Netflix’s latest teen drama The Irregulars is just like any of the platform’s other series aimed at young adults: a ragtag group of hormonal adolescents work together to fight some form of dark presence. While the likes of Stranger Things, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Riverdale have shown that the streaming giant is both experienced and capable in delivering exceptional content of this type, the first two episodes of their newest dark teen fantasy fall flat in every respect.
Set in Victorian London, the show follows a group of street kids who become embroiled in investigating supernatural phenomena sweeping the city when they’re approached by a mysterious Dr Watson (Royce Pierreson). The group consists of no-nonsense and hardened Bea (Thaddea Graham), tough but caring Billy (Jojo Macari), fast-talking wise guy Spike (McKell Davis – who’s basically Michael Peña from Ant-Man), and Jessie (Darci Shaw), who possesses powers that let her enter the minds of others. The group is soon joined by rich boy Leo (Harrison Osterfield).
The opening episodes are modelled on the monster-of-the-week format that sees the crew met with a different investigation each time. Every mystery is dark in tone (the first centring around babies being kidnapped) and creatively macabre, but they’re nevertheless massively underwhelming for a multitude of reasons, the most glaring issue being that the mystery and romance plotlines are constantly vying for the spotlight, which creates a jarring viewing experience. Cutting from the corpse of a girl who’s had her eyes pecked out to a sex dream is just one example of the many tone-deaf moments that shatter the atmosphere in the beginning chapters. Likewise, a sappy pop soundtrack does little to establish an appropriate tone; it’s simply a lazy way of appealing to its target audience.
The horror elements of the show, while there, are disapprovingly diluted. What start as intriguing concepts soon deteriorate into contrived ideas that have already been done countless times in much better shows. It also doesn’t help matters that each investigation is quickly resolved after one convenient discovery. To put it bluntly: there’s no horror or intrigue in this supernatural mystery series.
A plot development at the end of the second episode hints at bigger things to come, though there’s very little here that will keep viewers interested to see what comes next.
The Irregulars is released on Netflix on 26th March 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Irregulars here: