Stranger Things meets Bridgerton: “The Irregulars” Netflix Review

Stranger+Things+meets+Bridgerton%3A+%22The+Irregulars%22+Netflix+Review

Jenna Wiley, Editor-in-Chief

If you’re a fan of the OG Sherlock Holmes tales, you’ll know there is repeated mentions of a gang of street kids that help Sherlock and Dr. Watson out on cases. Now they have their own show.

But the Netflix series is more than just another Holmes adaptation. In fact, the detective takes a major back seat in this story. This is a Sherlock Holmes story that isn’t all about Holmes.

Picture: Netflix

The Irregulars isn’t just a Victorian mystery series; it’s a Victorian supernatural mystery series, with each episode following a different paranormal crime. Starting off with compelling monster-of-the-week episodes, the first season slowly teases an overarching mystery and builds up to a satisfying climax in a way that feels uniquely different from the typical rooted-in-reality Holmes mystery.

The Irregulars follows a gang of street kids led by the determined Bea. Her younger sister Jessie is burdened by mysterious nightmares, and all four of them are short on money and fear getting sent to a workhouse. When Holmes’ partner John Watson approaches Bea, asking her to help provide information on some criminal activity for Holmes she agrees, in exchange for a hefty sum. But as she and her friends dive deeper into the investigation they learn supernatural forces are at play, dramatically shaping London as they know it.

Picture: Netflix

Bea isn’t as immediately lively and bright. She starts off a little rough around the edges, though her hot temper makes her stand out. Eventually, it’s clear that Bea will do absolutely anything for her sister and her friends, that her strength lies in her compassion and loyalty and even though she’s been through so much, she refuses to let that spark die.

Jessie is also compelling, a dreamy young girl who finds herself with a growing, terrifying power that she’s too frightened to use. She just wants everyone to be happy and normal again. The three boys who round out the gang don’t really grow beyond their one-note descriptions: bubbly Spike, brooding Billy, and posh Leo.

The first half of the show follows separate incidents that are each chilling in their own way. They are all uniquely and wonderfully horrifying, and by tapping into speculative fiction, the creators of the show do a good job of feeling like it’s not chained to the great legacy of Sherlock Holmes.

As the characters slowly discover more about what is granting people horrifying powers, the audience also learns more about the backstory tying everything together — and how Holmes and Watson fit into the greater scheme of things.

Picture: Netflix

 

Admittedly, the show’s connection to Holmes’ literary legacy is thin at best. Bea and her friends do discover a more direct relationship to the master detective, but Sherlock Holmes could be any sort of brilliant Victorian detective in this case. It’s never really clear why he’s Sherlock specifically, except for the name drop, and to have characters like Mycroft Holmes and Inspector Lestrade make minor appearances.

But that said, the connection between this version of Holmes and Bea, Jessie, and their friends ultimately adds to the greater mystery. The cases aren’t solved by logical deductions based on minute observations; instead, they tap into the occult and often dive into the villains’ emotional motivators. The cases are thrilling and often terrifying, and they help construct an exciting mystery. It’s less about the who and the how, and more about the why. Even attached to the great legacy of Sherlock Holmes, The Irregulars manages to be its own unique thing — an exciting, horror-tinged supernatural Victorian mystery.