Netflix’s The Irregulars dives into the supernatural side of Sherlock Holmes. The series follows a group of misfits hired by the famous detective to solve supernatural crimes around London.
Check out our spoiler-free review of season 1 below.
The Irregulars Season 1 Review
Meeting The Irregulars
If you love a found family story, The Irregulars dynamic will be right up your alley.
The first episode of the series does a great job of introducing the characters. You really get to know Bea, Jessie, Billy, Spike, and Leo and relationships to one another. Their bond is the foundation of the show, and the series sets it up perfectly.
As the episodes progress, The Irregulars keeps emotion and humanity at the heart of all its stories. Sure, the show searches for monsters. But it also searches for motivations. In an early episode, one of the gang bemoans their efforts to anticipate the villain-of-the-week’s next move.
“They’re crazy!” they protest. So why bother trying to rationalize their actions?
“It’s too easy just to think people are crazy,” comes the response.
Yeah, it is! And that’s a big problem I have with a lot of media—lazy writing for villains that just boils their bad actions down to “they’re crazy” or “they just like being mean.” When the Irregulars take on a creepy case, they don’t solve it because they have tons of experience dealing with the paranormal or through supernatural powers of their own. (Though Jessie is psychic, and that helps out sometimes.) They solve the case by focusing on the human element: discovering who people are and why they’re committing the crimes.
Supernatural stories & effects
The supernatural cases The Irregulars gang deal with every week were a lot of fun. They draw on classic genre tropes while putting their own twist on things. You’ll see elements of Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, Frankenstein, Game of Thrones, and more. (A personal favorite of mine? A very ominous take on The Tooth Fairy.)
The creature design and makeup work in The Irregulars impressed me. This series gives you everything from eye-stealing and possession to plague doctors and animated corpses. If you love the supernatural (and unraveling mysteries), you’ll love watching this series.
The Holmes of it all
Honestly, for me the weakest part of the series came from involving Sherlock Holmes.
The show incorporates some classic Holmes characters and references that can be fun for fans, but the depth feels inherently shallow. You can’t focus on Holmes himself too much, because the story isn’t about him. Eventually the detective’s storyline intersects with the plot in a significant way, but by that point, I didn’t feel like it needed to be Sherlock Holmes. I think setting up anyone as the mysterious employer of the Irregulars would have worked.
(Yes, I understand the Netflix series is based on the Baker Street Irregulars gang referenced in some of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes books. Yes, I still stand by my statement that I wish Holmes had been excluded.)
Is The Irregulars worth a watch?
Absolutely. Despite some flaws—there are a couple dangling plot points, and Spike in particular seems underexplored as a character—I can’t deny that I really enjoyed watching The Irregulars. Plots that could come off as cheesy somehow don’t, carried by an excellent cast. The monsters and supernatural influences are fun and interesting (even if you can see a lot of the twists coming). The core cast has great chemistry, and more than anything, you want this little found family to succeed. Everything else—all the monsters and mystery-solving—is just a bonus.
The Irregulars is now streaming on Netflix.