This is a big weekend for Doctor Who fans, with the long-running British science fiction program celebrating its 50th anniversary with The Day of the Doctor special. But if Doctor Who makes you say, "who?," don't worry. We can help with the basics.
We, ourselves, are Doctor Who newbies, having jumped into the series earlier this year with a little help from some experts. After taking a hiatus at the end of the 1980s—(there was a TV movie that went nowhere in 1996)—the series re-upped in 2005 to introduce itself to a new generation of audiences. So, really, you're not that far behind. And the truth is, it's really not that intimidating. Many episodes stand alone, so it's not that challenging to just, well, start watching.
It might be as good a time as ever to just watch The Day of the Doctor, which will be broadcast simultaneously on BBC America in the U.S. as it airs in the U.K. on Saturday. (BBC America also has a host of other Doctor Who programming to get you caught up.) That said, if you're planning to watch the anniversary special cold, you might need to know some keywords. Hence, we made you a glossary.
The Doctor: A Time Lord—read: alien—who travels around in time, helping people and aliens out. Has two hearts. Think of him as part Sherlock Holmes, part Doc Brown.
The TARDIS: The Doctor's spaceship/time machine. It's name is an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Looks like an old fashioned British police box. Is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Makes a whirring sound.