Animation Reviews

This blog is officially anti-David Zaslav or what happened to HBOMax?

The News

Infinity Train, Summer Camp Island, The Fungies!  and many more animated shows have been pulled from HBOMax. Following the merger of Warner Bros. (which owns Cartoon Network) and Discovery – many popular shows and movies, not just animated ones, were pulled from the streaming service and straight-up canceled.

Despite being nearly finished, Batgirl was shelved. 

But it seems like the animated canon is suffering the most. On Aug. 18, Cartoon Network removed Infinity Train-related videos on its YouTube channel, including the pilot. The same thing happened for other titles. The announcement surprised pretty much everyone.

Summer Camp Island’s creator, Julia Pott, apparently discovered the plans to remove her show over social media.

The show is currently five seasons long. The show’s sixth and final season will air only on Cartoon Network and will not be available on streaming. The same goes for the final season of Victor and Valentino.

The original announcement was unclear as to when the titles would be deleted. Nobody was expecting it to be the next day. People reported that the shows were deleted while they were watching them.

Some 37 pieces of media – including 25 animated titles – were effectively erased from existence without informing anyone. The only place left to watch these titles is through Amazon or the Apple Store.

Though the company has promised the shows would remain available on these platforms – I can’t say I exactly trust them.

Why Is This Happening?

It’s because the new CEO of Warner Bros.- Discovery wants to focus on unscripted content – AKA reality TV. It’s cheaper than scripted shows. Allegedly, cutting these “lesser watched titles” (despite that at one point Infinity Train was the 4th most watched HBOMax original)  would save the company money on residuals.

According to CNBC – this will save the company tens of millions of dollars…CEO David Zaslav wants to save $3 billion by 2023. And I guess canceling The Flash movie that’s been in production hell for years and has a star who has committed several crimes including assault, sexually grooming a minor, harassment, and burglary — is somehow a bad decision.

The fact of the matter is, women and people of color who have held leadership positions in the company have been let go and replaced with white men. Zaslav believes the ‘scripted’ HBOMax skews towards men and the ‘unscripted’ skews towards women.

Since when are women not a part of fandoms?!

Yet he also believes that “scripted television has had its moment.” I don’t know what this guy is thinking. I know he’s dead wrong. And I know I could manage the service better than he can. Because I actually care about the content being put out rather than just the profits.

My first acts?

I would bring back the shows that were unceremoniously canceled, renew Infinity Train for 4 more seasons and give the crew creative control, renew other shows that were canceled before their time, bring back the deleted episodes of Sesame Street and work towards creating a service focused on bringing unique, diverse and creative animated stories for everyone not just kids.

My Feelings

Frankly, I’m pissed. I’m pissed for the creators and creative teams that worked so hard on these titles only to get them tossed out. I’m pissed about the continued lack of respect for animated media. I’m pissed at the people who are just letting this happen…HBOMax might have a messy interface but up until recently, it also had the best library of new, original, and old titles.

I loved HBOMax for its selection. They have Ghibli movies on streaming! And a lot of GKids distributed films end up on that platform. Obviously, the animation is a big draw for some people. Now – I don’t know how to feel.

I’m just going to quote Owen Dennis because he said it better than I could, “I think the way that Discovery went about this is incredibly unprofessional, rude, and just straight up slimy. I think almost everyone who makes anything feels this way… I can’t think of a single person who works in animation and entertainment that, when you bring this all up, doesn’t say ‘What the fuck are they doing? How do they plan to have anyone ever want to work with them again?’”

Zaslav has dug his own grave within a matter of weeks. He dug the grave of Warner Bros-Discovery in a matter of weeks. Nobody is going to want to work with them.  Nobody is going to want anything to do with them. Why would you?

What’s Next?

I don’t know. Dennis said there is a possibility that Infinity Train MIGHT be picked up again… It might be dependent on the success of his current project (which he cannot reveal) so when it is announced – I will certainly support it wholeheartedly. Dennis puts out some amazing stuff – so even if we don’t get more Infinity Train, we’ll have another amazing series.

I Want to Watch the Shows Still and I Don’t Want Them Taken Away.

When a show is currently airing and it’s vital for the show to get proper legal views so it can continue – piracy is a no-go. When one of a handful of mega-corporations effectively erases a piece of media from existence?  That’s up to you.

What Can I Do?

Be loud on social media (but no harassment of those in charge or of the people running the accounts). Talk about your favorite titles that you can’t watch anymore. Post fanart, fanfiction…Support creators when they take on new projects. Maybe even – unsubscribe from HBOMax. Losing out on subscribers is the last thing they want. Let them know that their behavior is unacceptable.

Why is Infinity Train Mentioned Here Several Times?

The show got screwed over despite having a fascinating concept, an interesting cast of characters, and a lot of mystery and lore. I fell in love with the pilot from the moment I first saw it…It was and still is well-loved by fans and critics and honestly, it deserves to be finished in the way Owen Dennis intended.

Out of all the shows, I think Infinity Train probably got screwed up the most.


And that’s the scoop.

2 thoughts on “This blog is officially anti-David Zaslav or what happened to HBOMax?”

  1. I’ve been hearing about this merger and the sketchiness, but I didn’t realize it was that bad. Good thing I don’t have an HBO Max account because I would’ve canceled on sight there.

  2. I actively try to avoid drama so I didn’t pay much attention to this whole thing. I didn’t realize it was this bad. Big companies have so little respect for animation. It’s so disheartening.

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