Landscapers and Lucy Dacus


The whole is less than the sum of its parts. Or something like that, which is the feeling I took away after recently finishing the HBO’s limited series Landscapers. The true crime series stars Olivia Colman (Fleabag, The Crown) and David Thewlis (Harry Potter franchise) as Susan and Christopher Edwards; spouses convicted of the 1989 murder of William and Patricia Wycherley, who just happen to be Susan’s parents. The Edwards have long proclaimed their innocence but have also admitted to burying the bodies in the victims’ own backyard. The viewer must decide whether or not to believe their story.

From the start, the similarities to Fargo (both movie and series) are glaring as the murder mystery happens in a unique setting (at least to Americans) and is rife with dark humor, witty detectives and suspects who live in a distorted reality. But that’s where the similarities end.

In telling the story of the crime, showrunner Will Sharpe immediately puts his unique vision to work with creative shots, segues and vignettes. Some of the more interesting scenes are when the cast is transported to a 1950s Hollywood Western; noir detectives interrogating suspects DURING the murders they are suspected of committing; and set directors, cameramen and staff becoming part of the series.

Look, I like creativity and taking chances as much as anyone else. Being creative takes guts and ego and vision, and more showrunners, writers, and directors should be as brave as Sharpe and be lauded for taking creative risks. However, Landscapers takes more of these chances than needed, at times it is too clever for its own good.

Perhaps the reason I feel that way is because the cast is SO DAMN GOOD. Obviously, we start with Colman and Thewlis, who could carry this miniseries, or let’s be honest, any series, by themselves. Luckily for the viewers, they don’t have to as the leads are accompanied by a foul-mouthed primary detective Tony Collier (Daniel Rigby), will-they-won’t-they secondary detectives Emma Lancing (Kate O’Flynn) and Paul Wilkie (Samuel Anderson) as well as big hearted, soft spoken public defender Douglas Hylton (Dipo Ola).

Between this cast and the assorted Fargo-esque assortment of neighbors, parents and business associates, most, if not all, of the imaginative escapism could have been avoided. I would have really liked to explore why Tony Collier is such a goofy, foul-mouthed dufus, dived deeper into Lancing and Wilkie’s relationship, and found out anything about Hylton. And I mean anything. The dude is a star in the making, and I am going to dive into his very short filmography.

None of this is to say that you should avoid Landscapers as you should probably watch anything with Colman and Thewlis as leads, it’s just that given the story, actors and characters, Landscapers could have been truly epic. Instead, like victims William and Patricia Whycherly, Landscapers is destined to get buried in its own backyard.

Lucy Dacus – Home Video

The Zuck giveth, the Zuck taketh away. For me, discovering singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus via my Facebook algorithm ads, was certainly a case of our benevolent alien overlord Mark Zuckerberg giving. Thanks boss!

Admittedly I’m late to the Lucy Dacus party, but glad I finally found the door. For those unfamiliar with Dacus, you will be pleasantly surprised by her intimate storytelling, heartfelt lyrics, and overall ‘I may seem sweet but am definitely capable of burning down your house’ vibes.

In Home Video, the listener is gifted a front row seat to Dacus’ life story, which in its 26 years, has taken a lot of interesting turns. In fact, Dacus is such a gifted lyricist and storyteller, you’ll wish you were a character in a song or at least watched the story unfold.

For example, I have no idea what it would be like to be a closeted teenage lesbian with a crush on a fellow Vacation Bible School camper, but after listening to the track VBS, I am a little more informed than I was a week ago. I mean, I’ve never even been to a Bible School.

I also have no concept of what it would be like to take a partner to a bar to meet her estranged, abusive father (Thumbs), while contemplating murdering said father. After listening to this track, I feel like I get it.

Other Home Video tracks sweep the listener into a net full of more universal themes such as Brando and its themes of right person/wrong timing and Going Going Gone, which ponders the fate of a first true love.

As for the actual music, Home Videos is a combination of pop, folk and indie that is sprinkled with electronic guitars and drum machines. In other words, it is hip enough to be a Wes Anderson soundtrack but accessible enough to be purchased on vinyl at Urban Outfitters.

Hey, nothing’s perfect. Or maybe it is? What the hell do I know?

What I do know is that I plan on diving into Dacus’ catalog and after you read this, I am sure Mark Zuckerberg would appreciate you doing the same.


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