“Sopranos” Return

“The Sopranos” are back.

The sixth season kicks off at 9 p.m. on March 12, with 12 episodes airing this year and the final eight presented in 2007.

According to the HBO press release, new challenges abound for Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as his life grows increasingly complicated. Now that he and Carmela (Edie Falco) are back together, they must face the reality that their kids are no longer children, but not yet grown. And with Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola) in prison, the always-tense relations between the New Jersey and New York families are strained even further.

Returning this season are Lorraine Bracco as therapist Dr. Jennifer Melfi, Michael Imperioli as Tony’s nephew Christopher Moltisanti, and Dominic Chianese as Uncle Junior.

Also returning to the series are regulars Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr., Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano, Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts, and Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante.

Aida Turturro, who plays Tony’s sister Janice, will return to the show as a series regular, as will Steven R. Schirripa as Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri and John Ventimiglia as Artie Bucco.

Guest stars for the sixth season include Jerry Adler (“In Her Shoes”), Tim Daly (“Wings”), Frankie Valli (Four Seasons lead singer), Hal Holbrook (“Men of Honor”), Ben Kingsley (“House of Sand and Fog”), Julianna Margulies (“ER”), Treach (“First Time Felon”), Ron Leibman (“Garden State”), Elizabeth Bracco (“Analyze This”) and Lord Jamar (“Oz”).

In the premiere episode, Tony ponders an associate’s retirement request, and shares a recent windfall with Carmela. Junior takes Tony on a backyard treasure hunt; Hesh (Adler) seeks restitution for a wrong perpetrated on his son-in-law.

March 19 episode: Tony suffers from a case of mistaken identity during a west coast business trip. Written by creator David Chase.

March 26 episode: Silvio divides the spoils from Paulie’s latest score, and heads off a territorial impasse between Bobby and Vito (Joe Gannascoli). Carmela turns to an unexpected source for help with AJ and Christopher turns to an old writing acquaintance, JT Dolan (Tim Daly), for help in a new venture.

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