Horror Legends Reborn on TV
Dr. Lecter & Norman Bates Strike Back
The horror genre has had a long standing history with television viewers. Classic shows like Tales From the Crypt and more modern shows like True Blood, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story have helped cement horror's place in primetime. Viewers have even been drawn in by horror-comedy shows such as The Addams Family and The Munsters.
It's off the back of all these shows that several horror icons are getting a new chance to reach an even wider audience. With potential films being seen as risky, the television route is the next logical step to introduce a new generation to these classic characters.
The first is Norman Bates. Made popular in Alfred Hitchcock's terrifying, Psycho, Norman Bates is the terror of every motel occupant. While he was the star of four feature films; many young viewers may not be as in touch with the character. Bates Motel debuted to great numbers. Through this modern day set prequel, we are given the opportunity to see the relationship between Norman and his mother only hinted at in the films. It adds new spice to old franchise and reinvigorates the popularity of a great character.
The other newcomer to primetime television is everyones favorite cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. With Hannibal, we are given more then just a typical police procedural. The series doesn't exactly focus on Hannibal, which is great. He is a character that works so much better in the peripheral. His appearances on the show make it all the more thrilling. Every time we see him have dinner with another character, you have to wonder if they're really eating what Dr. Lecter says they are.
Both shows are a great example at how classic characters can be reintroduced while still maintaining the essence of what made them great. In the case of Bates Motel, Norman is still a sheltered boy being held down by his controlling mother. We watch his struggle to be normal and cope with being a regular teenage boy.
Hannibal finds a clever way to work the good doctor into the ongoing struggle to rid the world of serial killers. Hannibal has a beautiful elegance about it that almost mirrors what we have come to know about Dr. Lecter.
These shows are not only delivering great content, but they are flourishing. Both have been met with great reception and high ratings. Bates Motel has already been renewed for a second season. Hannibal is beating all it's competition during the Thursday night time slot it holds. It's the success of shows like these that could potentially make it possible for other classic horror characters to find their way onto television.
Fans who may be worried these characters become neutered on television need not worry. Both shows offer plenty of intense moments and shocking imagery. These shows urge viewer discretion and it's well deserved. While horror in the cinema may be hit or miss anymore; horror on television is in great shape. Perhaps it's the small screen where fans should be turning to for their quality horror fix.
It would be great to see more horror icons follow Norman Bates and Hannibal. With these two doing so well, it's really just a matter of time before a studio looks through their catalog and resurrects something else. Lets all just hope the quality remains high and we keep getting great stories to follow.