TV tonight: Bates Motel finds an audience and DWTS dominates ratings

Bates Motel is creepy and compelling at the same time.
Photo: A&E/Bates Motel

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2013Making a prequel to the classic 50 year old Hitchcock film “Psycho” is a challenge, to say the least. To make the prequel in a modern day setting seems even more improbable, but somehow it works. The first two episodes of “Bates Motel” have made the top ten list of basic cable ratings, and critical response has been favorable as well. 

The series begins after the death of Norma’s husband, when she purchases a motel located in a coastal Oregon town so she and Norman can start a new life. By the end of episode two, viewers see the town of White Pine Bay, Oregon where the Bates Motel is located, has a few dark secrets of its own.

White Pine Bay is missing any obvious sources of a vibrant economy, yet everyone in town seems to have a pocket full of money and a fleet of high-end vehicles. The quiet revelation that most of the town’s residents are involved in the marijuana growing industry only adds to the overall malevolent tone of the show.

But the real reason the show works is the actor Freddie Highmore, who plays young Norman. Innocent looking to a fault, yet capable of detaching himself from any moral code at the drop of a hat, it’s very easy to imagine young Norman turning out like the older Norman from the original Hitchcock thriller.

Norman and his mom (played by Vera Farmiga) have already committed and covered up one murder, and the nature of both of these characters promises this is just the beginning of their criminal activity. Free from any premise of the original film beyond Norma and Norman’s affection for mayhem, the character development and story line is bursting with possibilities.

The creators of “Bates Motel” have the attention of a sizeable audience, so basically it’s theirs to win or lose. It will all depend on how they use the great cast to develop the story as its premiere season continues. With so many disposable reality shows dominating TV programming, let’s hope “Bates Motel” doesn’t squander the opportunity to give viewers a show of substance worth watching.

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“Bates Motel” airs on A&E Monday night at 10 p.m.

For “Dancing With The Stars” fans, Washington Times Communities resident expert Gayle Falkenthal will be hosting a live online chat tonight starting at 8 p.m. For entertaining and informative interaction please join her

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

SEE RELATED: TV tonight: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is back. Will people watch?

8 p.m.

ABC: Dancing With The Stars: (Live) The remaining celebrities perform dances that include Viennese waltz and the paso doble.

CBS: How I Met Your Mother: (Repeat) Unable to decide which of their friends would make the best godparents to Marvin, Lily and Marshall put them all to a test.

FOX: Bones: (New) The Jeffersonian team investigates the murder of a TV producer.

NBC: The Voice: (Live) Blake, Adam, Shakira and Usher compete for another round of promising new singers.

CW: The Carrie Diaries: (New) When Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) inadvertently complicates things with Sebastian (Austin Butler), she tries to fix it by taking him to Madonna’s “The Virgin Tour” launch party – but in her quest for the perfect night, only makes things worse.

8:30 p.m.

CBS: Rules of Engagement: (Repeat) The seventh season begins with Liz moving in with Jeff and Audrey, but she soon wears out her welcome when she takes Jeff’s side on everything. Meanwhile, Adam and Timmy team up to beat the rest of the company at Ping-Pong. 

9 p.m.

CBS: 2 Broke Girls: (Repeat) Max and Caroline hire an intern to help get their cupcake shop ready to open, but Max experiences trouble in her new managerial role

FOX: The Following: (New) Hardy and Parker discover a place with a dark secret.

CW: Hart of Dixie: (Repeat) Zoe agrees to be Wanda’s maid of honor, and one of her tasks involves watching Wanda’s cunning mom. Meanwhile, Lemon reflects on being left at the altar; and Lavon requests George’s help to fight a nearby town’s plans for a new shopping mall.

PBS: Kind Hearted Woman: (New) Part 1 of 2. An Oglala Sioux woman strives to build a better life for herself while battling her ex-husband for custody of their two children, completing her college education and dealing with the repercussions of having been sexually abused as a child.

9:30 p.m.

CBS: Mike and Molly: (Repeat) Joyce conveniently disappears after a back injury renders Vince practically immobile, and that leaves Mike and Molly to take care of him.

10 p.m.

ABC: Castle: (New) While stuck at home with a broken leg, Castle believes he witnesses a murder in the apartment across the street.

CBS: Hawaii Five-0: (Repeat) Five-0 investigates the murder of a computer hacker. Meanwhile, McGarrett tries to stage a reunion between his mom and his sister.

NBC: Revolution: (New) Charlie must rise above grief to protect Rachel, while Miles reaches out to an old and deadly friend. Colm Feore, Leland Orser and Malik Yoba guest star.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

The Real Housewives of Orange County at 8 p.m. on BRAVO

Fast “N Loud: Revved Up at 8 p.m. on DSC

Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? At 8 and 9 p.m. on NGC

Being Human at 9 p.m. on Syfy

Fast “N Loud at 9 p.m. on DSC

Love it or List it at 9 p.m. on HGTV

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills at 9 p.m. on BRAVO

Dallas at 9 p.m. on TNT

Bizarre Foods America at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Bates Motel at 10 p.m. on A&E

L A Shrinks at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

The Devils Ride at 10 p.m. on DSC

House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV

Teen Mom 2 at 10 p.m. on MTV

Monday Mornings at 10 p.m. on TNT

Lizard Lick Towing at 10 p.m. on truTv

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

The Last Samurai on AMC

Ghostbusters on ENC

The Distinguished Gentlemen on FLIX

The International on FMC

Pineapple Express on FX

Lethal Weapon on IFC

Snakes on a Plane on REELZ

The Beach on SUND

It Happens Every Spring on TCM

9 p.m.

The Craft on ABCFAM

The Five-Year Engagement on HBO

Wrath of the Titans on MOMAX

The Amazing Spider-Man on STARZ

Your Sister’s Sister on TMC

Later tonight:

Angels in the Outfield at 9:30 p.m. on TCM

Dante’s Peak at 9:50 p.m. on ENC

Rambo: First Blood Part II at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

Lethal Weapon 2 at 10:30 p.m. on IFC

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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

I come from a long line of story tellers, and will shamelessly exploit a family tree resplendent with colorful and unique characters, both past and present.

In short my perspective will reflect the pride and familiarity I have of my Appalachian heritage. My stories will be a reflection of the values I believe we hold dearest here, all embellished with a healthy dose of Southern Appalachian flare.


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