If you’re a fan of TV animation, you’ll likely have heard of HBO Max’s anthology series Infinity Train. As the name suggests, the show takes place on a mysterious train whose carts house bizarre pocket universes. Each season introduces a new protagonist, who must navigate their way across the train while facing fantastical companions and life-threatening adversaries.
With two seasons in (referred to as Book 1 and Book 2), and a third one dropping this week, Infinity Train is a runaway hit. This humble writer would go so far as to declare it the best animated series on TV right now. A bold statement, I know. But as we prepare for the premiere of Book 3, allow me to make my case.
It’s Brilliantly Structured
Infinity Train’s premise provide an endless amount of story possibilities. The evolving nature of the train ensures there are always new worlds to experience and new characters to meet. As an anthology series, each season has a definitive beginning, middle, and end. While hints to the next season’s story are sprinkled in, Infinity Train mercifully avoids overplayed drama and forced cliffhangers. It’s unfortunate that we have to say goodbye to certain characters after only one season, but the trade-off is a complete and satisfying story. That is all I could ever ask for in my media.
Well-Written and Engaging Characters
Perhaps my favorite part of Infinity Train are the characters. Each have well-defined personalities, backstories, and a solid role in the story. In fact, the characters and the train itself go hand in hand, as the latter does not exist purely to terrify its passengers. Rather, the Infinity Train exists to help passengers overcome a struggle present in their every day life—whether it be a family dispute, a form of depression, and so forth.
Such a concept allows for Infinity Train to be entirely character-driven. It also allows the writers to tackle relatable, human issues despite the show’s fantastical setting. Tons of people can relate to Tulip, the teen struggling through her parents’ divorce. Many can see themselves in Jesse, the kid driven by peer pressure and the desire to be accepted.
But that’s just the human characters; the train’s inhabitants are just as captivating. Some of the highlights include the hilarious robot One-One, and the Corgi, Atticus. The true standout here, though, is MT—a living reflection who sets out to find an identity of her own. As the protagonist of season two, MT proves that the show can excel whether it be focused on a passenger or one of the train’s denizens.
An Organic Mystery
Mysteries are a key component of many shows, and understandably so. They build intrigue and give viewers an incentive to keep watching. Infinity Train’s namesake delivers just that. Given the uncanny nature of the train, you never know what to expect. We do get a glimpse at some of the train’s mechanisms, yet even with this information, you can’t help but ask questions. Who built the train? Where did it come from? What’s the story behind the wasteland it runs through?
This mystery works because you don’t need the answers to enjoy the story. We aren’t watching to learn the train’s backstory; we’re watching to see a personal adventure unfold. The train’s obscurity is simply a natural part of the world that Owen Dennis and his team have created—a backdrop to the characters’ journeys. And its vagueness does nothing to take away from such journeys.
Do you think Infinity Train is the best animated show right now? If not, what is? Let your voice be heard in the comments below!
Edited by: Kelly Conley