The Adventures of Tintin (TV series)

Not to be confused with Hergé's Adventures of Tintin.
The Adventures of Tintin
Genre Adventure
Created by Hergé (characters)
Voices of (English version)
Colin O'Meara
David Fox
Wayne Robson
John Stocker
Dan Hennessey
Susan Roman
Opening theme "The Adventures of Tintin Theme"
Composer(s) Ray Parker
Jim Morgan
Tom Szczesniak
Country of origin France
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39
Running time 22 minutes (approx. per episode)
Production company(s) Ellipse Programmé
Nelvana Limited
Original network HBO (United States)[1]
Family (Canada)
NHK (Japan)
Channel 4 (UK)
Original release 1991 – 1992

The Adventures of Tintin is a French-Canadian animated television series based on The Adventures of Tintin, a series of books by Hergé.[2] It debuted in 1991 and 39 half-hour episodes were produced over the course of its three seasons.


The television series was directed by Stephen Bernasconi with Peter Hudecki as the Canadian unit director. It was produced by Ellipse (France) and Nelvana (Canada) on behalf of the Hergé Foundation. It was the first television adaptation of Hergé's books in over 20 years. Previously, the Belgian animation company Belvision was responsible for their loose adaptations. Philippe Goddin, an expert in Hergé and Tintin, acted as a consultant to the producers. The writers for the series included Toby Mullally, Eric Rondeaux, Martin Brossolet, Amelie Aubert, Dennise Fordham, and Alex Boon.


The series used traditional animation techniques[3] and adhered closely to the original books, going so far as transposing some frames from the original albums directly to screen. In the episodes "Destination Moon" and "Explorers on the Moon", 3D animation was used for the Moon rocket—an unusual step in 1989. Each frame of the animation was then printed and recopied onto celluloid, hand painted in gouache, and then laid onto a painted background. The rocket seen in the title sequence is animated using the same 3D techniques.

Artistically, the series chose a consistent look, unlike in the books. In literature, the look had been drawn over the course of 47 years, during which Hergé's style developed considerably (compare early works like The Blue Lotus to the later ones such as Tintin and the Picaros). However, later televised episodes such as the "Moon Story" and "Tintin in America" clearly demonstrated the artists' development during the course of the series. The series was filmed with English voice acting, but all visuals (road signs, posters and settings) remained in French.

Changes from the books

Certain aspects of the stories posed difficulties for the producers, who had to adapt features of the books for a younger, more modern audience. Nevertheless, this series was far more faithful to the books than the earlier Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, which had been made from 1959 to 1963.

Some examples of these changes included toning down the high amount of violence, death, and the use of firearms in many adventures. Tintin's role was slightly downplayed and he scolded his dog Snowy less than he did in the books.

Twice in the series, Tintin is portrayed as knowing various characters already (Thomson and Thompson in "Cigars of the Pharaoh" and Piotr Skut in "The Red Sea Sharks"), when it was the first time they had met in the book version. However, the story chronology of the TV series is different from the comics, and on these occasions Tintin did indeed already know the characters, having interacted with them in earlier TV episodes.

Haddock's penchant for whiskey posed a problem for audience sensitivities. While the original books did not promote alcohol, they featured it heavily, with much humor based around it and the results of drinking. However, in many countries where the producers hoped to sell the series, alcoholism was a sensitive issue. Therefore, international versions of the series had some alterations. Specifically, Haddock is often seen drinking, but not as heavily as in the books. "The Crab with the Golden Claws" is the only adventure where Haddock's drunken state is not reduced. In "Tintin in Tibet", Haddock is seen taking a nip from a whiskey flask in order to set up a scene in which Snowy is tempted to lap up some spilled whiskey and subsequently falls over a cliff. In "Tintin and the Picaros", Haddock is the only person taking wine with dinner, foreshadowing the use of Calculus' tablets to cure the drunken Picaros. Haddock is also seen drinking in "The Calculus Affair" and in "Explorers on the Moon", setting up the scene where he leaves the rocket in a drunken state. It should be noted that he does not hide the bottle in an astronomy book, like he did in the book, but keeps the bottle in the refrigerator, making it less obvious for young viewers that it was alcohol.

The specific differences between each TV episode and comic book are:

Tintin in America, The Shooting Star and Red Rackham's Treasure are the only stories to be told in one part instead of two. In the second part of the stories, Tintin narrates some of the events of the first part at the beginning.

Throughout the books, Snowy is frequently seen to be "talking". It is understood that his voice is only heard through the "fourth wall", but this verbal commentary is completely absent in the television series.

Stories not adapted

Three of the Tintin books were not included in the animated series. These were the first two (Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo) and the final unfinished Tintin and Alph-Art.


The underscore music and the main title theme for the series was written by composers Ray Parker and Tom Szczesniak. The music was recorded by engineer, James Morgan. Excerpts from the score were released by Ellipse on CD and cassette in conjunction with Universal, on the StudioCanal label. It is now out of print in both formats.

Hergé's cameo appearances

Hergé, the creator of Tintin, makes a number of Hitchcock-like cameo appearances in the cartoon series—as he often did in the original books. Most of the time he is just a passing figure in the street, such as when he is checking his watch in The Blue Lotus or a reporter (The Broken Ear) or a technician (Explorers on the Moon). These brief appearances however are not sporadic as he is featured in all of the episodes. His letter box can even be seen next to Tintin's in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Other cameos are less flattering: he is a gangster in Tintin in America and an inmate at the lunatic asylum in Cigars of the Pharaoh, along with his fellow artist and collaborator Edgar P. Jacobs.[4]

Broadcasts and releases


In Canada, the series originally aired on Global, Family Channel, and on Radio-Canada in Quebec, with reruns subsequently aired on YTV, CBC, and Teletoon Retro. In the United States, the series originally aired on HBO with reruns subsequently aired on Nickelodeon. In the United Kingdom, the series originally aired on Channel Four on terrestrial television, and Family Channel, a channel based on CBN's Family Channel available through the original Sky system. It was later broadcast on Sky One until the show was purchased by Five. In Israel, the series was dubbed into Hebrew by Elrom Studios, and broadcast on the Israeli Channel 2, and later on Israel Broadcasting Authority. Tintin became very popular among kids and adults in Israel, the show was aired for several years rerunning many times.

In Australia, the series was broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as part of their ABC Kids programming block as well as on the ABC2 digital channel (5 April 1993 – 21 April 2006). It has been shown in its complete run at least twice, leading to screenings of the Belvision Hergé's Adventures of Tintin. As of October 2010, it is currently being aired on Boomerang. Later on, it stopped airing on TV in Australia. In New Zealand, the series was originally aired on TV2 of Television New Zealand and TV3. It continued to re-run on TV2 and TV3 for a few years afterwards. It then featured on Cartoon Network. In South Africa, the series was broadcast by KTV, a daily children's programme, on M-Net. In India, the series was broadcast by Cartoon Network in the summer of 2000 with a Hindi dub by Sound and Vision India. The original run was followed by many reruns. Doordarshan's DD National and Zee Alpha Bangla also showed the series with the original Hindi dubbing. Gemini TV aired the series in Telugu around the same time as Sabash Tintin. On 2013, it returned on Discovery Kids, during Republic Day 2013, but with a new Hindi dubbing voice cast, produced by a different dubbing studio. In the Philippines, it was aired in GMA-7 in the mid-1990s as part of the afternoon cartoon schedule.

Home video

Voice artists


Captain Haddock




Spanish (Spain-European)


Running order of the TV Series as per original broadcast schedule.

Season 1

  1. The Crab with the Golden Claws (Part 1)
  2. The Crab with the Golden Claws (Part 2)
  3. The Secret of the Unicorn (Part 1)
  4. The Secret of the Unicorn (Part 2)
  5. Red Rackham's Treasure
  6. Cigars of the Pharaoh (Part 1)
  7. Cigars of the Pharaoh (Part 2)
  8. The Blue Lotus (Part 1)
  9. The Blue Lotus (Part 2)
  10. The Black Island (Part 1)
  11. The Black Island (Part 2)
  12. The Calculus Affair (Part 1)
  13. The Calculus Affair (Part 2)

Season 2

  1. The Shooting Star
  2. The Broken Ear (Part 1)
  3. The Broken Ear (Part 2)
  4. King Ottokar's Sceptre (Part 1)
  5. King Ottokar's Sceptre (Part 2)
  6. Tintin in Tibet (Part 1)
  7. Tintin in Tibet (Part 2)
  8. Tintin and the Picaros (Part 1)
  9. Tintin and the Picaros (Part 2)
  10. Land of Black Gold (Part 1)
  11. Land of Black Gold (Part 2)
  12. Flight 714 (Part 1)
  13. Flight 714 (Part 2)

Season 3

  1. The Red Sea Sharks (Part 1)
  2. The Red Sea Sharks (Part 2)
  3. The Seven Crystal Balls (Part 1)
  4. The Seven Crystal Balls (Part 2)
  5. Prisoners of the Sun (Part 1)
  6. Prisoners of the Sun (Part 2)
  7. The Castafiore Emerald (Part 1)
  8. The Castafiore Emerald (Part 2)
  9. Destination Moon (Part 1)
  10. Destination Moon (Part 2)
  11. Explorers on the Moon (Part 1)
  12. Explorers on the Moon (Part 2)
  13. Tintin in America


Along with fans, critics have praised the series for being "generally faithful", with compositions having been actually directly taken from the panels in the original comic book.

See also


  1. "Tintin finds his way to America's HBO". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  2. Elsworth, Peter C. T. (24 December 1991). "Tintin Searches for a U.S. Audience". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  3. "Popular Belgian comic-strip character 'Tintin' to get mega-boost on U.S. cable TV". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  4. "Hergé's cameo appearances". 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2016-09-11.

Further reading

External links

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