by Chris Harnick | Fri., Mar. 23, 2018 10:00 AM
Alexa & Katie, Netflix's latest teen-centered comedy seems like it's straight out of the Disney Channel factory of hits, but there's a twist. New high schooler Alexa (Paris Berlec) is battling cancer and her best friend Katie (Isabel May) is with her every step of the way.
"It's definitely unconventional, for sure," Tiffani Thiessen told E! News.
"We wanted to do it in a respectful way because cancer is a heavy topic and a difficult topic to talk about sometimes," Berlec, a veteran of Mighty Med and Lab Rates: Elite Force, said. "So we did some research, and we met a girl named Katie, actually, at a children's hospital, and she was telling us her story because everyone goes through it differently. I think the big thing about it is your mindset. I think that also helps you with recovery, is how you look at it."
Alexa & Katie shows that "life still goes on," for kids who are battling the disease. "It doesn't define them," Thiessen said.
The show stars Saved By the Bell and White Collar veteran Thiessen as Lori, Alexa's protective mother. This is the actress' first sitcom in a while, but said the experience was like riding a bike, and she even worked with some directors she previously had more than 20 years ago. Thiessen is known to legions of fans as Kelly Kapowski, but not all of her costars are familiar with her Saved By the Bell past. Berlec used to watch reruns, but May has never seen an episode. "Then I didn't want to watch it because I felt like, oh now I'm going to watch Tiffani and it made me uncomfortable," May said, which made Thiessen laugh.
For those holding out hope for another Saved By the Bell reunion—or even a proper revival—might want to stop. Thiessen said the cast's reunion on the cover of People and appearance on The Tonight Show was "enough for all of us involved in the cast."
Click play on the video above to hear more from the cast of Alexa & Katie. Season one is now streaming on Netflix.