Who knew that while Holmes & Watson were busy crime-busting, on the other side of the 221B Baker Street door there was a teen street gang carrying out a lot of the field work?
That’s the premise of Young Adult series The Irregulars now screening on Netflix.
It’s Victorian London and four misfit teens are living from hand to mouth, struggling to get by.
They are gang leader Bea (Thaddea Graham) her sheltered sister Jessie (Darci Shaw), spirited Billy (Jojo Macari) and resourceful Spike (McKell David).
While Jessie has night visions of spectres, her older sister Bea is ever-protective, if worried how to make money to survive. But she is offered a task by the ice-cold Dr. Watson (Royce Pierreson), who runs a detective agency with his business partner (and we just know whom that is). They need some minions to penetrate lower circles in a case of missing babies and will pay handsomely for services rendered.
Meanwhile local frustrated prince Leopold (Harrison Osterfield) demands a day of freedom from his palace to head out into the city, whereupon he stumbles upon Bea. Unable to resist her unbridled personality he befriends the troupe and imparts knowledge that is crucial to their quest.
Needless to say, not everything will go as planned, with varying degrees of jeopardy, adventure, supernatural and potential romance (a Netflix directive forbids me from discussing “romantic relationships or feelings between characters”).
Accompanying this adventure is a contemporary soundtrack (matched oddly by some current dialogue) and some snappy editing, while there is clearly an attempt to cast blind with diverse actors. Yet for a Young Adult series I was momentarily thrown by moments of nudity.
This a reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes (played elusively by Henry Lloyd-Hughes) & Watson tale. It shifts the story sideways and does not present the duo in a traditionally heroic partnership. Points for thinking laterally.
Of the young cast Thaddea Graham is the early stand-out, but McKell David is one to watch. The production values are also high, bringing Victorian London to life both as sets and CGI.
Given the bold risks, it’s hard to know where this will go, either on a wild ride of its own or one that has strayed too far from the tried and true. It’s almost elementary.
The Irregulars is now screening on Netflix.