The long-awaited fifth season of ''The Sopranos'' doesn't start until March 7, but the New York Post couldn't wait and unveiled some spoilers three and a half weeks early. Here's some of what's in the Post's report, based on a viewing of tapes of the first four episodes that HBO has sent to TV critics. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
As series creator David Chase has said, the new season will see the introduction of the ''class of 2004'' -- several gangsters convicted during a sting in the 1980s who've now served their time, are back on the street, and want back in on the family action. One of those, it has already been reported, is Tony Blundetto, a cousin of Tony Soprano's, who's played by Steve Buscemi. Others, the Post reports, are played by Robert Loggia (his character has the wonderful name Feech La Manna), Frank Vincent (a character actor who's played a million made guys), Joe Santos (best known for playing Rockford's police pal Lt. Becker on ''The Rockford Files''), and ''Oz'' alumna Patti D'Arbanville. Her character, a brash bookie named Lorraine Calluzzo, has a particularly intense scene in an early episode which the Post declines to spoil.
On the home front, things are much as they were at the end of last season: Tony and Carmela are still separated, Meadow is still a student at Columbia, and A.J. is still a lazy ne'er-do-well. Uncle Junior is acting forgetful, and this time, he may not be faking it. Taking care of him, as before, is Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri, who, in the interim between seasons, has married Tony's sister Janice. Beyond those details, the Post adheres to the code of omerta.