Little America

Dept. of Making America Great


Little America, an anthology series that premiered on AppleTV+ in January, feels a little strange to watch. For a series that isn’t set in some distant planet (Raised By Wolves), filled with superheroes (Doom Patrol), or magic and monsters (Lovecraft Country), Little America has an alienness to it that slowly takes hold over the course of every episode, and leaves you with a strange feeling that you don’t get anymore when discussing America.

It makes you feel hope. And longing. Let me try and explain.



Little America is a seven (?) episode anthology series, with each episode telling one story of the immigrant American experience, from the young Indian boy who has to singlehandedly manage the family motel after his parents get deported, to the Ugandan single mother opening her own bakery. The series could easily be brushed off as some liberal Hollywood/Silicon Valley ideals of America, but unfortunately for the internet troll, each of these episodes are true stories of the immigrant American experience based on a collection featured in Epic Magazine. That young Indian boy (who is also, rather stereotypically, a spelling bee finalist) and that Ugandan single mother (she was awarded the keys to the city of Louisville) really make you dream for a better America. It makes you wonder if that America had ever existed.

Kemiyondo Coutinho and Innocent Ekakitie in “Little America”.

Make America Great Again?

Watching the series is strange in the dark time that is September 2020. Mostly because in Little America there are no real villains. The small town Americans in the series are not the antagonist to the story of the honest, hard-working immigrant. The characters aren’t being persecuted against or racially abused. The “antagonist” (if there even is one) in this series isn’t a racist white man, but rather a series of unfortunate circumstances that need to be overcome. This is the American dream. Although a Nigerian wannabe cowboy becoming the dean of a university probably isn’t the America referred to in those red MAGA hats.

Little America?

As is the case with most anthologies, some episodes feel stronger, embodying the overall theme of the series better than others. The three standout episodes of this first series of Little America (the series was renewed even before it was aired) have to be “The Cowboy”, “The Baker” and “The Rock.”

“The Cowboy” in particular, about a Nigerian student obsessed with the American west, truly shines in its storytelling. From the novel way the episode portrays the cassette tape messages he gets from his family back home, to the performance of Nigerian actor Uchenna “Conphidance” Echeazu, if you were looking for just one episode to try out, then this is definitely where you should start.

Uchenna "Conphidance" Echeazu in “Little America”.

In true anthology fashion, each episode not only has a different set of characters and actors, but a different director and writer as well. In fact the entire cast and crew of Little America is a multicultural, multi-racial melting pot. Sort of like America itself.


Where’s My Episode 8?

In doing research (Wikipedia) for this piece, something came up that I hadn’t thought about for a long time when it came to digital streaming services available in Malaysia. Little America is listed as having eight episodes, and not the seven that I got in my AppleTV+ subscription.

I was confused as to why this was the case. At least until I read the episode description. 

“A gay Syrian refuge dreams of being granted asylum in America so he can live openly.”


Adam Ali and Haaz Sleiman in “Little America”.

So something to clear up quickly. AppleTV+ (for some strange reason) has gone through the trouble (and believe me, it is not an easy process) to get Malaysian censorship clearance. Something no other digital-only streaming service has bothered (or needed) to do. The HBOGo streaming service (despite having also a broadcast channel) doesn’t censor its content. Neither does Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Heck, even HBO content on Astro Go isn’t censored. But, Apple (probably erring on the side of caution) has gone and gotten itself the LPF stickers for each episode of each show. 

Unfortunately, being “robbed” of one episode of Little America has soured the experience for me a little bit. It is disappointing to think that there is one episode out there that I will never get a chance to see, because some suit (okay, I don’t think Apple executives wear suits) in 1 Apple Park Way didn’t want to piss off some Malaysian civil servant. Shame really. Especially when the show in question is about accepting those who are different from you.

For the true life stories behind Little America, here’s an article by The Bustle that breaks down each episode and the inspiration and real people behind it.


Little America
AppleTV+, Season 1, 7 episodes (8 for international audiences)
Directors: Nima Nourizadeh, Deepa Mehta, Aurora Guerrero, Bharat Nalluri, Sian Heder, Chioke Nassor, Tze Chun, and Stephen Dunn
Executive Producers: Lee Eisenberg, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Alan Yang, Sian Heder, Joshuah Bearman, Joshua Davis, and Arthur Spector
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Jearnest Corchado, John Ortiz, Uchenna “Conphidance” Echeazu, Chinaza Uche, Ebbe Bassey, Mélanie Laurent, Zachary Quinto, Bill Heck, Kemiyondo Coutinho, Angela Lin, X. Lee, Shaun Toub, Shila Vosough Ommi, Justin Ahdoot, Haaz Sleiman, and Adam Ali

Little America is now available to stream on Apple TV+.

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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