Bates Motel is officially my new favorite show. That isn't to say it's the best thing I've ever seen on television, in terms of how good it is and content wise. But it is very, very, very good.
For those of you who don't know, Bates Motel is a prequel to the 1960 horror classic Psycho. It is set in modern times, but a prequel nonetheless. The show focuses on Norman Bates as a teenager living with his mom, Norma. The show starts with Norman and Norma moving to White Pine Bay six months after Norman's dad died in a tragic incident (hmm…). The first episode is mainly set-up for the next 9 episodes, but it does manage to keep us on our toes.
If your child has seen Psycho, which has little to no violence besides the shower scene, and expresses their desire to see this, I strongly suggest a pre-viewing on parents' parts. This is probably the edgiest TV-14 I have ever seen. Nowadays, Criminal Minds and NCIS are about my limits on TV-14 violence, but this took it to a whole new dimension. This next part will have MAJOR spoilers for the first episode, and it might get graphic, so bear with me.
The episode is about an hour long, and about 25 minutes in is when the action really starts. Earlier, a man came over and confronted Norma and Norman about the property, which was apparently owned by a distant relative of his. Later, he returns drunk and brutally, brutally rapes Norma while Norman is out of the house. This is accompanied by about 20 seconds of Norma just screaming; it is a very disturbing scene. Luckily, Norman comes back and hits him over the head, which knocks him out. The mother-son duo then proceed to get the emergency kit (Norman) while Norma stabs the man to death multiple times.
The rest of the episode is basically blood, blood, more blood, with some suspense as well. It also shows Norman trying to cope with the murder. (Okay, there's not as much blood as others like The Walking Dead or AHS) I think that the creepiest part of the show was not the rape or the murder, but that SMILE at the end. The episode ends with Norma hugging Norman and saying something like "I love you Norman." Norman responds, "I love you too, Mom" and he just looks straight into the camera and does one of the creepiest smiles I have ever seen. Not only that, but Freddie Highmore does a really good job at portraying Norman. At first, he seems kind of shy, but then quickly gets trapped in a web of murders. By the end of the episode, I looked into his eyes and saw something along the lines of evil and insanity blossoming...*shudders*. I'm 13 and I found this show highly disturbing, especially to kids who are 12. But, it is also a very good show in a creepy way. 13 and up