7. Bates Motel
Bates Motel is the perfect example of how to revamp a horror classic for a modern audience, without insulting the original. On paper, this Psycho prequel is entirely unnecessary; Norma Bates is better left as a mysterious influence. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. This series did something unexpected with Norma's character: in place of the cold and emotionally abusive woman hinted at in Psycho (and explicitly portrayed in Psycho: The Beginning), Vera Farmiga's Norma is a relatively normal and fragile woman trying to give her son a healthy upbringing. She's only unhinged through Norman's eyes; he uses her as justification for his own horrific acts, and in a way, that makes him scarier. Finally - a horror prequel that actually adds something worthwhile to the original source!
Norman and Norma Bates could not have been more perfectly cast. Freddie Highmore is every bit as sinister as he should be, and Vera Farmiga makes you fall in love with a character who would drive you up the wall if she were played by any other actress.
The show does churn out cliff-hangers a little bit to liberally, to the point where they become slightly tiresome; but for the most part the story line is intensely gripping. Naturally, this being a prequel, we know exactly what's coming at various points throughout the series, but the journey we take to arrive at these crucial plot points is handled expertly. The big, pivotal moment that we were all waiting for from the first episode - the "you didn't kill her, Norman - I did" scene is chilling.
In truth, Bates Motel did slightly outstay its welcome. It should have ended with Marion Crane pulling up the the motel. Instead, once the show exhausted its prequel material, it progressed into the events of Psycho, and further still. And we'll not get started on the bizarre casting of Rhianna as Marion. Janet Leigh she most certainly is not.