Bates Motel is an American drama television series on A&E starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga. The series is a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's iconic Psycho, and depicts the early years of Norman Bates whilst set in modern times. The series kicks off with the sudden death of Norman's father, prompting Norman and his beloved mother to set up a new life in the coastal town of White Pine Bay as owners of the titular motel. However, their relationship is far from stable and the town is hiding secrets of its own...
This show contains examples of the following tropes:
Anytime a member of the opposite sex shows interest in Norman or Norma in front of one and other.
Bettyand Veronica: Emma, openly smitten but friend-zoned, is Betty to Norman's Archie, while popular, unattainable Bradley is his Veronica.
Beware the Nice Ones: Keeping with the original movie, Norman is nice and quiet. He doesn't look like he'd put up much of a fight but he becomes quite scary when he sees his mother in trouble.
Blondes Are Evil: Norma has blonde hair and while she isn't necessarily evil, she certainly isn't good either. She may love Norman but she's manipulative and will do whatever it takes to get her way.
Chick Magnet: Norman. Seriously. Every teenage girl seems to want a piece of him for some reason.
Creepy Basement: Shelby has one in his house where he has imprisoned a young girl as his sex slave. The basement ticks many of the creepy basement expectations such as the flickering lights, dimly lit rooms, and shadows all around.
Dirty Cop: Considering how many illegal activities are going on in the town it would be more surprising if there weren't any. The main culprit seen so far though is Shelby.
Disproportionate Retribution: Keith Sommers harassing Norman and Norma because the motel and house they bought was his. It's stated outright that it wasn't even their fault, the bank was the one that foreclosed on his family's house and motel.
Dysfunction Junction: Most everyone in the cast seems to have some kind of emotional problem or the like. The Bates family takes the cake, however, in White Pines.
Evil Matriarch: Ah, Norma. You seem to be showing up a lot whenever it comes to evil mother tropes.
Fake American: Freddie Highmore as Norman. Don't worry, his accent has improved considerably since August Rush though it's still noticeably if you're listening for it.
Foreshadowing: Unsurprising, what with it being a prequel. For example, a member of Emma's family owns a taxidermy shop. There are some significant shots of the stuffed animals and Norman can't help but eye them which foreshadows how Norman will eventually get into taxidermy as and adult because he's lonely and needs a hobby.
Mommy Issues: And how. Turns out, however, Norman isn't the only one to have them. Despite the distance he tries to create with Norma, Dylan can't get past his issues with his mother either.
My Beloved Smother: You only get one guess at who is the biggest perpetrator of this trope. Norma will do anything to keep Norman by her side. She gets angry whenever she believes Norman has abandoned her and continually tells Norman that it's just the two of them against the world.
The Reveal: In episode six, Norma reveals that she didn't kill her husband like Dylan and some of the audience have assumed. Turns out Norman killed his father while he was in a trance and doesn't remember any of it. Norma made the death look like an accident so Norman wouldn't have to face what he'd done and moved them away to start over and officially leave his death behind them.
Retro Universe: While the show is set in modern times (an early shot of Norman has him listening to an iPod), it does have some nuances, characteristics and feel of the 1950s and 60s.
Split Personality: Just like in the original movie, Norman seems to be developing a split personality that takes over whenever Norma is in trouble. Afterwards, Norman can't remember what he did but when he gets into these states he's always violent, refuses to talk to anyone, and very, very dangerous.
Tempting Fate: Keith taunts Norma about her rape. Did he really expect her not to run him through with a knife?
Dylan puts his mother's number under "Whore," not caring if Norman sees it.
Town with a Dark Secret: White Pine Bay apparently has several, even before the Bates Family moves in. There's certainly a reason why everyone is so well off in the small town. From what the audience sees, many people in the town seem to be in some illegal business ranging from drug trafficking to selling young girls as sex slaves.