What’s new on the tube tonight:
Bates Motel (A&E) Season Premiere: After two seasons of hinting around at it, this is looks like the year Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) finally becomes Norman Fucking Bates, whether Norma (Vera Farmiga) likes it or not (if you’re remotely familiar with Psycho lore, most likely not—“real” Norma, anyway). Norman also has a new lust interest, so she’s (Tracy Spiridakos, late of Revolution) is as good as dead. If you haven’t yet—hacky TV critic joke alert—checked into Bates Motel, Season 3 isn’t a bad place to start (but Season 1 would be better).
The Returned (A&E) Series Debut: If you loved French import The Returned when it aired stateside on Sundance, and then were fooled into thinking American network rip-off Resurrection might be anywhere near as good, consider this official U.S. adaptation a full apology. A&E's The Returned doesn't stray far from the original: Former residents of a small mountain town begin showing up after years of being presumed dead, with no recollection of the time past nor signs of aging, leaving the Returned as confused as the Remained are freaked the hell out. Resurrection went more weepy than creepy; The Returned strikes a deft balance between both, which the solid cast (which includes Mark Pellegrino, Michelle Forbes, Jeremy Sisto, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and several impressive newcomers) delivers convincingly. This may end up as a story with no viable end—it is produced by Carlton Cuse of Lost, after all—but the initial episodes are a rush. Glad to see all of that Duck Dynasty money is paying for something worthwhile (besides Bates Motel, of course).