Follow TV Tropes


Podcast / Thinking Sideways

Go To

"Investigating things we simply don't have the answers to."
—series tagline

Thinking Sideways is the name of a podcast that explores a different unsolved mystery every episode. While these are usually of the true crime variety, topics have included historical peculiarities and travel disasters. The show is manned by three hosts from Portland, known mononymously as Devin, Joe and Steve. Their chemistry has been credited as one of the reasons behind the podcast's popularity.

The first episodes were released in 2013, with a new episode every Thursday. Length varies, but most episodes hit the hour mark.

While the trio does attempt to resolve the mysteries they discuss, they describe themselves as aiming more to "provide a primer in each mystery" than putting them to rest, which has led to a recognisable format each episode:

  • The Facts: A coherent narrative of the case is presented to the listener. To preserve factual integrity, each host allows the others little room for conjecture during this portion of the show.
  • The Theories: The hosts list known suspects (if there are any), and otherwise offer possible resolutions to the case. Theories put forward range from mundane explanations to grand guesses about assassins or government cover-ups. Perhaps it's to be expected that this part can get a little... out of hand.

On July 26, 2018, Thinking Sideways released its final episode. Steve announced on the podcast that he was moving to Southeast Asia and given the timezone differences and unreliability of Internet connections, he felt continuing the podcast was no longer feasible.

You can find their website (and all episodes) here[1].


  • Author Appeal: Devin and Joe are open about preferring "creepy" mysteries, while Steve enjoys cases if they're just straight-up "confusing." Joe is also drawn to cases with details he feels were overlooked.
    • They've jointly stated that their favorite mystery is that of D. B. Cooper, a case that unsurprisingly contains elements of all three.
    • Meanwhile, the Jeff Davis 8 case is the one they've found creepiest.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Team Sideways often takes the time to give shout-outs to government agencies after accusing them of nefarious privacy violations.
  • Buffy Speak: Devin is the youngest member of the trio, so whenever she engages in this, Steve is generally quick to point it out. The trio's attempts to pronounce things from outside the States also apparently irritate some listeners.
    Devin: If you have feedback, if you want to chat, if you have suggestions...
    Steve: If we have mortally offended you by mispronouncing a word...
  • Catchphrase: At this point, you could count Devin's exasperatedly elongated "No" in response to more outlandish theories.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All three have their moments, but Joe owns this especially.
    Steve: What we're gonna talk about today is what caused the crash of South African Airways Flight 295?
    Joe: I know the answer to that. Gravity.
  • Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Outside of the group's immediate research, Joe serves as a fountain of random information.
  • Grand Finale: The final mystery covered on the podcast was Joe's favorite, the Chupacabra.
  • Left Hanging: Perhaps unsurprising for a series about unresolved mysteries.
  • Mundanger: Amidst theories about alien invasions and secret organisations, Team Sideways leans more towards favouring rational explanations that are still unpleasant (if not more so). Cases involving missing children can go to some pretty dark places.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: If Joe is to be believed, a lot of cases merit quickly assuming foul play. Lampshaded by Devin in the Sunset Limited derailment episode.
    Joe: One possibility is, and this is, again, kind of weak, but just conjecture. But maybe somebody on the train had an enemy who wanted him dead.
    Devin: It’s Joe’s Go To Theory Time, kids!
  • Only Sane Man: Devin usually, Joe occasionally. Whether or not he personally believes certain theories, Steve is more than happy to "go down the rabbit hole" with them.
  • Running Gag: Much to Devin's dismay, Joe is fond of suggesting the Chupacabra as the perpetrator in cases. Aliens are another go-to.
    • Joe tends to call the Chupacabra Chupie.
  • Signature Laugh: Love it or hate it, Steve definitely has one of these.
  • Special Guest: Outside commentators have been invited onto the show on occasion. Writer Seth Margolis contributed to their episode on Elizabeth I, and Atlantis enthusiast Mark Adams came to give his views on just that topic. Elsewhere, their episode on Jack the Ripper featured specialist historian Richard Jones, while well-known investigative journalist Ethan Brown dropped by to discuss the Jeff Davis 8 case.
  • Theme Tune: The podcast's distinctive opening music is layered with Shout Outs to Doctor Who, Ally McBeal and Lost in Space, shows that fittingly deal with mysteries or strange things.
  • Totally Radical: The twitter handle Team Sideways uses, thinkinsideways, used to be thinkingsideway, as character limits necessitated knocking one letter off. They ultimately settled on thinkinsideways because it's more "hip".
  • Vague Age: Devin's birth year (1987) is the only one we know for certain, though Joe and Steve lament their ages often enough to suggest they're significantly older than her. This can yield interesting generation-specific perspectives while analysing stories
  • When It All Began: Featured on their website's FAQ.
    Joe and Steve [had] known each other for years. They were discussing a mystery at their local watering hole when Devin, who had by chance stopped into the same establishment, chimed in with her thoughts. Over the course of several months, [they] kept running into each other and talking about the unexplained.