'The Irregulars' Canceled: Why Netflix Did Not Renew the Show for Season 2

The Irregulars have solved their last case. Netflix has canceled the supernatural Sherlock Holmes spinoff after one season, per Deadline. The streamer announced the show was ending just over a month after the first season was released.

Why Netflix canceled The Irregulars

The cancelation of The Irregulars may be a bit of a surprise to Netflix subscribers, as the show seemed to be a success according to the streamer's own daily top 10 charts. The Irregulars made the top 10 chart in over 80 countries. Another season was also thought to be a safe bet, with filming lined up to start on Season 2 in summer 2021 in the U.K. per industry publication Production Weekly.

The Irregulars also made it to the number one spot on Netflix U.S., which is usually a good indicator a show will be renewed. Recent non-limited series on Netflix that got renewed after making it to the top of the American Netflix charts include Ginny & Georgia, Firefly Lane and Bridgerton.

However, a number one spot does not guarantee renewal. Though rare, other shows have reached the top spot and were still canceled after one season. Most recently, this happened to Away, the Hilary Swank-starring space drama canceled last year.

the irregulars season 2
Still from "The Irregulars." Netflix

Away and The Irregulars have a key factor in common. Both are high-production value shows that were expensive for Netflix. This means that they both had to perform better than cheaper shows for the streamer to get value out of renewing them.

Though Netflix generally prefers to keep its decisions shrouded in mystery, in 2018, the streamer's vice president of original programming Cindy Holland said during a Television Critics Association event: "The biggest thing that we look at is, are we getting enough viewership to justify the cost of the series?"

Though The Irregulars did manage to make it to the top of the Netflix U.S. TV charts, it only managed it for one day, on March 28. This is the shortest run of any show this year, suggesting it was not an overwhelming success. It was also quickly overshadowed by Shadow and Bone, another fantasy series focusing on a cast of young adults, some of whom have supernatural powers. That show has so far had an 11-day run at the top of the U.S. charts.

Though Netflix's own charts do give us some idea of what subscribers are watching, they do not give us the whole picture. For these rankings, Netflix counts anything above two minutes as a "view," meaning that we do not know how many people finished the first episode, let alone binged the series. All of these are criteria Netflix uses in making a decision about which shows get to continue.

Netflix execs have previously revealed that decisions about a show's future are often made using the first month of viewing data. For example, if a viewer finishes a show within that time they know the show has kept them engaged. Notably, the announcement that The Irregulars has been canceled comes almost exactly a week after that first month of viewing data was available to Netflix.

The Irregulars is streaming now on Netflix.