Closer (Star Trek vid)

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Title: Closer
Creator: TJonesy and Killa
Date: 2003
Format: digital vid
Length: 3:28 minutes
Music: Closer by Nine Inch Nails
Genre: constructed reality, slash, m/m
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
Footage: ST:TOS, unidentified porn
URL: Closeroriginal at Youtube
Closercopy at Youtube
screnshot of the viral youtube version of the vid

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Closer, by T. Jonesy and Killa, is a Star Trek K/S vid about Pon Farr that asks, What if they hadn't made it to Vulcan in time? It is a constructed reality vid that slowly ratchets up the tension between Spock and Kirk until it culminates in a scene that implies that Spock forces himself onto Kirk while under the madness of Pon Farr.

Closer was shown for the first time at 2003's Shore Leave, a Star Trek convention. It also appeared on the WOAD Society DVD in 2004. Although made and distributed online in 2003, Closer went viral in 2006 and was discussed extensively online as an example of context collapse.[1][2][3][note 1]

In 2012, the vid was selected by the OTW to be part of its Test Suite of Fair Use Vids before the Library of Congress.[4]

Makers' Notes

The vidders offered the following liner notes:

[T. Jonesy]
I always thought this was the perfect Pon Farr song (don’tcha just love how the fan mind works?) Of course, I thought this was a very original idea at the time. I had no idea that every fandom has its “Closer” vid. All the cool visual effects and transitions are due to Killa’s tenacious assault on Final Cut Pro. It’s amazing what you can make a program do if you’re utterly brilliant. Originally we were going to end this with Spock killing Kirk on the sands of Vulcan like he did in the series, but when we started capturing stuff, I was looking at a sequence from an episode where Kirk almost rapes somebody and there were these shots of him skulking down corridors with a bleeding face and hand. If you look at the images out of context, it looks like Kirk’s actually the victim. I called Killa, and said “you know what? I think we can actually do a full on rape here.” So we did. Whee!
T. Jonesy is sick and twisted. And it’s contagious. Oh, yeah, and we ripped off the credits from Seven, too."

The Vid Itself

The vid presents an alternate version of a favorite TOS episode, "Amok Time," the episode that introduced the concept of pon farr. In the vid, Spock enters plak tow (the final stage of pon farr) while still on board the Enterprise and subsequently rapes Kirk. The vid is not only set to the Nine Inch Nails song "Closer", but replicates the sepia tones of the original NIN music video. The combined effect of clip selection, music choice, and color filter creates a sharp contrast to the cheery, cheesy look of the television show.

Going Viral

When the vid was uploaded to YouTube by a third party,[note 2] its origins in the vidding tradition were not apparent to most of the viewers. As a result, some of the commentary that was posted about the vid in nonfannish circles was wildly different from how the vid was interpreted by vidding fans. Yet, it was tremendously popular among fans and non-fans alike. By June 2012 the two copies of the vid that were uploaded on YouTube had more than 2,153,000 views, close to 13000 ratings and almost 5500 comments combined.

Inspired Works

The vid also inspired fans who understood its context perfectly well. Closer v.2 is a remake and response using footage of Kirk and Spock from the 2009 movie.[5] Uploaded by its creator instead of a third party, it not only explains its background and links to the creator's fanfic but also credits other vidders by name. The vidder summarized it as "A remake of the classic original" (apparently referring to the original Closer vid but equally applicable to the two sources).

The video blog The Ship's Closet reportedly used the song Closer in the opening of its episode on Amok Time, and the vid has reportedly been featured on Fandom Secrets.[6]

A fan in 2012 wrote the story Shame as a response to this vid.

In the 2016 documentary "For the Love of Spock", excerpts from this vid are used in the section discussing the prevalence of K/S slash in the online Star Trek community.

Reactions and Reviews

Also see Meta Further Reading.

Many bloggers and others online discussed or were linked to the vid without understanding its original context. Youtube comments show a wide range of reactions, from links to the wikipedia article on slash to assuming the vidders were male mashup artists to revulsion or amusement. The vid has been uploaded to youtube at least twice and is famous enough that people joke about it being shown to The Powers That Be as well:

The most famous fanvid ever is a Spock/Kirk video set to Nine Inch Nails' Closer, based on the Star Trek episode Amok Time. This video has obtained widespread mainstream acceptance and is now largely regarded as canon. It was screened during the 2008 Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, with running commentary provided by William Shatner.[note 3]

Other comments displayed much more fandom knowledge, though often not an awareness that the vidders hadn't posted the vid or that posting another person's vids to youtube might be frowned upon in parts of fandom:

Wow. This video lives up to its reputation. The people at Slashcast ALWAYS talk about this vid. [7]


To T.Jonesy and Killa, if you ever see this: I'm so jealous-- not only can you both write phenomenally, but you're AMAZING vidders as well! Love the cuts, the sepia coloring, everything. This just has such a gritty, animalistic feel to it, which is definitely a change from the customary K/S vids. You guys are fantastic. <3[8]


This one uses the same Nine Inch Nails song as the previous Closer vid. The premise: "What if Spock hadn't gotten back to Vulcan in time [in reference to the pon farr episode]?" I think my reaction to this vid was less personal only because I know Angel and Spike better. However, the abject awe and wonder I felt at Killashandra's and T. Jonesy's technical accomplishments were in no way lessened by my lack of familiarity with the source, because I think on an objective level the re-writing of the original episode's outcome can be appreciated whether you're a TOS fan or not. I mean, hello, one does not get away with just cutting clips of Kirk and Spock to a song like this, you know? Thankfully, both source and song were in the hands of two tremendously talented vidders. The result? Absolute genius. The coloration of the entire vid in sepia tones is truly inspired -- I don't know where the idea came from (though it's reminiscent of the NIN music video, especially with the blurring and quick-cut effects) but it's such a brilliant technique. It gives the vid an ominous, slightly sinister feel from the outset: you know you're in an alternate universe, and you know that here, anything can happen. The deep creepiness of the song, coupled with the re-contextualized images of Spock's madness and pursuit of Kirk, and Kirk's disturbed reactions to being Spock's sexual prey, all fuse together to create an experience of almost unbearable tension and fear.[9]


want to talk about the debate surrounding the mainstream popularization of killabeez and tjonesy's K/S vid [...]

[...] the folks who see the Closer vid on YouTube might not be "fannish" per se, as we have come to understand it, but I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it. At that moment, they're just as fannish as we are -- it's not that they've intruded into fandom, it's that fandom extruded to become big enough to hold the whole world in its hands.[10]

I really dislike a lot of the arguments that assume that the people who posted Closer to youtube or the people who watched it there or elsewhere aren't fans.

Not Closer, but the first of Killa's vids that got youtubed, the Monty Python one? I saw that linked to several times by fannish people on my flist who had no idea that it was a fanvid posted without permission of the vidder and not just any random funny vid found on youtube. And these are fans I'm talking about, but they're single-fandom fans for the most part, with small discrete friendslists and not a lot of interest in vidding or in the more general multifandom spaces.

And actually that whole experience had me thinking about what the difference really is between something like Closer and say all those Brokeback whatever vids that were going around for a while. Is it just a question of who made them? One's a fanvid because it was made within the vid community and thus should be treated by the standards of that community and thus not uploaded without vidder permission, etc, etc and one is a humor/youtube video and should be treated by the standards of that community which is a general anything goes attitude of viral distribution?

And actually I think that's where the heart of the issue lies. Fandom has been around doing this vid thing for a long time and we've evolved certain etiquette and standards of behavior, but first the influx of feral vidders and then youtube have brought in a massive influx of people creating vids completely outside that fannish framework, and they've developed their own standards and etiquette (or lack thereof) and there really isn't a way to make the new feral majority conform to the older model even if that older model is more polite and also more legally and ethically conscientious.[11]
I defy you to tell me the difference between a fannish person watching a slashy video and enjoying it, and a "non-fannish" person watching a slashy video and enjoying it.

The first thing that came to mind for me when I read this: some viewers reactions to the vid may be laughter/derision, some may immediately flame the vidders or people who enjoyed the vid, because they find flaming to be a fun hobby. Some may react by going out to purchase the shiny DVD sets of ST:TOS... and some may go out looking for other fan-made vids or K/S fic for the first time in their lives, and some may write K/S for the first time in their lives, or learn to vid.

I'd call the first two reactions non-fannish/nonconstructive reactions (though I wish I had better words to describe those behaviors), the middle one fannish, and the latter ones fannish-participatory.

I think.[12]
This is probably the most unusual and also perhaps the most disturbing vid you will ever see. Subtitled 'What if they hadn’t made it to Vulcan in time?' Closer tells the story of Spock’s pon farr. This time, however, there is no happy ending. Spock wants Kirk, and there is very little rationality left in him to control his desires. Watching the vid yet again for the purposes of this review, I was reminded of the Mirror Spock, although the action takes place in the mainline universe. Just as we see glimpses of our Spock in the Mirror one, so do we see flashes of the Mirror Spock here. Perhaps they are not so dissimilar as we might think. Or hope. Besides its subject matter, the vid is different in a number of other ways. First, it is shot in sepia tones, a brilliant choice that serves to unify all the images and make them flow together in a coherent manner. Second, while most vids limit themselves to scenes captured from the episodes or movies only, Closer adds a couple of additional scenes—hands stroking torsos, bodies thrusting against each other—that “flesh” out (sorry) the story even further, and are images of Spock’s desires. The scenes of Kirk running and Spock stalking him are chilling, and extra horror is added when we are brought into Spock’s head and get to see his visions of domination and bondage of Kirk. We don’t see the actual rape, but we know it has occurred. Even worse, we get to see its aftermath. This is just an extraordinary piece of work, and there is no one other than T. Jonesy and Killa who could have brought it to us.[13]


Everyone, everywhere in the vidding fandom, and many people who aren't, have recced this vid already and here I am doing so again. Why? It represents the ultimate triumph of vidding over source text. While I intend to remain firmly an agnostic on the whole Kirk/Spock question, I will mention the lovely sepia tones and the aged filmstock look. There is something very thrilling about the way this vid reconciles all these seemingly disparate elements (Star Trek to a Nine Inch Nails track? I mean, really...) and melds them into one seamless and very disturbing whole.[14]


Saw this once before but never commented. This is one of the best fan-made videos I've ever seen (I suppose it doesn't hurt that I'm a die-hard fan of both the band and the show)! Whoever edited this deserves an award. Maybe we can get the Grammy Awards to introduce a category for such things? There are lots of good AMVs and such out there![15]


Holy crap! How did I miss it before?! It's like a veil has been removed from my eyes. Kirk and Spock are RIGHT for each other. Thank you SO much for the vid. It warms my heart to think these two can finally express their love for one another. XD[16]


Still the best slash vid I've ever seen. It's not just the choice of music, it's not just the encyclopedic knowledge of the series, or the excellent editing. It's how they made it look so much like one of those sleazy 8mm porn reels - the sepia tone, the cracked, dirty, patched-up "film" look, all the little artifacts (spots, stress lines, hairs in the lens, etc.) It's a fantastic job. BEST EVER.[17]

In an interview for Meet the Bidder:

I certainly couldn't possibly name a favorite vid for a million dollars. But the thing that comes to mind is Killa and T Jonesy's Closer. Which is a boring choice, I admit, but it not only shows what vidding can do, and it's not only still a model for everything that came after, but what I love about it is how it reads so differently to fans and non-fans. If you're not into fandom or vidding, it seems to read like a humorous parody - for fans, however, it tends to read as dark and really disturbing, and that kind of division really highlights fan culture, and how fans view the text, and the art, differently.[18]
It is so interesting to hear you say that, because that totally mirrors an experience I had with that vid, and I didn't realize that the "non-vidder/non-slash" viewer response was often humor. I had a RL friend who doesn't know about my interest in slash rec that vid to me as "funny NIN & Star Trek." I ship TOS K/S, and didn't find the vid funny at all, but rather an angsty, tragic take on Pon Farr, and it hurt me to see Spock forced to do damage to Kirk because he has no other choice. Both viewpoints are the exact opposite of the other, and it's fascinating to me that we could read the same vid so differently. I'm not sure how familiar she is with Pon Farr and the difficulties surrounding it, but surly she could pick up on the tone of danger and imminent trouble for Kirk and Spock?

I guess it all comes down to context. In order to "get" the vid as I think the vidders intended it, you have to have a pretty good understanding of Trek cannon, slash and the Kirk/Spock relationship, and be able to extrapolate that information into an AU situation. My friend is an intelligent person, with a general understanding of fanvids, but that may not be enough. The average person just might not have the context needed to understand all the subtle layers. And if the remix videos they typically come into contact with are parody, they may naturally assume Closer is also a parody.[19]

Yeah, I think it's more than understanding Kirk/Spock - but I do think that understanding slash and/or fandom is important. Like, if you're not into fandom, you might generally assume that any creation that takes two canonically-straight characters and makes them gay is intended as humorous - that's what the dominant culture would tell you, anyway, that turning a straight character gay is a funny thing to do. In fandom, though, slashing characters is normalized, and is generally not intended as humorous - and that's a big difference in how we're going to view a vid like Closer, I think.[20]


It's been I dunno how many years, and this is still one of the greatest videos on the internet.

You all know how you do with a new friend, significant other, etc. Part of the getting-to-know stage is "Oh- oh- oh have you seen ----" followed by a couple hours of sharing videos. This is on my list every time, for anyone old enough to remember TOS. It's utter perfection as a complete mindfuck video. Cannot un-see. Cannot un-realize. Cannot un-know.[21]


Still as impressive and compelling as the first time I watched it years ago. The angst, lust, and rage contained within their strained power dynamic is mesmerizingly beautiful, and tragic. I hope this never disappears from the internet[22]

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ Henry Jenkins. How to Watch a Fan-Vid, September 18, 2006 -- Jenkins says, "'Closer,' like other fanvids, was constructed as part of a conversation which the fan artists were having with the original text, with its authors, with other fans, and with themselves, whereas the video as seen outside of this context seems singular and unique. Or conversely, the video is read symptomatically -- as speaking for all Star Trek fans when in fact, it borrows in some ways and breaks in others from the norms of this community."
  2. ^ "How do I repost a Youtube video ...?". Yahoo! Answers. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20.
    Reposting an entertaining video clip made by someone else is common in the YouTube community, but is frowned upon in the vidding community.
  3. ^ Fanfiction article on (Accessed December 24, 2011.) The comment refers to a real con. It's unclear if Shatner actually made an appearance that year or whether anyone would have shown slash vids there, but some fans have taken's humor at face value as indicated in the comments on the youtube copies of the vid.


  1. ^ Mark Frauenfelder (2006-09-11). "Kirk/Spock slash music video". Boing Boing. Archived from the original on 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  2. ^ Jim! — Spock!— I Want To Feel You From the Inside!, Archived version at Susie Bright's Journal. Posted September 11, 2006. (Accessed 24 December, 2011.)
  3. ^ Coppa, Francesca. 2008. Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 1. Coppa briefly discusses a music critic's misinterpretation of the vid as an example of music criticism.
  4. ^ Test Suite, accessed November 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Closer v.2 by sparringett on youtube. Posted May 23, 2009. (Accessed December 24, 2011.)
  6. ^ From a youtube comment posted in 2009. (Accessed December 24, 2011.)
  7. ^ Comment from MidnaRules2. Posted in 2009. (Accessed December 24, 2011.)
  8. ^ Comment by aidennestorm. Posted in 2009. (Accessed December 24, 2011.)
  9. ^ hesychasm (2003-12-08). "on vids". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2016-10-03.
  10. ^ iamsab (2006-09-19). "I want to talk about the debate surrounding …". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2023-01-20.
  11. ^ fairestcat (2006-09-21). "And I really dislike a lot of the arguments that assume that the people who posted Closer…". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2023-09-22.
  12. ^ elke_tanzer (2006-09-20). "The first thing that came to mind for me when I read this: some viewers…". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2023-09-23.
  13. ^ comment from a fan in The K/S Press #122 (2006)
  14. ^ naraht (2007-04-02). "Desert Island Vid Meme". LiveJournal. Archived from the original on 2023-09-22.
  15. ^ saurianoverlord. "Star Trek + Nine Inch Nails = Closer - YouTube". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2023-09-25.
  16. ^ GeneralFork1Over. "Star Trek + Nine Inch Nails = Closer - YouTube". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2023-09-25.
  17. ^ Serai3. "Still the best slash vid I've ever seen…". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2023-09-25.
  18. ^ giandujakiss at camelot_fleet (2010-05-17). "I certainly couldn't possibly name a favorite vid…". Dreamwidth. Archived from the original on 2023-09-22.
  19. ^ pslasher at camelot_fleet (2010-07-03). "I guess it all comes down to context". Dreamwidth. Archived from the original on 2023-09-22.
  20. ^ giandujakiss at camelot_fleet (2010-07-03). "Yeah, I think it's more than understanding Kirk/Spock - but I do think that…". Dreamwidth. Archived from the original on 2023-09-22.
  21. ^ grayaj23. "Star Trek + Nine Inch Nails = Closer - YouTube". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2023-09-25.
  22. ^ michaelgordon3552. "Still as impressive and compelling as the first time…". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2023-09-25.