- Brian Donaldson
- 2 April 2021
A Baker Street gang with a difference as paranormal problems are solved with haste and relish
A fresh screen treatment of Sherlock Holmes is nothing new, with Arthur Conan Doyle's supersleuth seemingly cropping up re-energised and revamped every couple of years. Far removed from the stiff upper-lipped duo of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce have been the likes of Jeremy Brett's violin-playing and opium-obsessed crimewatcher, and Benedict Cumberbatch's mind-palace detective, while Lucy Liu stepped up to play a female Watson alongside Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock. Even the Russians, Japanese, and Guy Ritchie have all had a go.
The Irregulars arrives as the second Netflix variation in quick succession after Millie Bobby Brown's recent role in Enola Holmes. Here, Sherlock and Dr John take a slight backseat to the antics of this eponymous gang, a collection of street kids who are corralled by Watson (Royce Pierreson) into investigating some curious, paranormal-shaped goings-on in ye olde London town (the BBC first put that Baker Street crew on screen in 2007).
Led by the non-nonsense Bea (Thaddea Graham) and her supernatural sister Jessie (Darci Shaw), this daring bunch of teens rapidly solve a mystery per episode, involving such terrors as a demonic tooth fairy, killer crows, and a face stealer, while keeping a firm eye on the through-line of their own origins story (exactly why does a dapper Clarke Peters show up every now and again in their visions?). Thankfully, none of the baddies pronounce that they might have gotten away with it were it not for those pesky kids; a Scooby-Doo vibe notwithstanding (with added swearing and a splash of gore), The Irregulars is pitched somewhere between MI High and Doctor Who: when Henry Lloyd-Hughes' Sherlock does finally appear, some will find it impossible not to think of Christopher Eccleston's Time Lord. The Irregulars is unlikely to go down as anything more than a footnote in the Holmes pantheon, but over eight zipping instalments, it's still entertaining and distracting fare.
All episodes available now on Netflix.