The Irregulars

Photograph courtesy of Netflix
Rating 6.0
Streamer Netflix
Seasons 1
Episodes 8 x 50 mins

Despite your initial assumptions, this programme isn’t about a bunch of folks who need to inject more fibre into their diets (are we too old for toilet humour?). In fact, it’s much sillier than that – this is a Sherlock Holmes spin off about a bunch of angsty, misfit teenagers who help their eccentric detective leader unravel London’s biggest mysteries.

Ok, we admit, if we were to rank the many, many Sherlock spin offs, this one wouldn’t be at the top of the list. But if you’re looking to persuade your teenage kids to take their headphones out and stop scrolling to enjoy a bit of family friendly TV, then this might be just the bartering tool.

Here Sherlock looks just like your common, craft beer drinking hipster, perfectly scruffy with a scraggy man bun and one hoop earring, complimented by a smattering of designer stubble. He and Dr Watson work with The Irregulars, a gang of ruffian teens, to gather information and help them crack their cases. But these aren’t the robberies and murders we’re used to with our usual Sherlock reimaginings – here supernatural forces are at play, and not very nice ones either. There’s witches, ghosts and birds pecking people’s eyes out. Luckily the leaders of the gang, sisters Bea and Jessie, have skills in the supernatural, and joined by Spike and Billy and Leo, they’re well prepped to solve London’s paranormal problems.

If there are any Holmes super fans among our readers, you’re likely wincing at the above paragraph, horrified that Conan Doyle’s classic novels would be butchered in such a way. But if you can separate this YA show from its very distant source material, it becomes much more palatable, and more of a cheeky, fun romp about Victorian London than an adaptation of a detective story. And in terms of teen telly, this is pretty perfect – senseless in all the right ways, with just enough gore and swearing to keep them interested.

And for you adults, The Telegraph’s Ed Power reckons this is “perfectly watchable,” thanks to being “puckishly irreverent towards Holmesian lore, feeling as much inspired by 19th-century ghost stories as by Arthur Conan Doyle.” The Guardian’s Euan Ferguson calls this a “lovely piece of teenage hokum,” saying it’s “great, but amounts to little more than the early 80s “young adult” slot on all channels at about 6.30pm, just with savagely better CGI and minimally more gore and sex.”

First shown March 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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