Why The Irregulars Was Canceled — Here's What We Know

(Welcome to Will There Be Another Season?, a series where we answer that question and explore what comes next.)

"Sherlock Holmes" has been explored in many ways in the pop culture landscape over the decades, with no shortage of projects in recent memory. These range widely in scope, from the Robert Downey Jr. movies, to Lucy Liu's show "Elementary," and even the recent "Enola Holmes" on Netflix.

But the streaming service also tried another radically different take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's canon with "The Irregulars," a show that proved quite popular in the early weeks when it was released in March of 2021. Fans of the show may be wondering, what is going on? Are we going to get a second season? Or was this a one-and-done situation? If so, why? We are here to answer all of those questions, even if they have unsatisfying answers in this particular case.

Here is everything we currently know about "The Irregulars" season 2.

What Is The Irregulars?

"The Irregulars" is a mystery series with a supernatural twist using characters from the "Sherlock Holmes" canon. The show, generally speaking, follows a troubled gang of street teens who crosses paths with Watson and Holmes. The synopsis for the show reads as follows:

Set in Victorian London, the series follows a gang of troubled street teens who are manipulated into solving crimes for the sinister Doctor Watson and his mysterious business partner, the elusive Sherlock Holmes. As the crimes take on a horrifying supernatural edge and a dark power emerges, it'll be up to the Irregulars to come together to save not only London but the entire world.

The main cast included Thaddea Graham, McKell David, Harrison Osterfield, Jojo Macari, and Darci Shaw. Royce Pierreson was on board as Watson alongside Henry Lloyd-Hughes as the illustrious Sherlock Holmes. The show came from the mind of Tom Bidwell, who served as the writer and executive producer.

The Irregulars Was Swiftly Canceled

Sad to say for those who enjoyed this take on the age-old sleuth and the universe he occupies, but "The Irregulars" was already axed by Netflix after just one season. As was reported by Variety back in May, the show had been canceled. What's particularly important to note is that the decision was made rather quickly by Netflix, as the article was published just a handful of weeks after the series debuted.

At the time, Tom Bidwell didn't say anything on the record, nor did Netflix. The cancellation was handled somewhat quietly. The show came, it aired, it went, and that is that. But the situation leaves some unanswered questions, especially given that it seemed to have an audience.

Why Was The Show Canceled Even Though It Was a Hit?

There are some important things to cover when it comes to "The Irregulars" and why its short run seems, well, irregular. For one, it topped Netflix's daily streaming charts upon its debut — not just in the U.S., but in multiple countries. What is perhaps even more interesting is that, at one point, Production Weekly had listed the show was gearing up for season 2 in summer 2021. That didn't come to pass, but it may have been on the table at one point.

That said, topping the charts doesn't guarantee a renewal, especially in the streaming world. Something similar happened with "Away," which dominated Netflix upon its release but also isn't returning for another season. It's rare, but it happens. The question is, why? It comes down to production cost versus viewership. Netflix's vice president of original programming Cindy Holland laid it all out pretty succinctly during the Television Critics Association press tour in 2018, saying the following:

"The biggest thing that we look at is, are we getting enough viewership to justify the cost of the series?"

So, the cut and dry answer here is that "The Irregulars" did not generate enough viewership to justify the cost. That implies that the show was quite expensive to produce. So, if it had somehow been a bit more affordable to bring to life, we'd almost certainly be getting a second season. But that's not the way the chips fell.