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bates_motel

The folks at A&E are describing this new series as a “contemporary prequel” to Hitchcock’s 1960 film, “Psycho.” Huh? Yes, all the basic ingredients are here in the pilot: the creepy motel and the looming house on the hill; Norman Bates, the gaunt teen with a faraway stare (Freddie Highmore) and his clingy/overbearing mother (Vera Farmiga); a violent murder and a late-night encounter with the local police. But every time characters use their cellphones, it diminishes any sort of mood that has been set to that point. Why not just set the series in its proper time period? Series premiere, 10 p.m. Monday on A&E.

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