All aboard the Infinity Train!
Infinity train has run four brilliant seasons, referred to as books, during its run on Cartoon Network and HBO Max.
An animated anthology series created by Owen Dennis, Infinity Train follows the train’s unsuspecting passengers as they deal with personal issues.
Infinity train has had a bumpy ride.
Originating as an eight-minute short, Infinity Train’s path to becoming an entire series wasn’t easy.
As of this writing, the Youtube short has garnered over five million views since its debut in 2016.
It took about two years for Cartoon Network to give the show the Green Light, and when they did, Infinity Train Season 1 finally got made a year later.
Premiering in 2019, the first season managed to achieve an average of around 500,000 views, which is no small feat for a darker animation.
Each book has a subheading, the first of which was The Perennial Child.
The Perennial child follows Tulip (voiced by Ashley Johnson) as she mysteriously gets trapped on the seemingly endless train.
A mysterious glowing green number appears on her hand, but she has no idea what it means — or how to get off the train.
The only way to get off the train and back into the real world is to get your number to zero, but the passengers don’t get told this information.
The train is not something evil; there’s no scheme or anything. The train is there to help the passengers deal with some emotional trauma.
Tulip is forced to deal with her parent’s divorce, and cannot attend the camp she wants to attend, and gets angry. She runs away, which is when she stumbles upon the train.
The train forces the passengers to help others to recover and grow themselves, and emotions always run very high.
Tulip is a beautiful character, and some of her personality got recycled in Book Two: Cracked Reflection.
Tulip frees her reflection after being confronted with the reflection’s life of being trapped in a mirror. The second season revolves around that freed reflection AKA Mirror Tulip AKA MT (also Ashley Johnson).
MT has to deal with finally being able to have a life of her own — but only on the train.
She becomes a companion of Jessie, a fun-loving boy who eventually forms a bond with the reflection girl.
Jessie is dealing with his issues, and MT eventually tries to help him get off the train.
During one of the episodes, the two run into a gang. The gang is not of creatures made by the train — it was a gang of kids that did not want to leave the train.
These kids (some teens) saw the train as a new life and decided to trash as much as they could. They believed that they “owned” the train and that it was for them to reign over.
This episode introduces two of the leads — Grace and Simon — of Book Three: Cult of the Conductor.
At this point, the show had shifted to HBO Max. The first two stories became a part of their library, and book three performed exceptionally well for the streaming service.
Because of the move to HBO Max, Infinity Train was finally able to embrace its darker side. The first two seasons had their disturbing moments and scenes of shock, but the switch to HBO Max gave the writers a bit more freedom.
Book three ended up becoming one of the most beautiful, terrifying, and heartbreaking storylines in children’s animation (and, arguably, adult animation).
Grace (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Simon believe that a higher number is better, and that’s what all of the members of the cult aim to do — get a higher number.
The two befriend a girl named Hazel, who seems like an ordinary passenger. The only difference? Her number isn’t glowing.
Grace writes it off as a glitch or an issue when she boarded the train, but Simon is much more skeptical.
The true terror in this season didn’t come from any train creatures (called Denizens by friendly passengers and Nulls by the cult); it came from Simon himself. The last few episodes of this season were exceptionally emotionally jarring.
Simon and Grace confront their genuine emotions, and the scenes become downright scary and will make anyone feel a strong passion.
HBO Max released one more season in 2021: Book Four: Duet.
Duet follows Ryan and Min-Gi as they become passengers on the train at the same time.
This is the only season to follow two passengers who entered the train simultaneously, and the result is another brilliant ten episodes.
Infinity train has a huge dedicated fanbase, and getting the show to season four was no small feat. The fans campaigned and tweeted for each new season. They all but shouted from the rooftops.
Their love of the series has never been a secret, and nothing is changing now.
HBO Max canceled the show when they announced book four, and fans have not taken that information lightly.
Twitter has often served as a platform for fans of specific shows to campaign for a new season.
April 29th, 2021, saw Infinity Train fans do just that: campaign for the show to continue.
The creator was in full support of the campaign, which amassed nearly 300,000 tweets.
The hashtag #FinishInfinityTrain trended at number one for over five hours, some of the time beating football.
The campaign ended up staying in the top five for the majority of the day, and the exposure the show gained will be instrumental for the chances of renewal.
Any network has a lot to consider when making renewal decisions, and social media interaction is usually a consideration (especially for streaming shows).
With a show like Infinity Train, canceling it could be a huge mistake.
The diverse cast of characters and different plots are pretty unique for children’s animation.
The lead characters are complimented well by the plethora of well-developed side characters.
One-One gets introduced in season one as a companion to Tulip, and he’s a fascinating little robot.
He can separate himself into two halves, and one half of him is happy and excitable, and the other half is sad and miserable. He creates an exciting dynamic and recurs in future seasons once his true purpose reveals itself at the end of the first season.
Other side-characters are often reoccurring and equally as enjoyable.
The Cat (voiced by Kate Mulgrew) is a constant presence in each season. She serves as a minor antagonist, but a different motive constantly reveals itself and makes her very personable.
Like Randall and Atticus the Corgi, other funny side characters add to the comedic relief in the series.
Even though comedic characters make up many sub-plots, many characters add to the show’s Eerieness, including The Steward and the infamous Amelia (Lena Heady).
Amelia did what the Cult of the Conductor wished they could do — she usurped the conductor and put herself in control of the train. The number on her hand ended up extending over a majority of her body, and the reveal of the numbers seriously creeped me out.
The Cult worshipped Amelia, even though she had changed by the events of Book Three. She changed for the better after being forced to confront her emotions.
The emotional journies are what set this series apart from others. Each season, a different complex emotional obstacle needs to be overcome for the character(s) to return home.
Through helping the train citizens or helping themselves solve challenging tasks, traumas and insecurities come to light.
This was a unique concept for a show marketed towards young teens and children. Other shows aimed at that demographic may have episodes that feature hardship, but never the whole season.
Infinity Train proves that Cartoons are not just for kids. The show may be considered a cartoon with the marketing targeting a younger generation, but adults will feel the characters’ pain and emotions.
Owen Dennis created a beautiful show that does not deserve to end its run before completion.
Owen has been quite vocal about how many Books he planned for the show. As it stands right now, halfway is the end of the road.
He wants to tell eight stories, and everyone who is a fan of the show agrees — he deserves to tell them.
The history and the characters created are a wonder, and the fans (including myself) are entirely on board with exploring it further. HBO Max needs to make the right decision and pick the show up for more episodes.
Each episode is only fifteen minutes long, so the seasons go by in a flash. With the Twitter campaign trending number one for as long as it did, I hope HBO Max reconsiders their cancelation of the show.
For now, the fans have one task: keep fighting.
The exposure received from the campaign is immense, and more people should be watching the show. The storylines are beautiful, and everything culminates in a world that leaves the viewer stunned.
Please, HBO Max, rethink your decision on our beloved show, because we will be watching.