The Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin (TV).jpg
Created byHergé (characters)
Developed byStéphane Bernasconi
Voices of
Theme music composer
  • Ray Parker
  • Tom Szczesniak
  • Ray Parker
  • Jim Morgan
  • Tom Szczesniak
Country of origin
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Canada
Original languages
  • French
  • English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes39 (13 in each season)
Executive producers
  • Michael Hirsh
  • Patrick Loubert
  • Clive A. Smith
  • Phillipe Gildas
  • Pierre Bertrand-Jaume
  • Simon Hart
ProducerRobert Rea
Running time22 minutes (approx. per episode)
Production companies
Original network
Picture formatSECAM
Original release2 October 1991 (1991-10-02) –
28 September 1992 (1992-09-28)

The Adventures of Tintin is an animated television series co-produced, written, and animated by French animation studio Ellipse Programme and Canadian studio Nelvana Limited. The series is based on the comic book series of the same name by Belgian cartoonist Hergé (French pronunciation: ​[ɛʁʒe]).[1] 39 half-hour episodes were produced over the course of three seasons, originally airing in France, Canada, and the United States between 1991 and 1992.[2]


The television series was directed by French director Stéphane Bernasconi, with Peter Hudecki as the Canadian unit director. Hudecki was the primary director but could not be credited due to co-production restrictions. It was produced by Ellipse (France) and Nelvana (Canada) on behalf of the Hergé Foundation.[3] The series' writers included Toby Mullally, Eric Rondeaux, Martin Brossolet, Amelie Aubert, Dennise Fordham, and Alex Boon. It was the second television adaptation of Hergé's books, following the Belgian animation company Belvision's Hergé's Adventures of Tintin.


The series used traditional animation techniques[4] and adheres closely to the original books, going so far as to transpose some frames from the original books directly to the screen.[5] 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.

Artistically, the series chose a constant style, unlike in the books. In the books, the images had been drawn over the course of 47 years, during which Hergé's style developed considerably. However, later televised episodes, such as the "Moon" stories and "Tintin in America", clearly demonstrate the artists' development throughout the production of the television series. The series' original production language was English, but all visuals (road signs, posters, and settings) remained in French. Backgrounds in the show were more detailed and more cinematic shots were featured than in the original books.


Along with fans, critics have praised the series for being "generally faithful" to the originals, with compositions having been actually taken directly from the panels in the original comic books.[6]

Changes from the books

Certain areas of the stories posed significant challenges for the producers who had to adapt features of the books to a younger and more modern audience. Nevertheless, this series was a much more faithful retelling of the books than the previous television adaptation. The frequent instances of violence, death, and the use of firearms were toned down or removed completely. The use of text as a major part of the plot, such as the use of newspaper articles or writing on the wall, was largely cut so these scenes would not have to be reanimated for every language in which Tintin was aired. The radio and television are both used more frequently in the TV series to make up for the omission.

Captain Haddock's penchant for whisky posed a problem for audience sensitivities. While the original books did not promote alcohol, they featured it heavily, with much humor based on 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. "The Crab with the Golden Claws" is the only episode where Haddock's drinking is not significantly downplayed though it still played a pivotal role in several other episodes. In "Tintin in Tibet", Haddock is seen taking a sip from a flask of whisky to set up a scene in which Snowy, Tintin's dog, is tempted to lap up some spilled whisky and subsequently falls over a cliff. In "Tintin and the Picaros", Haddock is the only person taking wine with dinner, foreshadowing the use of Professor Calculus' tablets to "cure" the drunken Picaros. Haddock is also seen drinking in "The Calculus Affair" and "Explorers on the Moon", setting up the scene where he leaves the rocket in a drunken state. He does not hide the bottle in an astronomy book, as he does in the book, but keeps it in the refrigerator, making it less obvious for young viewers that it is alcohol.

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. The only time it is maintained is in the ending of "Flight 714", when he "speaks" with Tintin's voice.[citation needed]

The character Jolyon Wagg only appeared in three stories ("The Calculus Affair," "The Seven Crystal Balls," and "Tintin and the Picaros") despite being in all but one installment of the book series.

List of changes

Smaller changes were made due to the necessity for simplification or audience requirements:

"The Calculus Affair"

"The Red Sea Sharks"

"Tintin and the Picaros"

"Tintin in America"

"King Ottokar's Sceptre"

"The Secret of the Unicorn"

"Red Rackham's Treasure"

"The Black Island"

"Cigars of the Pharaoh"

"The Blue Lotus"

"The Broken Ear"

"Flight 714"

"Tintin in Tibet"

"The Shooting Star"

"Land of Black Gold"

"The Crab with the Golden Claws"

"Destination Moon"

"Explorers on the Moon"

"The Seven Crystal Balls"

"Prisoners of the Sun"

"The Castafiore Emerald"

Stories not adapted

Three of the Tintin books were not included in the animated series:

Hergé's cameo appearances

Hergé, the creator of Tintin, makes cameo appearances reminiscent of Stan Lee and Alfred Hitchcock in each episode of 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 a passerby checking his watch in "The Blue Lotus", a reporter in "The Broken Ear", or a technician in "Explorers on the Moon". His letterbox can be seen next to Tintin in "The Crab with the Golden Claws". He also appeared as a gangster in "Tintin in America" and an asylum inmate at the in "Cigars of the Pharaoh", along with his fellow artist and collaborator Edgar P. Jacobs.[7]


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


Online platforms

Since its remastering into 1080p widescreen high definition, Amazon Prime and Netflix have both made the series available in certain territories.

Home video

Main article: List of Tintin home video releases

Voice artists

English (The Adventures of Tintin)

Additional voices were provided by:

French (Les Aventures de Tintin)


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

Season 1

No.TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard by
1–2"The Crab with the Golden Claws"Stéphane BernasconiJ. D. Smith, Robert Rea and Christophe PoujolStéphane Bernasconi
3–4"The Secret of the Unicorn"Stéphane BernasconiChristophe PoujolBernard Deyries
5"Red Rackham's Treasure"Stéphane BernasconiAlex BoonFrancois Hemmen
6–7"Cigars of the Pharaoh"Stéphane BernasconiAaron BarzmanChristian Choquet
8–9"The Blue Lotus"Stéphane BernasconiLaurel L. Russwurm and Robert ReaRaymond Jafelice and Gilles Cazaux
10–11"The Black Island"Stéphane BernasconiPeter MeechChristian Choquet and Bernard Deyries
12–13"The Calculus Affair"Stéphane BernasconiToby Mullally and Eric RondeauxPascal Morelli

Season 2

No.TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard by
1"The Shooting Star"Stéphane BernasconiPeter Meech, J. D. Smith and Robert ReaRaymond Jafelice, Stéphane Bernasconi and Franck Ekinci
2–3"The Broken Ear"Stéphane BernasconiAlex Boon, J. D. Smith and Robert ReaRaymond Jafelice and Jean-Charles Finck
4–5"King Ottokar's Sceptre"Stéphane BernasconiE. Shipley Turner, Martin Brossollet and Robert ReaRaymond Jafelice and Gilles Cazaux
6–7"Tintin in Tibet"Stéphane BernasconiBruce Robb and Christophe PoujolRaymond Jafelice, Franck Ekinci and Damien Millereau
8–9"Tintin and the Picaros"Stéphane BernasconiBruce Robb and Amelie AubertJean-Charles Finck
10–11"Land of Black Gold"Stéphane BernasconiDennise Fordham and Eric RondeauxRaymond Jafelice, Damien Millereau and Philippe Fernandez
12–13"Flight 714"Stéphane BernasconiDavid P. Scherer and Eric RondeauxRaymond Jafelice, Philippe Fernandez, Damien Millereau

Season 3

No.TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard by
1–2"The Red Sea Sharks"Stéphane BernasconiChristophe PoujolJean-Charles Finck
3–4"The Seven Crystal Balls"Stéphane BernasconiEric Rondeaux and Robert ReaDamien Millereau
5–6"Prisoners of the Sun"Stéphane BernasconiChristophe PoujolFrank Nissen
7–8"The Castafiore Emerald"Stéphane BernasconiEric Rondeaux and Martin BrossolletGilles Cazaux
9–10"Destination Moon"Stéphane BernasconiEric Rondeaux and Christophe PoujolDamien Millereau
11–12"Explorers on the Moon"Stéphane BernasconiChristophe PoujolGilles Cazaux
13"Tintin in America"Stéphane BernasconiEric Rondeaux and Robert ReaStéphane Bernasconi

See also


  1. ^ Elsworth, Peter C. T. (24 December 1991). "Tintin Searches for a U.S. Audience". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  2. ^ The Adventures of Tintin (Animation, Action, Adventure), Ellipse Animation, Nelvana, Fondation Hergé, 4 November 1991, retrieved 20 April 2022[better source needed]
  3. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 428–429. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  4. ^ "Popular Belgian comic-strip character 'Tintin' to get mega-boost on U.S. cable TV". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
  5. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 851–852. ISBN 978-1-4766-6599-3.
  6. ^ Lofficier, Jean-Marc; Lofficier, Randy (2002). The Pocket Essential Tintin. Pocket Essentials. p. 90. ISBN 1-904048-17-X.
  7. ^ "Hergé's cameo appearances". 27 March 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2016.