Sherlock Holmes gets a supernatural twist in first look at Netflix's The Irregulars
The new mystery premieres March 26.
Step aside, Sherlock Holmes — The Irregulars are on the case.
EW has your exclusive first look at Netflix's dark new drama that's set in the world of Holmes but puts the Baker Street Irregulars front and center instead for a supernatural mystery.
Hailing from three of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels, the Baker Street Irregulars are a group of street kids the titular detective would sometimes employ in his cases to get information he wouldn't normally be able to access. In Netflix's adaptation, creator Tom Bidwell reimagined the young gang of boys from the books into a slightly older group of teens who are the only ones who can stop an impending dark magical threat from destroying London — and they don't need Holmes to do it. "Our story focuses on the Irregulars, the gang themselves. It's their story, their adventure," Bidwell tells EW. "Sherlock Holmes is in the story, it's his world, but he's not the central focus. He plays a big part of it, don't get me wrong, but it's about the kids and their journeys."
The onscreen version of the Irregulars is led by headstrong, fierce Bea (Thaddea Graham, second from left in the photo below) and includes her younger sister Jessie (Darci Shaw, third from left) and their friends Billy (Jojo Macari, first from the right), Spike (McKell David, third from the right), and newcomer Leopold (Harrison Osterfield, first from left). They're brought into the world of the supernatural and magical by Dr. Watson (Royce Pierreson, second from right), the dour business partner of the legendary Holmes (Henry Lloyd-Hughes, not pictured). And centering The Irregulars on a young female leader fighting to save her younger sister was a conscious choice on Bidwell's part, knowing that Holmes and Irregulars stories are usually male-dominated.
"We set out with that intention, why can't they go into what is predominantly a man's world and kick a bit of ass?" Bidwell says. The creator also made a few more changes to the overall tone of the show that's equal parts mystery, action, and romance in an effort to make it more modern. "I wanted to stay away from things that are classic period Victorian, more like Dickensian stuff. I wanted to make it feel exciting and scary and very, very fresh so these characters are very accessible to a modern audience. They have problems that we have, they don't speak in a period way, they speak to each other in a more contemporary way than you would probably expect from a Victorian adaptation."
Perhaps the biggest change from classic Holmes stories is Bidwell's choice to use a real supernatural threat. "The supernatural element brings a kind of Victorian horror to the show that's very different to what you'd expect in the Sherlock Holmes novels," he says. "Because sometimes I'm reading the Sherlock Holmes novels and I end up wishing that those [supernatural-seeming elements] were real. [Laughs] In our show, the mysteries can be solved, but they can't be very easily explained with rational thought — there's monsters and ghouls and horrors attacking the city of London."
But, being a self-proclaimed fan of Doyle's Holmes novels, Bidwell promises he's not here to destroy classic Holmes canon. "I didn't want to just take Sherlock and shred it to pieces just for the sake of doing it," he says. "I love the Sherlock Holmes books but I knew I wanted to make something very different, and make something that had a different type of Arther Conan Doyle stamp on it."
That's why he took inspiration from Doyle's own supernatural stories when it came to introducing a magical element into The Irregulars. "He's a spiritualist and was very interested in the supernatural and seances and mediumship and fairies and all kinds of things," Bidwell says. "I remembered The Golden Dawn and I thought, what a weird thing, this spiritualist, this guy who really believed in phenomena, wrote about this detective who really did not believe in phenomena and followed a logical explanation for everything. [Laughs] Wouldn't that be great for The Irregulars if we've got this clash of those two worlds, of the world Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about and the world that Arthur Conan Doyle actually lived in and his personality?"
And Bidwell actually began crafting that central idea for this series a long time ago. "That idea stayed with me for like a decade, at least, until it developed in my mind," he says. "When you're a young writer and you bring these big ideas that sometimes I think you're not quite ready to write them yet, maybe I've been kind of training my whole career to write The Irregulars and now I've finally made it!"
The Irregulars premieres March 26 on Netflix. Check out more first look photos from the new series below, like the Irregulars hanging out in their cellar home, talking out the particulars of their latest case:
Irregulars leader Bea would do anything for her sister Jessie:
But Bea's job of keeping Jessie safe is not easy:
Dr. Watson isn't exactly the best with kids:
Leo is the newest member of the Irregulars, and he's a lot cleaner than the rest of them:
And watch the first teaser below:
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