If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, you might find yourself clicking into The Irregulars. The Netflix original follows a group of teens who solve crimes in Victorian London, which sounds promising. But The Irregulars is the least original “original” story I’ve ever seen. The show feels less like its own property and more an amalgamation of all the shows I’ve
loved watched before—and not in a good way.
I can’t fault the streaming service for using some public domain characters and concepts from the horribly beautiful mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Mashing up the classics has brought us gems like Clueless (based on Jane Austen) and The Lion King (based on Shakespeare) in the past, which are both cinematic masterpieces.
In theory, a show about street tuffs solving mysteries while Holmes takes the credit is a fresh take. But it feels like The Irregulars was designed by the Netflix algorithm to be the “If you like…” suggestion for every single show or movie on the streaming service. The similarities between it and every other show or movie that Netflix has are weirdly specific and uncanny.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll probably enjoy The Irregulars. How could you not? It has so many elements pulled from Netflix shows that have proven to be wildly successful. I actually really like that it’s a monster-of-the-week show with new mysteries and antagonists in every episode. That sets it apart from other Netflix series, but that’s unfortunately one of the only things.
Maybe I’ve watched so much Netflix over the past few years that it’s all just started blurring together. Even the casts start looking the same after a while, and in this case, it’s because the cast of The Irregulars includes actors from other Netflix properties, like Dark, The Witcher, and Sex Education. Hollywood is obsessed with describing stuff using that “it’s X meets Y” formula…but while the powers that be would probably like me to say “The Irregulars is The X-Files meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or something like that, all I see are the Netflix originals that came before it. Here, in no particular order, are all the things The Irregulars seems to have borrowed from other stuff.
It’s a horny period drama.
I’ve heard of that show. It’s called Bridgerton, right?
It’s Sherlock Holmes with a female lead.
That could be about The Irregulars. It could also be about Enola Holmes.
One of the characters can do astral projection.
Are you talking about The Irregulars or are you talking about Behind Her Eyes?
No, she has more supernatural powers she can’t control.
So, like, The Umbrella Academy? Or Stranger Things? Or Cursed? What about Warrior Nun?
Someone is stealing babies in the first episode!
Saw that in Fate: The Winx Saga. Next?
Another girl is stealing faces, like on Game of Thrones!
That’s not a Netflix show.
There’s this prince who just wants a normal life.
Yup. We’ve all seen The Crown.
There’s a really scary plague doctor….
That describes not only The Irregulars but also The Haunting of Bly Manor.
There’s also a guy with a Southern accent for no reason?
Teenage Bounty Hunters, Outer Banks, Sweet Magnolias…I can keep going! The Netflix walls are collapsing.
I could keep going, but I’m simply too tired to do so. Sorry to burst your bubble, Netflix, but we’ve all been stuck in our houses too long and seen way too much of your archive not to notice this.
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