Surging off the success of live action shows such as Even Stevens, premiering in 2000, and Lizzie McGuire, premiering in 2001, came an animated television series about a girl who could do anything. Largely influenced by hit shows with strong female protagonists such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kim Possible came from the minds of Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle.
Schooley had been a longtime sound producer and writer including for the movie Return of Jafar in 1994 and served as a writer/producer for Disney’s Hercules which came about after the animated film. He and Mark McCorkle had worked together on a lot of projects including Swamp Thing from 1991 and Bonkers in 1993.
Kim Possible came about as part homage to Buffy in the guise of a cheerleader teen who has to save the world and juggle school while also being part James Bond with fancy spy gadgets and a heavy influence on a cadre of villains. The gang surrounding Kim (voiced by Christy Carlson Romano) included best friend Ron Stoppable (voiced by Will Friedle), tech gadget creator Wade (voiced by Tahj Mowry), and Rufus, Ron’s naked pet molerat. On the periphery were bitter rival Bonnie Rockwaller (voiced by Kirsten Storms) along with her family in James & Anne Possible (voiced by Gary Cole and Jean Smart respectively) as well as her brothers Jim and Tim (voiced by Shaun Fleming & Spencer Fox S4).
What really made the show stand out, aside from a slick art style from Steve Loter & Alan Bodner and a catchy theme song sung by Christy herself, were the cast of characters and fun storylines. Several characters became immediate fan favorites while a litany of talented names lent themselves to episodes voicing characters including: Ron Perlman, Ricardo Montalbon, Rider Strong, Patrick Warburton, George Takei, Dan Castellanata, J.K. Simmons, and Melissa McCarthy.
The series was written well balancing comedy, drama, relationships, and action while catering more towards a slightly older group ranging from 10-14 year olds than were generally aimed at with cartoons of the era. As an aside, I did not include the made for TV movies but “A Sitch in Time” and “So the Drama” are highly worth seeking out, especially the first.
From the pilot episode on, this series was a ton of fun so let’s get on with it by counting down the Top 10 episodes!
10: Season 1, Episode 13 – Monkey Fist Strikes
Writer & Director: Gary Sperling
I’m a sucker for villain introductions and character development and this was a great combination of both. Kim and Ron help Montgomery “Monty” Fiske retrieve an ancient idol as Ron fights his own phobia of monkeys only for Kim to realize, too late, that Ron was right and Fiske is out to steal the idol for his own diabolical desires.
Tom Kane (Professor Utonium on Powerpuff Girls) is a lot of fun as Fiske and helps sell Fiske as both seeming genuine while subtly underlying him with a sense of villainy that the animation does well to set up only Ron as witnessing. Right from the opening scene it also serves as a great introduction to what the show is all about with Kim & Ron scaling a rock face to tend to an injured bird and Kim making it look easy leading into a scene at school with the natural quick dialogue as well as one of the running gags of Kim being repaid via travel to a destination after helping with an unseen adventure.
This is a rather action heavy episode and it largely works as the first half is very Indiana Jones action before delving into a decent subplot of Kim’s game night and dealing with Cousin Larry. One of my favorite things is that Kim’s still in that snarky phase and several of the jokes & lines just hit right with me such as Ron’s referencing holographic images at the Bueno Nacho. Also great to see Ron at the end getting some of the limelight.
09: Season 4, Episode 12 – Stop Team Go
Writer: Kurt Weldon
Director: Steve Loter
This is a great episode because it hints, much like the episode Bad Boy, at the effect of turning good guys into villains and villains into good guys as Hego, Mego, and Wego get turned evil while Shego gets turned good by Electronique.
Nancy Sullivan is a blast as Shego turned teacher who befriends Kim after being turned good, completely turning their foe-arch nemesis relationship on its head much to Kim’s uncertainty on how to handle it all. The interactions largely carry the episode as Shego, Kim, and Ron race to stop the now evil Team Go and Electronique.
It was also fun seeing Ron slowly getting supplanted by Shego as Kim’s friend and Ron’s jealous attitude over it. Also, Team Go interacting with one another and their squabbling as “henchmen” under Electronique and how annoying they became under her was entertaining.
There’s also a creepy underlying tone of how dark the Attitudinator could be turning bad guys into good guys, essentially being able to wipe out bad guys forever.
08: Season 2, Episode 4 – The Ron Factor
Writer: Gary Sperling
Director: Steve Loter
A fun episode for fans centering around Global Justice, a secret organization, believing that longtime goof Ron Stoppable is the secret to Kim Possible’s success. It’s an enjoyable plot device to set up the episode and builds off the cliché that the goof is the secret to the group.
I immediately love the costume design of the ninja as it reminds me a bit of the robotic henchmen from Teen Titans. While colorful at times, the show carries some influence from the art deco style of the classic DC Animated Series one especially in the building designs and the heavy use of shadows to help set up contrast within scenes.
Somebody clearly forgot that orange is the new black
I love Christy’s voice work throughout as she does a great job at displaying her disbelief and the animators have a lot of fun with the concept, even interrupting the opening theme title sequence at one point. In a lot of ways, it also plays upon the fact of Kim and Ron’s relationship in building Kim as somebody who, while nice and genuinely appreciative of Ron, also has a bit of an ego about herself thanks to her world saving duties while on the flipside helping boost Ron’s ego and self-esteem a bit by letting Dr. Director (Felicity Huffman) envision him as a key figure.
The voicing and writing is on point including a great spoof of the dispensing/role of the henchmen serving under an evil mastermind early in the episode. A lot of great little lines and moments in that scene got a genuine laugh. Maurice LaMarche as Gemini is great and is a fun reference/play on 80s villains such as Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget as well as an entertaining shout out to the good twin/evil twin concept between Gemini and Dr. Director.
07: Season 2, Episode 23 – Oh Boyz
Writer: Kayte Kuch & Sheryl Scarborough
A fun episode relating to the boy band craze as Senor Senior Sr. (Earl Boen) and Senor Senior Jr. (Nestor Carbonell) kidnap the Oh Boyz and Ron in order to turn Jr. into a teen singing sensation. The episode also has voice roles from Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, and David Cassidy as a great little bonus.
I love the interplay between Sr. and Jr. with Sr. being the classic old school evil mastermind villain while Jr. largely swears off that in order to make his own way in the world, usually through such schemes as this plot’s episode of becoming a singing sensation. The episode also works at mocking the here in a flash/gone in a dash quickness of various boy bands at an extreme work (aka week long) along with the interband squabbling and makes you feel bad for the band’s manager, Roland.
The corniness of their music videos and the snippets of the “lyrical content” of their songs helps highlight some of the greatness in this episode’s mockery of the genre. I also enjoyed the reference to bands/groups selling out after bad things happen to them. Roland hanging up on Senor Senior Sr. and his demands was a good running gag.
06: Season 4, Episode 1 – Ill Suited
Writer: Brian Swenlin
Director: Steve Loter
This episode briefly sets up Kim’s introduction of a physical suit to amplify her abilities while furthering the romantic relationship built throughout the series between her and Ron. Upon being told that Bonnie made a remark that Kim should only date an athlete being a Senior Cheerleader, Ron panics and hastily joins up with the football team while Professor Dementor plans to capture Kim & Ron to figure out Kim’s suit.
This season came about thanks to a massive fan petition as the creators planned to end the series with the So the Drama TV Mini-Movie run of episodes. It’s a solid re-introduction considering the hastiness of the creators who didn’t anticipate this and the massive fan reaction swaying Disney’s thought process. Professor Dementor (Patton Oswalt) does a fun job playing off Kim in this episode and the suit itself is a pretty awesome design but the creators smartly realized that it took away from Kim’s relatability as a girl who could do anything on her own and from a James Bond territory to more Science Fiction Superhero aspect.
A particularly hilarious aspect is the sheer outrage from Professor Dementor over the suit upgrade and paints a funny picture of what villains must think and feel when superheroes massively upgrade parts or change to outsmart them. I also greatly enjoy the Bonnie/Kim interactions and the obvious Buffy parallels between Bonnie being like Cordelia and the use of the single letter nickname ala Buffy/Faith.
Oswalt is awesome throughout, carrying a very pre-Gru from Despicable Me vocal vibe along with some great lines and I love that while Kim’s lecturing Ron for stealing her suit to become the Mud Dogs QB we have the dichotomy of Dementor controlling the power suit to try and beat Kim up via Ron.
05: Season 1, Episode 6 – Bueno Nacho
Writer: Julie DuFine & Amanda Rudolph Schwartz
Director: Chris Bailey
A great balance of action, slice of life, and an introduction to some classic series villains as Kim needs to save up money to purchase a jacket from Club Banana (a play on Banana Republic) and takes up a job at Bueno Nacho but not before running into Dr. Drakken (John DiMaggio) and Shego (Nicole Sullivan).
Adam Berry has a lot of fun scoring the opening snowmobile/snowboarding scene with an up-tempo frenetic pace while Shego and Kim naturally trade barbs and quips at one another. The naturalness of the dialogue throughout the episode is one of its strengths and the combination of Shego’s awesome art design (one of my favorite cartoon villains ever) plus the initial catty convo instantly sets up Shego as Kim’s true arch-nemesis throughout the run of the series. Later on we get a hint at Drakken/Shego’s relationship and how Shego is willing to ignore and snark at him despite accepting the role of second in command.
Dr. Drakken and Shego expertly pose in the Villain Swag 7 competition
Chris Bailey does a great job offering up angled shots and allowing a scope of the scene to impact distance and immediacy throughout the episode especially early on. That coupled with the writing is a blast as I love the direction on the line, “Between a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon, the best idea you can come up with is minimum wage?” There are several little moments such as those that litter this episode and make it a perfect introductory episode to the series.
Another great twist, in a bit of a cliché, is Ron being signed up without his awareness but proving to be a stud at his job while Kim struggles despite her reputation at being able to do anything (usually) great. The role of Ned is also well done by Eddie Deezen as he perfectly nails the long time proud of himself manager with a hint of snobbishness to him.
04: Season 2, Episode 15 – A Very Possible Christmas
Writer: Mark Palmer
Director: David Block
Anybody who knows me knows I love Christmas anything whether they be TV shows or movies or what not. After receiving a Hannukah gift from Kim, Ron offers to take her place to save the world giving her a day off so she can spend the day with her family but soon finds himself lost in the North Pole with Dr. Drakken.
Somewhere Tim Allen is crying his eyes out
The entire episode is just a lot of fun from the bonding of Kim’s family and their later involvement to join Kim in rescuing Ron to Ron and Dr. Drakken uniting over the loss of a classic Christmas cartoon special getting replaced with a very 90s XTREME XMAS snowmobile racing event as a call out to the Winter X Games.
Right from the start, the gift is very special with a cyber scrapbook from Kim to Ron. The writing and the animation have a blast throughout the episode including references to The Grinch, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and a host of others. Also full of classic interplay between Dr. Drakken, Shego, Ron, and Kim. One of my favorite bits is Drakken’s muttering transitioning to Dr. Seuss’ style ‘made up word’ imagery and Shego snapping him out of it.
Adam Berry’s score is a ton of fun as well, continuing the theme of referencing various Christmas holiday themed cues whilst transitioning to the more classic action spy cues that the show would get known for.
The final act involving Kim’s family rescuing Kim is a great little scene along with the contrast of Kim’s crestfallen expression when Ron isn’t inside the escape pod. The continuing alliance between Ron and Drakken is a lot of fun to watch and Shego’s involvement with the Xtreme Xmas is hilarious through her disdain for it all, especially the over the top announcer. I also loved the final scene with Kim and the family celebrating with Drakken and Shego in the spirit of Christmas.
03: Season 2, Episode 19 – Go Team Go
Writer: Nicole Dubuc
Director: David Block
Evil villains need backstories and we get a fantastic little episode centering around Shego’s past revealing that she used to be part of Team Go, a group of superheroes before she left and joined up with Dr. Drakken.
The thing I love most about this episode is that it could be something out of a Teen Titans style concept with the leader of Team Go being comparable to Superman and an evil villain named Aviarius (Richard Stevenson) complete with a giant condor to attack at his command, it’s a great reference and call to the superhero cartoons that were starting to take over by 2002. Even the gigantic GO on an island just off a main city is a callback to the Titans tower in Teen Titans.
In more fun lampooning, the episode goes so far as to mock the ordinary person gets sudden superpowers and causes havoc cliché after Kim gets shocked by Aviarius at the Bueno Nacho in Go City. The casting of Team Go is great as Christopher McDonald (Hego) captures the Clark Kent/Superman style of voice while Jere Burns captures Mego’s conceit and self-ego and finally Fred Savage captures Wego’s general fast paced nature.
Pretty sure that counts for cheating in most cheerleading competitions
I also loved that Kim instantly connected Shego when Hego mentioned his name and the green chair next to him. Again referencing superheroes extends back to how Team Go got their powers via comet and it is all just kind of over the top yet so enjoyable to see anyway.
Much like the Christmas episode, Adam Berry fills out the episode with a bunch of superhero motifs and pieces throughout that help fit in and sell the episode.
02: Season 3, Episode 2 – Emotion Sickness
Writer: Brian Swenlin
Director: Steve Loter
An absolute blast and for me, may be one of the most well rounded episodes in the series ever. During a fight, Kim and Shego get chips tagged on them while Drakken tries to steal a device from Dr. Cyrus Bortel. Afterwards, Ron arrives home with a moodulator device that he mistook for the Kimunicator and proceeds to mess with it drastically altering the moods of both Kim and Shego all while Drakken tries to carry out his plan.
The action scenes are a lot of fun, the constant mood shifts set up a lot of hilarious reactions and interactions between Dr. Drakken/Shego and Ron/Kim while the pacing of the episode is done very well. Adam Berry also does a great job with the score delving between his usual electronica/videogame inspired normal score and the voice acting is really solid.
That’s probably gonna take more than Lisol to clean off
The highlight of the episode are the scenes where the moodulator is set to love and Kim and Shego make advances towards Ron and Dr. Drakken respectively with the men unsure of how to handle it or even what the hell is going on at that point. The montage especially reminded me of stuff like A Pup Named Scooby Doo including moments where Shego steals candy (a lollipop) from a baby and Ron scrambling in the hallway only for Kim to materialize in front of him as he runs away.
01: Season 4, Episodes 22 & 23 – Graduation Day
Writer: Brian Swenlin
Director: Steve Loter
Just a perfect 2 parter to end the entire series complete with resolving the entire run of Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable via school as well as Drakken and Shego helping save the world. There are a ton of callbacks to past episode villains, side characters, and it’s just a great wrap up of the series while upping the action especially in a series well known for it.
Right from the start of the first episode, you just know you’re in for a treat given it’s the series finale as another Drakken plot fails in spectacular fashion while Kim and Shego briefly fight it out before Kim and Ron escape, having saved the day. The first episode does a fantastic job of processing the fact that they are graduating high school with the impending ride to college between Ron’s concerns of his future, Kim’s expectations of what’s to come, and the whole saving the world aspect as mysterious markings start to appear in fields all over.
Dracula decided on a new marketing gimmick with The Mummy coming out soon
You can see the great care that Steve Loter takes in directing these episodes including different shots from unique angles that he normally didn’t utilize in past episodes. Also, the writing is stronger and the pacing is perfectly done with no slow spots at all throughout. Even Adam Berry goes above and beyond with his scoring taking on musical cues that the series very rarely touched upon.
The second episode is just as good and much more action oriented for obvious reasons. Kristen Johnston as Warmonger and Ron Perlman/Kevin Michael Richardson as Warhawk lend their characters a great performance to give them credible threatening presences given the stakes of the episode itself.
What also makes these two episodes great is that they subvert and even play with the fans perceptions of the characters themselves including Kim’s uncertainty of what the future holds as well as Dr. Drakken’s plan that will finally succeed not being down to take over the world for global domination. It also extends to the development of Drakken and Shego’s relationship as well as the cementing of Kim and Ron.
So there we have it, my Top 10 Kim Possible episodes! Feel free to comment below on any episodes you thought should have been included that weren’t!