Infinity Train: HBO Max’s Treachery of Its Creator And Fans


Photo By Lilliana Bobé

A remote is pointed at the TV screen in front of it. HBO Max, a popular streaming service, is making a lot of upcoming changes to its platform.

     HBO Max recently purged 36 titles from their platform without any formal statement in what has been widely referred to as the HBO Max bloodbath. These changes began on Aug. 16, 2022, when series and shows were silently removed from the platform. Many of the titles removed were aimed at a younger demographic, with some examples being 200 episodes of Sesame Street, OK K.O! – Let’s Be Heroes, Infinity Train and many more. 

     Emma Bowman, a reporter for National Public Radio (NPR), stated that HBO Max pulled 36 titles from its platform due to the merging of HBO Max and Discovery+. Most of these titles were deemed unpopular by Discovery+ and will likely save both platforms money. Although this may be true for a lot of the removed content, one title that stands out in the list of shows taken off is Infinity Train, a show once saved by HBO Max. 

     Owen Dennis, an American director, writer and illustrator, has been very public about his perception of the current situation. His HBO Max original show, Infinity Train, has been one of the most talked about shows recently. Dennis shared his thoughts on the situation on Substack, an online publishing website. 

     “This might, ironically, have become the best advertising the show has ever gotten,” Dennis said. 

     Infinity Train was originally published on YouTube as a pilot in 2016 before getting picked up by Cartoon Network and premiering in 2019. Seasons one and two of Infinity Train were produced under Cartoon Network before getting picked up by HBO Max. Seasons three and four were produced with the same staff as seasons one and two but were funded by HBO Max as an HBO Max Original. The show was not renewed for a fifth season since Dennis’ stories and themes were considered too dark and inappropriate for children. Although the show did not last nearly as long as Dennis wanted it to, the series was received relatively well with an 8.4 out of 10-star rating on IMDb.

     Infinity Train is an anthology series that revolves around a mysterious neverending train. What makes this idea last is that each train cart contains an entirely different environment, making each cart special. The series contains a variety of diverse and unique characters that fit into their respective roles. Beth Elderkin, a content marketing manager and writer, stated that Infinity Train was canceled in 2021 due to the show taking a darker turn and being too mature for the target demographic. 

     On Aug. 20, 2022, Dennis publicly posted everything he knew on platforms such as Substack and Twitter to help clarify the situation. Dennis expressed his experience with the removal of his show and talked about possible solutions. 

     “We do know it was a direct order from Discovery, and it’s about saving money somehow. The consensus is that it has something to do with paying animators and artists the residuals that they’re owed for their work. Our pay is not complete without the ongoing residuals. Those residuals aren’t paid directly to the artists; they go to our union to pay for our healthcare,” Dennis said. 

     Currently, Infinity Train has been removed from HBO Max and Cartoon Network, as well as HBO Max’s and Cartoon Network’s YouTube and Twitter accounts. All music and soundtracks from the series have been removed from all music streaming platforms as well. Even so, it is still available on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu and Google Play. Physical copies are still available to purchase, although prices have skyrocketed recently from resellers. There is no information on how long Infinity Train will remain on those platforms as of now. 

     At this point, HBO Max removed 36 titles which included 20 originals. The merging with Discovery+ led to both streaming services removing any content with lower views to save money. The removal of these titles was quick to happen. With this sudden decision to remove Infinity Train, one of many series taken off the streaming platform, many fans are left wondering about the future of the series. 

     “I’ve seen all the thoughtful and wonderful things people have said about Infinity Train online and I’m very touched. My friends and I and many of the former members of the Infinity Train crew have been sharing images, texts and emails they’ve received about the show with each other, and every one of them is appreciated,” Dennis said.