The public’s appetite for all things Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed fictional detective—appears to be limitless, with film, TV adaptations, and/or reinventions being released almost every year. The latest offering is The Irregulars, a new supernatural drama from Netflix, that focuses on the the ragtag group of street urchins the Baker Street sleuth often relied upon to gather useful information.
Netflix also ventured into Holmesian lore last year with the film Enola Holmes, starring Millie Bobby Brown as the young (and equally brilliant) teenaged sister of Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). It garnered generally positive reviews, and vague plans are circulating for a sequel, despite a lawsuit filed by the Conan Doyle estate over the portrayal of an overly “emotional” Holmes. (The lawsuit was dismissed last December.)
Netflix greenlighted The Irregulars in 2018, created by Tom Bidwell (who also produced an adaptation of Watership Down for the streaming platform). Bidwell had long had the idea for a series centered on the Baker Street Irregulars, led in the original fiction by a boy named Wiggins. The group is first mentioned in the 1887 story “A Study in Scarlet,” in which Holmes pays them each a shilling to track down a particular cabbie. They also feature in a chapter of the 1890 novel The Sign of the Four, and one member of the group briefly pops up in the 1893 short story “The Adventure of the Crooked Man.” Holmes described the Irregulars as being “sharp as needles… all they want is organization.”