Review: Teens meet Sherlock Holmes in 'The Irregulars'

Netflix series follows a familiar path but eventually finds its way

Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News

“The Irregulars” is fairly regular. Which isn’t to say it’s bad, just expected.

Take pretty much any established cultural touchstone — here it’s Sherlock Holmes — add a group of teenagers and you’ve got a TV show. To play it safe, inject the storylines with supernatural mumbo jumbo for color and special effects. Voila, it’s Netflix-ready.

Thaddea Graham and Darci Shaw in "The Irregulars."

Specifically we’re talking about a scruffy gang of impoverished kids who live in a cellar In Victorian London and have grown up together attending the School of Hard Knocks. There’s the feisty leader Bea (Thaddea Graham), her psychic sister Jessie (Darci Shaw), the pugnacious Billy (JoJo Macari) and smooth-talking Spike (McKell David).

Somehow the young prince of England, Leopold (Harrison Osterfield, a James McAvoy in training), joins the gang without them knowing who he is. Don’t ask. Together they begin working for Holmes’ shady assistant Mr. Watson, investigating odd crimes.

These crimes include flocks of birds murdering people, a monster who steals teeth and turns them into zombies and assorted other scare-of-the-week stories. Eventually it turns out there’s — what else? — a Big Bad tearing a hole in the universe which threatens to end all existence just like the Big Bad in so many other shows and movies.

A drug-addled Holmes (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) surfaces after a while, and since these are teenagers a bit of romance gets tossed in between all the grotesque deaths and cataclysmic turns. Love will find a way, after all.

The first episode is shaky, but the series stabilizes as it progresses. Nothing’s all that startling or original, but it all flows along until you realize you’ve watched four shows in a row and you’re wondering whether life has any meaning. Don’t worry, it’s just Netflix with more regular irregular programming.

'The Irregulars'



Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News.