Sherlock Holmes experiences a magical twist and switch. The British Crime Drama Series debuted on Netflix on March 26, 2021. Tom Bidwell’s eight-episode series, set in Victorian London and based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, is part detective tale, part horror story, a mix of Sherlock and Doctor Who that sees a group of street-smart youngster reluctantly helping Dr. Watson (Royce Pierrson) solve a series of grisly happenings around the city.
Bidwell has given a subset of Doyle’s characters an amusing update, placing them in a parallel universe inhabited by tooth-stealing fairies and women who can transform themselves by skinning the faces of murdered men. The blood and darkness, as well as the sassy humor between the teenagers, fewer family-friendly thrills, and more Skins with demons, make the show more mature.
Many of the main characters have demons. There’s Dr. Watson’s brooding despair, Billy’s (Jojo Macari) and Bea’s (Thaddea Graham’s) simmering indignation over their childhood mistreatment in the workhouse, Jessie’s (Darci Shaw’s) shadowy recurring dreams, and Leopold’s (Darci Shaw’s) desperate need to fit in (Harrison Osterfield). There’s also the figure of Sherlock (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), who appears halfway through the series with his own set of demons. Although some are more compelling than others, all of the characters have depth, and the young cast members do an excellent job fleshing them out.
The crimes are smart, based on urban myths with a nightmarish supernatural twist, such as a botanist who creates a monster out of love. An ornithologist with frightening powers over birds. A taxidermist who specializes in skinning humans rather than animals. These enhanced skill sets are the result of the “rip,” tear in the reality continuum that is allowing all of these horrors to seep into Victorian-era, poverty-stricken London, which already resembles a dusty Hellmouth. We discover that birds prefer to pluck at eyes in particular. At one point, as the rip (undoubtedly a reference to the area’s most famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper) seeps into London’s underclass, one man feasts on another man’s entrails in the middle of the street.
The Irregulars’ gore veers on the gruesome side of picturesque, stretching the boundaries of its TV-14 ranking, which is disappointing because The Irregulars would have been a fun watch for tweens without all the bloodshed. Fortunately, The Irregulars’ young leads’ plucky resolve and their iron-like bond temper London’s effectively atmospheric hellscape (partially shot at Liverpool’s Stanley Dock, home of Peaky Blinders and Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes). Also, Holmes does not remain secret for long, but there is a reason Watson had to seek treatment elsewhere, as the famed detective is plagued with drug addiction.
Henry Lloyd-Hughes’ interpretation of the symbol is inspired, particularly in flashbacks that show his once-prominent (and often witty) genius. Holmes and Watson have an undiscovered connection to the kid gang and the rip itself, thanks to Jessie, who puts the “irregular” in The Irregulars. She’s a formidable clairvoyant who is always lost in dreams, but she also has the ability to penetrate the subconscious of these ordinary people who have been turned into murderers. The ornithologist, botanist, and others are ordinary citizens who pleaded for assistance out of desperation, only to be granted the ability to have their deepest desires fulfilled.
But, above all, The Irregulars serves as a portal, especially for fans of Sherlock Holmes in all his various guises, into some goosebump-inducing, jump-scare-filled mysteries—interesting, to be sure, but not for the faint of heart.
Episode List is as follow:
|1||“Chapter One: An Unkindness in London”|
|2||“Chapter Two: The Ghosts of 221B”|
|3||“Chapter Three: Ipsissimus”|
|4||“Chapter Four: Both the Needle and the Knife”|
|5||“Chapter Five: Students of the Unhallowed Arts”|
|6||“Chapter Six: Hieracium”|
|7||“Chapter Seven: The Ecstasy of Death”|
|8||“Chapter Eight: The Ecstasy of Life”|