resembles FlashForward and other "post-catastrophic world event" shows.  They're leaving the creation of shows like that to NBC and J.J. Abrams (Revolution).

I know a lot of people hated the ending of Lost. I have my own mixed feelings on the last season and last couple of hours.  However, I still believe that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof are great writers who know how to develop strong characters.  For this reason, I'm looking forward to seeing both of these shows*.

*NOTE: Bates Motel has already been picked up for series.  The Leftovers adaptation is still in the early stages of its development. 

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