The Irregulars premieres March 26 on Netflix.
By Ariba Bhuvad
Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories of Sherlock Holmes are tales as old as time, and ones that have gotten various platforms to be told on. Between the most famous reimagining starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on the BBC series, Sherlock, to the films starring Robert Downey Jr., we’ve seen many, many versions of this private investigator’s story.
But there is something distinctly different about Netflix’s series, The Irregulars, which follows a group of troubled teens employed by Dr. Watson. In Doyle’s original novels, this motley crew of youngins are known as the Baker Street Irregulars who help Watson and Sherlock with some of the busy work surrounding their investigations.
Netflix’s version of the story is, however, much darker and moodier than what we’ve read in the books perhaps, and it is precisely what pulls you into the series. To the backdrop of Victorian London, there is something so riveting about seeing this infamous story told from a completely different perspective. What you think you’ll see is certainly not what you’ll get as series creator Tom Bidwell’s version puts a wild spin on the characters we think we know.
Rather than Watson being Sherlock’s eager and aloof sidekick, The Irregulars gives him a more sinister, threatening personality as he takes advantage of the help he’s getting from the teens, and takes credit for their work. He’s presented in a way we’ve never seen before, and that is just the icing on the cake.
What most will be surprised to learn and see is Bidwell’s version of Sherlock Holmes who is presented as a drug addict and a criminal of sorts. He’s completely lost in life, and has no purpose or understanding of where he’s headed. It’s leaps and bounds different from the Sherlock we’re used to, but it’s these differences that make The Irregulars such a fun watch.
In particular, the group of teens makes the series a worthy watch by making them the heart and soul. They each have their own personality and story to bring to the show, and at no point is any one overshadowing the other. Giving each character their time to shine adds a certain allure to the series and pulls you in to the spooky drama more than any other version has. There is also a strong familial aspect to the series which provides a lighter feel at times. Given the intensity of the story at times, it is a very welcome angle that people will accept and relate to.
The series does not come without its hiccups, of course. At some points in the eight-episode season, things slow down to a point where you lose interest. And at other points, the story gets too convoluted to follow. I think the flaw in this series is not properly addressing what the threat is. You will understand there is one, but the “villain” or the “big bad” isn’t quite explained.
Apart from that, The Irregulars will certainly please Sherlock fans around the world especially with its fresh new take on the titular characters and the introduction of a new group I can imagine many will fall in love with.
So, buckle up and prepare to experience Sherlock Holmes in a way you never have before with the thrilling and wild supernatural adventures of The Irregulars! I promise you won’t be too disappointed.
The Irregulars stars Thaddea Graham as Bea, Darci Shaw as Jessie, Jojo Macari as Billy, Mckell David as Spike, Harrison Osterfield as Leopold, Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Sherlock Holmes, Royce Pierreson as John Watson, and Clarke Peters as The Linen Man.
I give The Irregulars a B.