HBO Max’s hidden gem, ‘Infinity Train’ constantly strives to break the stigmatization against western animation. Amongst many of his fellow creators, Owen Dennis (creator of ‘Infinity Train’) aims for a future where mature animated storytelling is consumed by all ages. The undeniable truth is that both teens and adults love animation just as much as children do. While children’s animated programming has seen a consistent level of quality each decade, adult animation is just getting started. Shows like ‘Castlevania’ and ‘Invincible’ are getting some genuinely impressive traction. However, what Owen Dennis has to offer with ‘Infinity Train’ is something that lies in the middle, a heartwarming show which can be watched by all ages despite offering some of Cartoon Network’s darkest concepts and imagery. Despite the overwhelming love and critical acclaim the show has garnered, the show has been cancelled prematurely. Until they reverse this decision, this will be known as Cartoon Network’s greatest mistake.
For those of you that heard the name but never watched the show, ‘Infinity Train‘ is an anthology series about different passengers who get stuck on a paranormal train. They wake up with a glowing green number on their hand which changes according to their actions. Each car they enter is a contained universe with its own set of unique denizens. To get off the train they need to get their number to zero, how? You just have to tune in to find out. Despite it being conceived as an eight-season show (eight / infinity… you get it), the show got cancelled after reaching its halfway point. The latest season set up what would’ve been a game-changing season leaving viewers with a bitter taste knowing the pay-off might never happen. What makes this cancellation incredibly infuriating is that it was not warranted in any way. The show has garnered quite an impressive cult following despite the rocky move from Cartoon Network to HBO Max. It’s one of HBO Max’s most viewed originals and it is currently trending so why would they cancel such a gem? It’s because it’s the only cartoon on the air right now willing to treat children and adult with the same level of respect.
The conversations this show has are the type that need to be heard by every age. When an animated show dumbs itself down, it is only insulting the children and/or teens watching it. Experiencing death, divorce or even struggling with your identity isn’t something that is exclusive to adults. If Cartoon Network wants to focus on more child-friendly content then they should do so without taking away the shows that treat their target audience with respect. It should also be taken into consideration that the show now airs on the same streaming service as ‘Harley Quinn’ and ‘Close Enough’ while Cartoon Network still exists on cable. While the Network is producing more “child-friendly” shows for HBO Max, having a show that maturely speaks to children will not diminish the brand they’re aiming for. If there’s one thing children love, it’s to watch shows that stimulate their imagination and thought process, just look at the impact a show like ‘Adventure Time’ has on an entire generation. ‘Infinity Train’ is a testament to that creativity and willingness to trust their audience with respect.
The complete dismission of the fact that animated content can be consumed by any age is what got this show cancelled. ‘Infinity Train’ fell in the middle of a spectrum and studios seem to pick one side or the other. It’s a show which balances wonder and heart with tragedy and dark lore. Animated content shouldn’t have to be extremely childish or extremely adult, there should be more shows which fall in the middle. This show was ahead of its time and it spoke to a lot of people because of that. Saying that a show demands to reach its full potential is to say that the show’s impact on its fanbase is strong enough to get it back. ‘Infinity Train’ deserves your attention and most importantly it deserves to be finished.
Books 1-4 of ‘Infinity Train’ are available to stream on HBO Max right now!