Skip to main content

Scary Good: Five Seasons in, ‘Bates Motel’ Is Tops in Prompting A&E Viewers’ Emotional Reactions

Canvs, the language analytics company, took a look at social media reactions to A&E programming since the beginning of the year to uncover what’s been driving the most emotional response from viewers. (Previously, we looked at ABC, CBS, NBC, FX and The CW.)

Bates Motel, the network’s longest running scripted drama series, remains a heavy hitter for A&E. The show was designed to be a prequel to the 1960s classic Psycho from Alfred Hitchcock and was developed by Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin and Anthony Cipriano. With a contemporary setting and a knack for the spooky, Bates Motel has had fans hooked since the beginning (it’s won three People’s Choice Awards). The series recently kicked off the fifth and final season and viewers have returned, ready to be creeped out.

Related: History, A&E Best Networks to Work With, Say Non-Fiction Producers


— justiz (@justizzb) February 21, 2017

Bates motel is back on!!!!

— Kennedy owens♡ (@kennedyyowens) February 21, 2017


— ellen (@agentbartonn) February 21, 2017

So far in 2017, there have been over 34,000 Emotional Reactions (ERs) to the show detected by Canvs. The top emotion has been love (always a good sign), with 23.6% of all ERs. The second most popular emotion expressed by viewers is “crazy” (16.7%), followed closely by “excited” (15%).

#BatesMotel getting real creepy

— D.A Turnage (@bigD_70) February 28, 2017

The main character Norman is, naturally, the most popular conversation magnet, mentioned in 9.3% of all ERs, followed by his mother Norma, mentioned in 5.1%. Of all the ERs talking about how crazy the show is, Norman is specifically mentioned in 15.4% of them — and most often with viewers basically saying he’s psychotic. Fitting, as that’s the whole premise of the series.

Related: A&E Locks Up Two More Seasons of ’60 Days In’

Norman you're crazy #BatesMotel

— Celeste Cisneros (@celcisneros) February 21, 2017

Omg...Norman is nuts #BatesMotel

— Reggie Jones (@rejon18) February 21, 2017

Norman is a FREAK #BatesMotel

— Veena (@VeenaSaco) February 28, 2017

Beyond Bates Motel

Other shows that are resonating emotionally with A&E audiences include Live PD, Nightwatch and Duck Dynasty (still kicking, but scheduled to wrap up its 11th and final season this month). Of the three, Live PD garners the most conversation among viewers, with over 20,000 ERs so far in 2017, and is also known for its intense moments — “crazy” is the second most often expressed emotion (behind love), appearing in 11.6% of ERs.

Wow wow wow #LivePD

— Shawn (@shanterrian1) February 5, 2017

#LIVEPD holy crap

— Lori Senecal (@Brittykat) February 11, 2017

Live PD just got intense. #LivePD

— StaceFace1019 (@stace_face19) February 11, 2017

#LIVEPD get more crazy each week.

— Brandon Wolf (@lilstatik) February 4, 2017

Nightwatch viewers mostly express love — 41.2% of the over 11,000 ERs to date in 2017.

I love this show #Nightwatch

— DEE BAILEY (@bjonell02) January 6, 2017

Love #Nightwatch moments like this.

— Josh Thornton (@JoshMTV) January 27, 2017

Nightwatch is my favorite show!

— Queen B. (@MoneDnt_GAF) January 3, 2017

As for Duck Dynasty, although conversation has dwindled over the years from its heyday as a pop cultural phenomenon, positive emotions still swirl around the show: “love” accounts for 32.3% of ERs, as well as “enjoy” (11.7%), “excited” (9.1%) and “happy” (5.9%).

I love Duck Dynasty too much

— Opal (@opalclareopila) February 18, 2017

duck dynasty is THE funniest show

— Jada (@jadarene14) February 9, 2017

Phil Robertson is my role model

— Jared Kaminski (@jaredkaminski24) February 16, 2017

And then again, after 11 seasons you have some people stating the obvious:

WTF is Duck Dynasty still a thing?

— Catkisser (@ginaniu) March 8, 2017