The Shows Are Afoot
The Irregulars is a fun little twist on the Sherlock Holmes mythos, but also something that’s likely to be pretty polarizing for the way it handles the fictional detective. However, the show also draws inspiration from many different shows too, creating a hybrid of different influences.
If you’ve finished watching this one and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top 10 picks for alternate viewing.
To keep things simple for skim-readers we’ve added what similarities these have.
Of course for all the shows we’ve reviewed, we’ve also added a handy link so you can check out our full thoughts on that series and see if it’s something you want to invest your time with.
So without further ado, we present 10 TV shows that should whet the appetite when you’ve finished streaming The Irregulars.
The Umbrella Academy
Similarities – Basic Story & Characters
The Umbrella Academy is really the full package. Slick action, a great ensemble of characters and some excellent story beats make this superhero story one of the best Netflix Originals on the platform.
Both seasons build up nicely with a decent amount of time dedicated to fleshing out every character and giving them a compelling arc. While the world-ending cataclysmic event is still here, it’s handled in a pretty smart and original way.
The action sequences are well shot and the simple story surrounding this misfit group of child-heroes teaming up to save the world is as engrossing as it is watchable. It’s also one of the better examples of a show outdoing itself in the second season. A must watch.
Similarities – Sherlock Holmes
Adapting a classic novel and making it contemporary and relevant whilst maintaining the essence of the original is no easy feat. It’s something we’ve seen many shows and films struggle to achieve.
Steven Moffat’s modern adaptation of Sherlock is one that bucks the trend for the most part, nailing the feel and authenticity of the book and its characters.
The natural chemistry between the two lead characters, John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, is ultimately what makes this show so appealing and together they elevate this show into one of the best in recent memory.
The cases themselves are pretty good and while the later seasons do career off into the usual convoluted Moffat plots, the opening two seasons are absolutely fantastic and enough to recommend this one.
Locke And Key
Similarities – Dark Mystery & Episodic/Serial Format
Locke & Key, based on the visual novels of the same name, blends lite-horror elements with a healthy dose of mystery. Resting all of this on the shoulders of our three child protagonists, you’d be forgiven for thinking this show is for kids. It most certainly is not.
The story itself revolves around three siblings, Bode, Kensey and Tyler, who move back into their childhood home Key House. Pushing aside the haunting memories of their Father’s murder (which took place inside these four walls), numerous magical keys lie hidden around the house that could hold the clue to the mysteries lurking within.
Despite feeling a little overlong at times, the series does well to keep itself engaging throughout its 10 episode season. With a second season green-lit, there’s plenty still to come from this one.
Similarities – Horror & Characters
The little gem on Netflix, Stranger Things is undoubtedly one of the biggest Originals on the platform. It’s also probably the only one safe from being cancelled any time soon.
The story revolves around a group of teens who become thrust into a supernaturally charged, heady world of nightmares when a young boy called Will disappears.
With little clues beyond a strange girl called Eleven who shows up with telekinetic powers, it’s up to a ragtag group of misfits to thwart the evil before it’s too late.
With some intriguing ideas about parallel worlds and some great throwbacks to the 80’s, Stranger Things is a solid choice and with plenty of story to get through, there’s enough here to whet the appetite ready for season 4.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Similarities – Coming Of Age & Supernatural Elements
Deliciously dark with a touch of charismatic charm, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a fine example of how to take an established comic and hit sitcom, change its tone and genre whilst maintaining the heart of what made the original so appealing.
From Kiernan Shipka’s inspired tenacious performance as half-witch/half-human Sabrina Spellman to the surprisingly gruesome and sinister tone, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina does a great job establishing itself as a unique and engaging show.
the story begins with Sabrina Spellman on the cusp of her 16th birthday, preparing for a very special ritual that welcomes her into the world of witchcraft. With a happy mortal life rich with friends and boyfriend Harvey, Sabrina finds herself torn between whether to abandon everything she holds dear for servitude to the Dark Lord or turning her back on the life she was destined for.
This struggle continues right the way through the various seasons, with extra layers of danger and tension added to the fold for good measure. This one’s definitely quite dark but it’s a decent coming of age series nonetheless.
Similarities – Horror, The Tooth Fairy & Characters
With four delightfully sinister tales to choose from, Channel Zero’s four-season run makes for really compelling horror viewing. However, our top pick remains seasons 1 and 3 in terms of similarities to the spooks served up in the early episodes of The Irregulars.
With a new spin on The Tooth Fairy (pictured above) and some seriously creepy dolls, this is matched by season 3’s Dream Door plot. The characters are interesting and the plot is suitably creepy too.
The other two seasons are good as well and tackle a variety of different ideas – this horror series is well worth watching.
Similarities – Unconventional Team-Up
Set in Victoria London, Penny Dreadful combines blood-soaked horror and mystery beautifully into one atmospheric series. The story essentially sees explorer Sir Malcolm Murray, American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, scientist Victor Frankenstein and medium Vanessa Ives uniting to combat supernatural threats together.
It’s a simple enough premise but where this show excels is in its storytelling and acting. Everything about Penny Dreadful oozes charisma and despite a slightly slow start during season 1, it quickly grows into a real powerhouse on the horror circuit.
It’s beautifully produced too, with some lavishly dressed sets and well-rounded characters.
Similarities – Period Drama & Murders
Gritty melodrama The Alienist is a stylishly produced detective series set in the late 19th Century. Boasting impressive cinematography, realistic costume design and a host of well written characters, The Alienist is essentially a blend of police procedural and psychological thriller.
At the center of this show is newspaper illustrator John Moore, who meets with a criminal psychologist (see: Alienist) called Dr Laszlo Kreizler. Together, they team up with the help of childhood friend Sara Howard to get to the bottom of a gruesome and mysterious murder. The second season then switches things up to see Sara Howard as the central protagonist, with another season-long mystery and a lively pace.
Bloody, tense and full of fascinating psychological developments, The Alienist is another London-based period piece you should definitely check out.
Similarities – Magic & Teen Angst
The Magicians is essentially Twilight meets Harry Potter. For some, this clash of tones will be an instant turn-off but for those invested in A Discovery Of Witches, this will certainly whet the appetite.
In its simplest form, the story revolves around a group of students who discover they’re graced with magical abilities after being recruited to a secretive academy. At the heart of all this lies our main character, Quentin Coldwater, who enrolls at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy.
Serving as an interesting juxtaposition is Quentin’s childhood friend Julia, who finds her hopes and dreams shattered when she’s denied entry to this very same university. Instead, she searches for magic elsewhere.
While a little campy and cheesy at times, The Magicians does well to flesh out its five seasons. If you’re sold after the first couple of episodes, you’re in for a real treat with this one.
Similarities – Banter & Characters
When it comes to a tight-knit group of teenagers forming an unlikely group, British series Misfits fits the bill perfectly. It’s a smartly written series that balances a combination of laugh out loud moments with much more profound bouts of drama.
The story here revolves around a group of young offenders out doing community service. When they’re struck by lightning during a storm, each of these misfits start to develop superpowers.
What follows is a nicely paced and well written adventure that’s perhaps darker than many many be expecting. However, it’s undeniably well written.
So there we have it, our 10 TV show alternatives to watch when you’re finished with The Irregulars on Netflix.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!