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TV Review: Apple TV+’s ‘Little America’ Anthology Series Shines a Spotlight on the Immigrant Stories That Make America Great

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At a time when divisions around immigration are at their biggest, Apple TV+ releases its new docu-series “Little America” and shows just how important the immigrant story is in the modern history of our country. Brought to the small screen by the same producers of “The Big Sick” and “Masters of None,” Lee Eisenberg, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani bring true stories of American immigrants from all over the world together in this anthology series. Over the course of eight half-hour episodes, “Little America” makes viewers experience the heartbreaks and triumphs of these inspiring true stories while seeing a piece of themselves on the screen.

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Told through touching reenactments, the series begins with the story of an Indian family dealing with immigrant and deportation issues and the plight of American born children of foreign born parents. The story touches on the bureaucratic obstacles that immigrant families face as well as the resilience and hope of these families, equal parts sad and happy. There’s also stories of dealing with income inequality, overcoming racial stereotypes or language barriers, assimilation, the loneliness and isolation of being a foreigner, cultural differences, retaining your cultural heritage but also embracing America. But in the end, its hard work, perseverance, resiliency and tenacity that lead to their happy endings.

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There is also the eye-opening and heart-wrenching story of a young Syrian man’s fight for freedom from sexual persecution and his plight for asylum. These true-life stories are touching snapshots in the extraordinary lives of everyday, normal people. The series does an excellent job of showing the cultural differences while showing that whether immigrant or native born, we all want the same things…acceptance, success, love and happiness. We’re all chasing the “American dream,” whatever that means to you and these inspiring stories tell narratives of Americans that make this country truly great.

The stories show the beautiful moments of lives filled with vulnerability, pain, laughter and love. The team behind the series does an excellent job of taking slices of American history and showing viewers a reflection of themselves in these immigrant stories. In a time when representation matters, shining a spotlight on these stories can serve as tool to help change the immigration narrative in this country. These stories remind us of our country’s founding principles and encourages us to be better people.

Even in its short viewing time, the team behind the series does an excellent job of capturing the essence and personalities of the main characters while making them relatable and worthy of the viewers empathy. Some of the stories are darker and heavier (and the cinematography and lighting serve to drive that tone home) while others are lighter, but both stories deserve, no, need to be told. This series tells the story of all of our dreams and heartaches because no matter where you were born or your cultural background, we all have a shared, collective experience because at the core we are all the same. And its a poignant added touch at the end of each story adding photos of the real characters and an update on their current journey. This series should be watched by all, both young and old, native-born or foreign because we could definitely use a little bit more empathy in today’s world.

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“Little America” premieres on Apple TV+ Jan. 17.

GRADE: (★★★½)

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