Just watched the season finale, and I think this is the best *new* series I've seen this season. So yes, they're taking the low-key route, and I prefer it this way. It takes time for a personality like the one of Norman Bates to form, and it's good to see they're not just jumping into Norman just killing anyone who annoys him. I also liked how disturbing the whole town has become, with almost any important character involved in shadowy activities,
But the best asset the series has is Vera Farmiga as Norman's mum. Seriously. Tak about a f**ked-up character, she runs circles around Norman. And Farmiga is just great, in other hands it could have become a caricature. But with her you really don't know how to feel at the character. One moment she's the victim, the next one you'd love to strangle her just to help the kids.
I gave up on it after about 5 episodes. I still have it DVR'ed so after reading what Neville said I may finish it.