Despite a slow start, and a focus on the more annoying than not Professor Calculus, ‘The Calculus Affair’ warms into probably the most intelligent, action-packed and thrilling of the Tintin episodes, a significant step up from the last entrance, 'The Black Island'.
Though chronologically out of line with the comics, the first Tintin episode on film is funny, mysterious, solidly scripted for a Tintin episode, and always engaging, setting the benchmark for a wonderful series.
Containing mystery, humour, adventure, and above all heart, ‘Tintin in Tibet’ is the most emotionally resolute of all the Tintin adventures, and with no clear-cut villains to be subdued, it instead focuses on the human spirit, the bonds of friendship and the strengths of persistence and compassion. This is a heartfelt return to form for the series after a few average episodes.
Its bold and unusual science fiction elements will not please everyone, but ‘Flight 714’ is a stylish and action packed Tintin instalment, actually along the lines of the James Bond series. There is humour, excitement, and even emotion to be found, and its involving characters and exciting finale place it among the best of the episodes.
Similar to ‘Flight 714’ in its style and complexity, ‘The Red Sea Sharks’ involves a plethora of return characters, an intelligent and involving story and exciting bursts of action, culminating in a feel-good adventure with a riveting climax.
Suspenseful, unpredictable, and sitting at a comfortable and compelling length, ‘Cigars of the Pharaoh’ is exactly what can be expected from a Tintin episode, even hinting at elements of the supernatural.
Enjoyed better when not taken seriously, ‘Tintin and the Picaros’ is a joyous romp, being the funniest and one of the most overall entertaining of the Tintin instalments. Surprisingly, it even manages to hint at political commentary and social injustice from the mid-20th Century.
Being Part one of a two-part episode, ‘Unicorn’ feels incomplete, but it benefits from darker material than its predecessor, and the mystery is involving enough to make Part 2 ('Red Racckham's Treasure') seem all the more appealing.
Following on immediately from ‘Secret of the Unicorn’, this episode does not stand well on its own, being too short and featuring some thin plotting, but if viewed and reviewed against Part one, there is a real sense of adventure and excitement to be found.
‘The Broken Ear’ feels somewhat rushed, and the plot occasionally seems to fold out a little too nicely, even for a Tintin episode, however from its eerie opening to dramatic conclusion it manages to hold your attention, and benefits at times from being strangely comic.
Obvious plot holes and a less intelligent than usual Tintin aside, ‘King Ottakar’s Sceptre’ is a mostly thrilling race against time, and includes some finely tuned comic elements, even if some neglect in the story often feels frustratingly obvious.
Following the running characteristic of recent instalments, ‘Land of Black and gold’ has some very funny moments, but its plot often leaves open some vital questions, and one of the central characters, Abdullah, is frustrating at the least. One of the weaker episodes, it nevertheless features some top action scenes.
The Tintin series takes a dramatic turn in ‘The Shooting Star’, a science fiction adventure which, despite being short and feeling underdeveloped, is nevertheless a refreshing change from the good vs bad scenario that we are used to. Unfortunately a lack of mystery and suspense still separate it from the best Tintin instalments.
One of the weaker Tintin episodes, ‘The Black Island’ often feels repetitive and aimless, and occasionally the characters seem to lack logic, but some thrilling sequences nevertheless keep it mildly entertaining.
I am currently in the middle of re-watching the Tintin series to build up some excitement for Spielberg's adaptation. Below are the ones that I have watched so far (I am watching them in the 1991 television series order), and I am trying to watch at least one a day if I have the time.