A&E takes a dark turn with its new thriller series “Bates Motel,” best described as an updated (and completely re-imagined) prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece Psycho. Exec prod Carlton Cuse of “Lost” fame said it's a complete departure from the Psycho films, and that setting the series in modern times instead of the '60s “gave us the freedom to take these characters wherever we wanted to… Making it contemporary was a way to really become liberated from the original movie.” That also means some amped up violence, including a brutal sexual assault in the pilot, but exec prod Kerry Ehrin insisted “this show isn't about violence” but rather exploring the intricate (and uncomfortable) relationship between future serial killer Norman ( Freddie Highmore) and his soon-to-be-stuffed mother ( Vera Farmiga). OK, maybe it's a little about violence. Despite the heavy subject matter, Cuse kept the panel light, at one point assuring critics who thought “Lost” was a bit cryptic that he'll keep things less confusing this time. “No polar bears, no smoke monsters,” he said. “Time travel? I don't know.” He was kidding. We think.