Bates Motel premieres Monday, March 18, at 10pm ET on A&E.
TV prequels are having a moment, with A&E showing how Norman Bates went Psycho in Bates Motel, The CW’s The Carrie Diaries (Mondays at 8pm ET) focusing on a pre-Sex and the City Carrie Bradshaw, and NBC’s upcoming Hannibal (April 4) maybe letting us see Dr. Lecter dealing with that census taker who once tried to test him. But this new wave isn’t the first, as this list attests:
5. Manchester Prep (2000) This Cruel Intentions prequel never made it to air on FOX, but did find life on DVD as Cruel Intentions 2, featuring future respectable actress Amy Adams shamelessly vamping it up in the Sarah Michelle Gellar role.
4. Smallville (2001-11) Ten seasons, no cape. Well, until the very last episode, when The CW’s story of Clark Kent becoming Superman finally gave us the money shot of Tom Welling all suited up. Yep, 10 seasons, and — Great Caesar’s ghost! — they’re still making Superman origin stories, as evidenced by this summer’s Man of Steel movie.
3. The Ewok Adventure (1984) The thirst for further Star Wars adventures after Return of the Jedi was so strong that ABC wagered we would settle for a couple of low-rent Ewok movies, with this and 1985’s Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. Well, they were right, but that doesn’t mean we have to be proud of it.
2. Enterprise (2001-05) Set 100 years before Capt. James T. Kirk made the far reaches of space his personal bachelor pad, this UPN (remember them?) Star Trek prequel definitely had its devotees. Personally, we never got past the cheesy opening song.
1. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992-93) While it often felt more like a dry history lesson than a swashbuckling adventure, George Lucas’ early tales of the daring archaeologist were always handsomely produced, and did manage to wrangle Harrison Ford for a memorable cameo.
Photo: © 2011 Joe Lederer