‘The Sopranos’

“I’m scared as hell.”

So says “Alias” showrunner J.J. Abrams on the thought of going up against not only the mostly highly anticipated show of this fall, but, possibly of all time.

Yeah, Tony and his “Sopranos” buddies are back at 9 p.m. Sundays on HBO after a 16-month hiatus, just in time to wreak havoc with the broadcast nets.

Besides “Alias” on ABC (the new season of which preems Sept. 29), there’s “Malcolm in the Middle” settling into a new timeslot on Fox, NBC’s super-steady “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and WB’s “Angel.” CBS is going with a movie.

As for what to expect this year on “The Sopranos,” we learned last night that Tony is feeling bad about Uncle Junior’s upcoming trial and Christopher exacts a little payback on a deed that rocked his family 20 some years ago.

There’s little indication of where the rest of the season might lead, but tightlipped creator David Chase summed up it this way:

“Season one was about Tony and his mother and then season two was, to a certain extent, about Tony and his sister. Season three was deliberately about Tony and Carmela as parents. This year focuses on Tony and Carmela as a couple, on their marriage. Other things happen but that’s kind of the line that we keep coming back to.”

And audiences will as well.

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