Based on true stories of American immigrants, Little America is one of the best shows streaming on Apple TV+.
Directors: Sian Heder, Tze Chun, Stephen Dunn, Deepa Mehta, Bharat Nalluri, Nima Nourizadeh
Writers: Amrou Al-Kadhi, Janicza Bravo, Tze Chun, Stephen Dunn, Lee Eisenberg, Emily V. Gordon, Sian Heder, Rajiv Joseph, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Savelson, Mfoniso Udofia
Cast: Andy Taylor, Gustavo Gomez, Conphidance, Angela Lin, Suraj Sharma, Ishan Gandhi, X. Lee, Madeleine Chang, Eshan Inamdar, Avril Lena Wei, Sunkrish Bala, Sherilyn Fenn, Adam Ali, Michele Ammon, Willis Chung, Paul W. Downs, Bill Heck, Haaz Sleiman
Streaming on: Apple TV+
The show tells stories about real people
Based on true stories published by Epic Magazine, Little America is an anthology of eight episodes on immigrants in America. Each story encompasses the extremes of emotion that make up the immigrant experience, from fear and worry to happiness and triumph, and the hardships of the process. Each episode ends poignantly with photographs and a brief note on the real people who inspired the story.
It will make you smile and tear up
Each episode highlights a particular aspect of immigration. Deportation, for instance, is a major fear among those who’ve illegally entered the country or those whose visas have run out. In the first episode, ‘The Manager’, 12-year-old Kabir played by Suraj Sharma is expected to run his parents’ motel when it becomes clear that they will be deported as their visas will soon lapse. In one heart-rending moment that takes place at a spelling bee, Kabir’s plea to the state to allow his parents to return is met with a coldly practical response.
‘The Cowboy’ looks at the issue of assimilation. A Nigerian student struggles to find his feet among Americans. He wants to return to Nigeria, where a political conflict has broken out, but is encouraged by his family to remain. Conphidance who plays Iwegbuna Ikeji gets his dream job and finds resonance with Oklahoma’s cowboy culture.
The season finale, ‘The Son’, hits you hard with the story of a gay Syrian refugee who dreams of being granted asylum in America, away from his homophobic father and his conservative home country. This episode first punches you in the gut and then lifts your spirits.
Everyone’s talking about migration
The show is timely as the issue of migration is a major concern globally. In America, President Trump has threatened to build a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out. Europe has in recent years received millions of refugees from the Middle East. India is currently being roiled by protests against a discriminatory act. It makes us think about how immigration has enriched individual lives and the cultural, social and economic health of countries. Little America offers a sense of hope with its emotional and inspiring stories of the fighting spirit of people, who overcome all kinds of odds to make homes for themselves.
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