|The Adventures of Tintin|
|Created by||Hergé (characters)|
|Developed by||Stéphane Bernasconi|
|Voices of||(English version)|
|Theme music composer||Ray Parker |
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Executive producers||Michael Hirsh|
Clive A. Smith
|Running time||22 minutes (approx. per episode)|
|Production companies||Nelvana Limited|
Disney Channel Original Series
|Original network||FR3/France 3 (France)|
Global Television Network (Canada)
HBO (United States)
|Original release||2 October 1991 –|
28 September 1992
The Adventures of Tintin is a 1991/1992 animated TV show co-produced, written and animated in France by Ellipse Animation and in Canada by Nelvana International, based on The Adventures of Tintin by Belgian comic artist Georges Prosper Remi, more commonly known by his pen name Hergé ([ɛʁʒe]). Thirty-nine half-hour episodes were produced over the course of its three seasons.
The television series was directed by French director Stephen Bernasconi, with Peter Hudecki as the Canadian unit director. Hudecki was the primary director, but could not be credited as such due to co-production restrictions. 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 since the Belgian animation company Belvision was responsible for Hergé's Adventures of Tintin twenty years earlier. Philippe Goddin, an expert on Hergé and Tintin, acted as a consultant to the producers. The series' writers included: Toby Mullally, Eric Rondeaux, Martin Brossolet, Amelie Aubert, Dennise Fordham, and Alex Boon.
The series used traditional animation techniques and adhered closely to the original books, going so far as to transpose some frames from the original books 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 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 Story" and "Tintin in America", clearly demonstrated the artists' development during the course of the production of the television series. The series' original production language was English, but all visuals (road signs, posters, and settings) remained in French.
Certain aspects of the stories posed difficulties for the producers, who had to adapt features of the books for a younger audience. Nevertheless, this series was far more faithful to the books than the earlier Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, which was 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 often than he did in the books. Twice in the series, Tintin is portrayed as knowing various characters already (Thomson and Thompson and Allan 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. On these occasions Tintin had already interacted with these characters in the TV series, as stories were shown in a sequence different from the books.
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. 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 downplayed. In "Tintin in Tibet", Haddock is seen taking a sip 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. Despite of this, he keeps the bottle in the refrigerator (instead of hiding it in an astronomy book, like he did in the book), making it less obvious for young viewers that it is alcohol.
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.
Most of the newspaper parts which are in the books were replaced with either the news from the radio or television.
Three of the Tintin books were not included in the animated series. These were the first two Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (due to its unflattering portrayal of Russians) and Tintin in the Congo (due to issues around animal abuse and its racist colonial attitude towards the native Congolese) and the final Tintin and Alph-Art (due to it being incomplete).
The underscore music and the main title theme for the series were written by composers Ray Parker and Tom Szczesniak. The music was 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.
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 TV 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.
The series is now available on Amazon Prime and Netflix (in certain territories) having been remastered into 1080p widescreen high definition.
Main article: Tintin home video releases
Running order of the TV series as per original broadcast schedule.
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.