|Created by||Jay Stephens|
|Directed by||Bob Richardson
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39 + 1 film (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||William T. Bauman
Bruce D. Johnson
|Running time||18-22 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||Porchlight Entertainment
Discovery Kids Original Productions
|Original network||Discovery Kids|
|Original release||November 1, 2003– October 11, 2008|
Tutenstein is an American animated television series, produced by Porchlight Entertainment for Discovery Kids based on the comic by Jay Stephens which was published in Oni Press' JetCat Clubhouse. The half-hour series features young mummy Tutankhensetamun (based on real-life Tutankhamun and usually called "Tutenstein" as in the title) who is awakened about 3,000 years after his accidental death and now must face the fact that his kingdom is gone. The name is a portmanteau of Tutankhamun and Frankenstein. On October 11, 2008 a TV movie entitled Tutenstein: Clash of the Pharaohs aired on Discovery Kids.
ABN reported "with regard to the ongoing theme of ancient temples and history found in his animated shows Tutenstein and The Secret Saturdays, [Jay] Stephens quips, "I'm a nerd. I like reading about history and mythology. And the past is full of surprises."
The production company, PorchLight Entertainment, which is based in Los Angeles, California, has won Emmys for the first and second seasons of the series. Irish TV production company Telegael, which is based in An Spidéal, Co Galway, also won an Emmy Award for the second season.
Many of the gods portrayed in the series resemble their historical portrayals and all the Egyptian myths mentioned in the show are genuine. The Scepter of Was being portrayed as an all-purpose magic wand is fictional, though the Was itself is a genuine Egyptian symbol. Unlike Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 18, this Tut (Tutahnkensetamun) died when he was 10. On the other hand, Tutenstein is drawn with a cleft lip, just like the real Tutankhamun. The ancient game senet did exist, but as no precise rules for the game have been preserved, the rules as shown in the series are not accurate. Egyptologist Dr. Kasia Szpakowska served as a consultant to the series.
Common Sense Media gave the show a rating of 3 stars out of 5, saying "The character of Tut is amusing, with his combination of childishness and egotism, and his interaction with Cleo and Luxor can be quite funny. The resolutions of the stories are fairly predictable – Tut uses his powers for good to help his friends, and harmony is restored – but the situation is unusual enough to keep the show fresh." DVD Verdict said "To be fair, as a product of the Discovery Channel, the producers have tried something slightly different with Tutenstein. It's educational children's programming, the attempt of an educational station to compete with more popular stations. Each episode incorporates some educational tidbits: explaining aspects of ancient Egyptian mythology and history. Unfortunately, the learning gets a bit mixed up with all the other nonsense." The Sydney Morning Herald wrote "It's The Mummy for kids... There's no Brendan Fraser or Rachel Weisz here, but the humorous dialogue – and the inclusion of a talking cat – should be a winner among younger viewers."
Awards and nominations
|2004||Tutenstein||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Won|
|2006||Tutenstein||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Nominated|
|2007||Tutenstein||Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Won|
The series premiered on Discovery Kids and NBC on November 1, 2003. After the closure of Discovery Kids, The Hub aired the show from October 11, 2010 until December 31, 2011. It also aired on the American Spanish network Azteca America from December 1, 2013 until June 1, 2014.
- Piccione, P. A. (1980), 'In search of the meaning of Senet', Archaeology, 33, 55-58.