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The 10 Best Melissa Joan Hart Movies and TV Shows, Ranked!

From 'Clarissa Explains It All' to 2024’s 'The Bad Guardian', here are our favorites

Melissa Joan Hart, 47, has been in the spotlight for decades. The oldest of eight children, Hart is married to rock musician Mark Wilkerson and together they have three children. Her start began as a child star. Audiences first fell in love with her on Clarissa Explains It All, but that was just the launching pad for a successful career in acting, directing and writing.

When she looks back at her success, Hart says “To be honest, it’s all about connections, it’s about talent, it’s about the right place at the right time. I wanted to be on Law & Order: SVU, so I put myself at a party with Mariska Hargitay, and I got on SVU. Or I’ve made friends at Lifetime, and now I can go to them. Or I’ve made friends at Netflix, and now we’re developing a show together. It’s about having the connections — whether it’s the writers, great hair and makeup people for projects, or an executive. It’s important to have those connections with people you have a chemistry with and that you trust.”

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In addition to acting, Hart has a strong career behind the camera as a director. Back in 1993 Hart along with her mother, Paula, founded the company Hartbreak Films. Hart says she found creative fulfillment in directing and producing as well as acting.

Melissa Joan Hart Movies and TV Shows: Actress Melissa Joan Hart poses for a portrait in 1994 in New York City, New York.
Melissa Joan Hart in 1994Ken Weingart / Contributor/Getty

Hart has become a go-to for directing network sitcoms, including Young SheldonThe Goldbergs, and Schooled and she has produced several Lifetime Christmas movies including Feliz NaviDADDear Christmas, and Once Upon a Main Street. Says Hart, “I love working with Lifetime. My directorial debut for a feature was their 2014 movie The Santa Con, so we had this great relationship. Every year they’d come to Hartbreak and say, “What do you have now?”

When people say, what ever happened to Melissa Joan Hart, that doesn’t bother her. She said she posts her latest projects on her social media, but if you don’t follow her, you may not know exactly how busy she is directing. “Of course naysayers say, ‘You disappeared! You’re not working anymore!’ I’m like, ‘Well, actually, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, and what I always dreamt for myself at an older age in this industry.’”

In addition to directing, producing and acting, Hart is also a writer, having penned her memoir, Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life.

Here we look back at our favorite Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows.

Did you know? Hart credits her mother, Paula Hart, with her success as well as keeping her safe as a child star. “When everybody was talking about the Me Too movement, I had to think back. Nothing had ever happened to me like that—no casting-couch situation or place where I felt pressured. I think it was because my mother was always my executive producer and my protector. She was at every meeting with me.

Melissa Joan Hart Movies and TV Shows: Melissa Joan Hart attends Variety's 2024 Power of Women: New York event on May 02, 2024
Melissa Joan Hart in 2024Dia Dipasupil / Staff/Getty

10. Dear Christmas (2022) Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows

Melissa Joan Hart starred with Jason Priestley in Dear Christmas. When asked if they knew each other back in the ‘90s when they were both TV stars Hart says, “No, isn’t that weird? Back in my Clarissa days, the only time I ever had off was Wednesday evenings. I would get home, make myself a big bowl of cookie dough, and immediately watch Beverly Hills, 90210.”

Hart said that once she started filming Dear Christmas with Priestley she admitted her teen crush, saying, “My 15-year-old self was freaking out. And starting on day one, we were giving away every secret, talking about everyone we have in common. It felt like we’ve known each other forever.” Their chemistry comes across in the film.

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9. Drive Me Crazy (1999)

Adrian Grenier stars alongside Melissa Joan Hart in this romantic comedy about finding true love. This rom com follows Nicole and Chase, who pretend to be a couple to make their respective crushes jealous, but end up falling for each other instead.

8. Holiday in Handcuffs (2007): Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows

Says Hart of Holiday in Handcuffs, “It was almost like the vehicle that started the crazy Christmas-movie craze.” This made-for-TV movie originally aired on ABC Family as part of the network’s 25 Days of Christmas programming block. It was a huge success. The plot of the movie was simple: in order to fool her parents, a waitress (Melissa Joan Hart) kidnaps a customer (Mario Lopez) and forces him to pretend to be her beau. The two end of falling in love. The on-screen chemistry between the stars made this movie magic.

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7. Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994): Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows

Clarissa Explains It All was a groundbreaking Nickelodeon sitcom that followed the life of Clarissa Darling, a teenager who breaks the fourth wall to address the audience directly and navigate the challenges of adolescence. The show starred Melissa Joan Hart as Clarissa Darling.

The show was praised for its unique storytelling format and relatable characters, making it a cult classic among ’90s kids. About her experience on the show, Hart said “I was surrounded by an amazing crew, an incredible cast that took such good care of me.”

While some former Nickelodeon stars have talked about their negative experience on the network for the documentary Quiet on the Set, Hart said her experience was different, perhaps because she was on set in Orlando not Hollywood. She said of her experience, “I felt very, very safe. It was really hard — I won’t say it wasn’t — but the only thing I would complain about was that in Orlando, I don’t know if the child labor laws were the best. So I was worked probably longer hours than I should have been. That’s it.”

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6. Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003)

In this beloved sitcom, Melissa Joan Hart starred as Sabrina Spellman, a teenage girl who discovers she is a witch on her sixteenth birthday and must navigate the ups and downs of magic and high school. Sabrina the Teenage Witch became a cultural phenomenon, spawning books, comics, and even an animated series, cementing its place in television history.

Hart says nobody knows that her mother, Paula Hart is responsible for the success of the show saying, “She [Paula] found Sabrina. Someone handed the comic book to her on a playground, and she took it to Viacom, made the 1996 movie, and kept saying this would be a great TV show. [Executives] kept going, “Okay, whatever, whatever.” She went to the editing room for the movie and cut together a five-minute trailer for a TV show, took it to the networks, and sold it to ABC on the spot. In the TGIF time slot!”

Did you know? When asked about a possible reboot, Hart said she didn’t think so explaining that, “I do feel like Sabrina wrapped up really nicely with her riding off on the motorcycle with Harvey. I think that ending on Sabrina was so iconic that I don’t want to go back and try to recreate that and have another good ending.”

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5. Melissa & Joey (2010-2015): Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows

In this sitcom, Melissa Joan Hart stars as Mel Burke, a local politician who becomes the legal guardian of her niece and nephew and hires a man named Joey (played by Joey Lawrence) to help her take care of them. The show was a hit with audiences for its humor and heartwarming family dynamics.

When asked if her kids have seen her show Hart recalls watching Melissa & Joey when her son Mason came into the room. She explains, “’He goes, “Are you watching yourself?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I have to watch it for research. It’s work.’ So he sits down and starts watching it and then a second episode comes on, maybe even a third. We just keep watching it. And then my middle kid comes downstairs, Brady, and he’s like, “Are you watching mom’s show? Why are you watching this?” And Mason turned around and goes, “Shut up. It’s funny.”

Did you know? When asked if she had a favorite show, Hart responded, “Everyone thinks I should like Clarissa or Sabrina, but I really like Melissa and Joey. It’s my favorite because it was just so silly.”

4. My Fake Fiancé (2009)

This romantic comedy starred Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. The plot focuses on cash-strapped virtual strangers Jennifer (Hart) and Vince (Lawrence) who decide to stage a fake engagement and wedding just for the presents. The onscreen chemistry between the two make it a hit.

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3. Christmas Reservation (2019): Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows

Another holiday favorite is Christmas Reservation. The movie stars Melissa Joan Hart as Holly, an event coordinator at her family’s Treeline Ski Resort. Her role is to plan every event and keep all the guests happy. But when her college sweetheart, now widowed with two children, checks in, Holly discovers she has her own reservations about life and love.

2. Mistletoe in Montana (2021)

Melissa Joan Hart stars as Merry, a ranch owner who has been unlucky in love. Then a single father brings his two kids to the ranch for Christmas week and everything changes for Merry. The holiday spirit is everywhere, and love is in the air in this fun romantic comedy.

1. No Good Nick (2019): Melissa Joan Hart movies and TV shows

This Netflix series stars Melissa Joan Hart alongside Sean Astin and Siena Agudong. The plot revolves around a family whose lives are turned upside-down when a street-smart stranger shows up on their doorstep claiming to be a distant relative. The show only lasted one season, but we loved Melissa Joan Hart’s role in it.

**Bonus** The Bad Guardian (2024)

Premiering May 18, this Lifetime movie stars Melissa Joan Hart along with La La Anthony

When asked what the movie is about, Hart explains, “It is about how people take advantage — and this is a multi-billion-dollar industry, apparently — of guardianship. If someone can exploit the system, if someone gets a judge in their pocket, then they can just take full advantage of somebody. So then it’s like, well, how do you catch people at their own games? It’s very Erin Brockovich.”

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