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Bates Motel: Season 1 Blu-ray
The horror genre has become more popular on television in recent years, with shows like American Horror Story and Bates Motel standing out in cable’s lineup as both creepy and kooky. I’ve never watched the former, so when I tuned in for the latter I was wildly, pleasantly surprised by what horror on cable can offer.

A prequel of sorts to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Bates Motel follows Norma (Vera Farmiga) and Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) in the time just after they set foot in White Pine Bay, Oregon to open a motel. The location and the contemporary time period don’t make the series a full-fledged prequel, but after watching the first season, I can’t imagine a cast or setting that is more fitting for A&E’s freshman drama.

Farmiga shines as Norman’s mother in the series, a possessive, quick-to-anger woman who equally seems dominant over and scared of her teenaged son. Their relationship is a complicated one, and throughout the first round of episodes, it grows even more problematical, as Norman’s estranged brother Dylan (Max Thieriot) shows up on the scene and Norman begins to open up to several girls, including the lovely and kind Bradley (Nicola Peltz) and the spunky and smart Emma (Olivia Cooke).

Bates Motel begins with a dead body, and it certainly isn’t the only dead body viewers see through the show’s ten-episode run. The tranquil town of White Pine Bay opens up some of its secrets and becomes something a little more sinister, with drugs and sex slave rings running amok. The mix of regular coming-of-age tropes and a shifty criminal enterprise is an intriguing way to frame a series, as well. Bates Motel isn’t afraid to mix and mash horror tropes, drama, and complicated relationships. The tightly woven first season is a clear indication of the direction A&E can go with its drama lineup, and with a few new projects at the network, we'll see if any new programming can manage to match up.

You can order Bates Motel: Season 1 over at Amazon.

Best Special Feature: There aren’t a ton of bonus features with the Blu-ray set, and the best extras are certainly the deleted scenes. When a TV set puts together episode-related bonus features like deleted scenes, the home entertainment people have to decide whether or not to put the deleted scenes in a big chunk on the disc or to spread them out to coordinate with each of the episodes.

In this instance, Universal Studios Home Entertainment opted to lump all of the bonus features together. The deleted scenes are the big bulk of these, and some of them give us added moments of character development, as Norman and his teacher, Miss Watson (Keegon Connor Tracy) exhibit added tension and as Norma and Dylan have a couple of bonding moments. Occasionally, it’s difficult to tell which deleted scenes fit with which episode, but that’s a small criticism.

Other Special Features:
Paley Center Panel Discussion with the Cast and Creative Team

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