This review is spoiler-free.
I’m not sure what I was expecting going into The Irregulars, but it’s safe to say that by the end of it, I was very pleased that I took the chance on it!
If you like supernatural stories, great acting, Victorian London and the world of Sherlock Holmes then this crazy genre mash-up is the one for you! The horror elements are handled really well and blend in nicely with the human drama aspects of the show. It isn’t all dark and tense though, there is plenty of warmth and humour sprinkled throughout, so it has a really nice rounded feel to it.
When it comes to the cast, the show’s performers are its strongest asset! From the main cast to the supporting roles, this series is populated with a tremendous amount of talent. The main five all have their own strengths and moments to shine, to emote and to win over the hearts of the audience. Obviously some have more story focus and screen time than others, but not one of the Irregulars, is left behind. Each character is fleshed out really well and you take to them very quickly. While no one gets left behind, there is one whose talent and performance stands out and that is the show’s lead Bea (Thaddea Graham). This is the first thing I’ve seen Graham in, and going forwards I want everything I watch to have her in it! She seamlessly transitions from strong to vulnerable, from humorous to dramatic with incredible ease. There is such a believability about her performance that she completely sucks you in to her character. You know those moments when you just know you are watching something special? This was the case here with Thaddea Graham. Simply stunning! If nothing else, this series is worth watching for her performance alone!
While I could gush over ‘Queen Bea’ all day, take nothing away from her fellow Irregulars, Jessie (Darci Shaw), Leopold (Harrison Osterfield), Billy (Jojo Macari) and Spike (McKell David). Each of these talented performers have big things ahead of them and they all work together in such a way that you just buy into this group and how they interact with each other. Then there are the sub-relationships within the main group that cross over various sub-plots as the series goes on. Everyone has their own thing that they are trying to deal with, but rather than being a distraction, it is seamlessly all interwoven with the main story.
Away from the Irregulars, we have Sherlock (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Watson (Royce Pierreson). Now, these two work so well together as Holmes and Watson that I want a prequel series, it doesn’t even have to connect to the supernatural elements of the present storyline. Hughes delivers a truly unique portrayal of Holmes, it’s a dark, broken and tormented performance and one that we very rarely get to see. As for Pierreson, his star continues to rise as his character goes on a rollercoaster of journey through the 8 episodes. We also get a moment between these two that I have personally wanted for a very long time. It wasn’t forced, it was very natural and it is executed perfectly. *chefs kiss*
Finally, I want to give a big shout out to Rory McCann, Sheila Atim and Anna Maxwell Martin who all really stood out in their ‘one off’ episodes. This show was just perfect casting from start to finish.
So, the negatives, well, I will admit, the first episode was a little rough around the edges. So much so, that I wasn’t sure that I was going to like the show. Which is very strange, because I now love this show! By episode 2, the show finds it rhythm and it never looks back. Now, that’s not to say the first episode is bad, it just felt a little clumsy at times and some of the CGI looked really, cheap?
The one thing that I didn’t really take to, and that lasts throughout the series, was the choice of music. Modern songs in a Victorian setting. Now, that’s not to say that this music choice can’t work, but the contrast was just a little jarring at times. I think that if they had gone down a more traditional route, then it would have been much better. But, I understand that this is also a show targeted at a late-teens audience, so while it may not have worked for me, it had that Skins-type drama feel about it.
Other than that, there isn’t much else the show gets wrong. The main story is strong throughout, and while the ending was predictable, it was still enjoyable.
Overall, The Irregulars is a highly enjoyable genre mash-up, filled with unique supernatural stories set within the world of Sherlock Holmes and Victorian London. From an incredibly talented cast to a brave and bold story approach, The Irregulars deserves its place on your Netflix watch list.