This past TV season was a pretty rough one for the A&E network, and especially for producer Carlton Cuse, whose two primetime dramas on the channel both suffered in the ratings. After waffling over a decision for what seemed like an eternity, the network has finally delivered a mix of good and bad news.
Despite a downturn in viewership over the course of its third season, the ‘Psycho’ reboot ‘Bates Motel’ has been officially renewed for not just one, but two further seasons. Cuse will certainly be relieved by this. He’s been saying for a while now that he mapped out the series for a five-season run, and he now has the security of knowing that he can complete it as he wants.
Season 3 for the show was a bit bumpy artistically, but it had some really great high points and actually closed in a spot that could have served as a functional series finale had it not been picked up. Hopefully, two additional seasons should give the writers enough room to wrap up the unresolved storylines in a more satisfying manner. For as uneven as many of its episodes are, stars Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore deliver amazing performances in the show. Farmiga is an absolute powerhouse in the role of the dysfunctional Norma Bates, and the slow evolution of Highmore’s performance from troubled kid to psycho killer has been fascinating to watch. I look forward to more development for both characters.
Unfortunately, things aren’t so rosy for freshman drama ‘The Returned’, Cuse’s American adaptation of the French supernatural thriller ‘Les Revenants’. After just one season that ended without any sense of closure, the show has been canceled. I’m disappointed by this, but not surprised at all. Although I liked a lot of things about the series, it just never really seemed to kick into gear. Storylines meandered, characters behaved irrationally, and the few answers provided to its mysteries never quite added up. The season finale was particularly anticlimactic. I don’t regret watching the show, but I’m not overly upset that it won’t come back. Honestly, it just wasn’t as good as it needed to be.
If you’re frustrated that you’ll never get a satisfying resolution to ‘The Returned’, perhaps try checking out ‘Les Revenants’, which will in fact get its own second season. I’m told that the two shows start very similarly, but diverge and go their own directions around Episode 6.