Slow build, nice ending.
Certainly aimed at a younger/teen audience. Nothing wrong with that, it doesn't ALWAYS have to be graphic sex, violence and creative swearing.
First four episodes are "Monster of the Week," last four episodes really kick in the plot line. By the time they introduce, and kill, a major Doyle-canon recurring Holmesian character it's clear that this show is willing to take a few more risks than I thought from the first few episodes. The historical figure among the kid leads does go off to meet his historical fate. By the end you actually have a rather good exploration on the theme of loss. The way the season ends tells me that this project was envisioned as an 8-episode miniseries, not a multi-season arc.
I would have been fine with a young-adult series about a group of plucky kid adventurers who REALLY solve the crimes while Sherlock takes the credit. It's an obvious, but valid deconstruction of the public domain property. This was a bit more "Sherlock meets X-files."
Penny Dreadful isn't a bad comparison, actually. Certain similarities do abound. Of course, Irregulars kept the sex off screen, rather than Eva Green waking up the neighbors from three blocks over and Bille Piper showing off three different merkins, and Dorian Gray nailing everyone. Irregulars had a couple of eyes gouged out and had some opium use, but no one being ripped in half and beaten with their own limbs and no close ups of injecting opium into horrid collapsed veins. On the other hand, I didn't predict the ending of Irregulars from two seasons away like I did with Penny Dreadful (Seriously, Penny Dredful waited till the end of the third season to do backstory on Ethan, and I called all of it before Ethan was revealed as a *Spoiler Redacted*.
Well, for me, shows where I DON'T predict most of the major plot points three episodes in get bonus points and, with irregulars, I didn't.
For the record, I really enjoyed Penny Dreadful - especially Rory Kinnear who gets to play the best and most book-accurate of Frankenstein's creatures I've seen in film/TV. Also, a great deconstruction of Henry Jekyll - what a creative way to re-interpret him!
The "Baker Street Irregulars" really aren't defined in ACD's books. They're only mentioned six times in about 60 stories (And Moriarity only shows up in THREE!). The "Leader" of the Irregulars in Doyle is referred two twice, in stories set 8 years apart. I'm just saying that kid wasn't 10 years old for 8 years. And Watson's war-wound keeps moving. Watson is an unreliable narrator.
Anyway, back to the show. Perfect teeth is not a valid critique for TV/and Film, unless you think the actors need to be paid to have their mouths 1) ruined, 2) reconstructed. Besides, two of the five kids actually don't have perfect teeth. The kid playing "Spike" had some crazy nub-teeth. Mixed race? Africans in Brittain back to Roman times and there were certainly Chinese in Londonin the latter half of the 19th century. The African and Asian kids are historically accurate. It's prior productions doing the whitewashing. The sassy/backtalk kid is a trope dating back to the time period, so, again, that didn't bother me.
Really, the only anachronism that stuck in my craw was the use of "Guys" for generic summoning of others.
Yeah, overall I enjoyed Irregulars and would recommend it to about half of you. The others, I just know it isn't your thing.
But now we've moved on to "Turn" The Revolutionary War drama about Washington's spies. Four episodes in and that's been fun. The Hessians march for Trenton...