HBO MAX wipes shows, sparking outrage


Cartoon Network

Promotional image for the first season of Infinity Train.

Gabi Celani

In early August, WarnerMedia and Discovery decided to remove multiple shows off of their platform due to a merger of the two studios. TV series such as a select few Sesame Street specials, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo and Theodosia were wiped from HBO MAX.

However, cartoons were the most affected, with the vast majority of the removed shows being animated. This includes Summer Camp Island, which still has a season remaining, and OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. But, the most affected of the bunch has to be Owen Dennis’s Infinity Train.

Most mentions of Infinity Train have been wiped from Cartoon Network’s social media, with the only remaining post being a single tweet about Comic-Con.

The network’s attitude towards the beloved shows shocked both fans and creators alike.

Julia Pott, the creator of Summer Camp Island, expressed her frustrations with HBO MAX pulling her team’s work.

Alexander Horab, a writer on Infinity Train, wished for the network to understand the importance of contributing to an art. 

Marie Lum, who has worked as a storyboard artist and an animator on a myriad of shows, explains how the removal of cartoon shows from such a popular source impacts artists such as herself.

Fans of the series have been spreading around pirated versions of the shows in fear that they would disappear from the internet completely.

The take-down didn’t just affect the creators but aspiring animators as well.

“As someone who wants to go into animating, it is very discouraging. We put much time and effort into it, and it is our whole career,” Christina Dinh, (10, VA) stated. “It feels like we are under-appreciated and our efforts aren’t valued. By wiping shows off of social medias, it’s essentially removing our recognition, and it’s really harmful especially when we worked so hard for it. It worries me, and I can’t even imagine how the creator feels.”

CNN media reporter Frank Pollotta believes the shows were removed because of a lack of interest.

However, the demand for Infinity Train is higher than about 96.9% of kid’s shows and has a demand 13.2 times higher than average TV shows in the US, according to Parrot Analytics – and the interest keeps growing. Compared to the last 30 days, the demand for the cartoon has grown by approximately 116.9%.

“[…] the problem is that the entirety of Warner and Discovery is undergoing a merger,” Owen Dennis, creator of Infinity Train, wrote on his personal blog. “This is the same thing that happened in the early months of the merger with AT&T. Never cheer for a corporate merger, they help about 100 people and hurt thousands.”

Unfortunately, there are not many places to view Infinity Train. The price to watch all of the seasons online can range from about $36 to $60. 

The first two seasons were transferred to DVD, but they are currently out of stock, so they can only be purchased through resellers. Individual DVD copies selling on EBay range from $50 to $250. Listings for both books 1 and 2 can be even more expensive, with prices ranging between $175 and $450.