Take a look at the early days of Omar, Prop Joe and others! (+info regarding the final season of the best crime show in television history).

HBO and David Simon have taped vignettes exploring back stories of Omar, Proposition Joe, McNulty and Bunk.

On December 15th, fans can get a peek into the past of their favorite characters from the hit series The Wire by going to HBO.com.

This should whet our appetites for the Jan 6th premiere of the fifth and final season. Interestingly enough, episodes will be available online at HBO on Demand one week before they air on HBO.

Season four was the best season of the best crime show in history, so the bar is set pretty damn high.

Here is a press release featuring details regarding the upcoming season:

ACCLAIMED PEABODY-WINNING DRAMA SERIES THE WIRE
KICKS OFF FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON JAN. 6, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

The Peabody Award-winning drama series THE WIRE launches its ten-episode fifth and final season SUNDAY, JAN. 6 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, with other episodes debuting on subsequent Sundays at the same time.

In addition to resolving storylines that have continued throughout the previous seasons, the culminating narrative arc of THE WIRE will reflect on the media’s role in addressing – or failing to address – the fundamental political, economic and social realities depicted over the course of the series.

Explains series creator David Simon, “It made sense to finish THE WIRE with this reflection on the state of the media, as all the other attendant problems of the American city depicted in the previous four seasons will not be solved until the depth and range of those problems is first acknowledged. And that won’t happen without an intelligent, aggressive and well-funded press.”

A 13-year veteran of the Baltimore Sun newspaper, Simon decries recent trends in the newspaper industry that have conspired to make high-end journalism vulnerable: out-of-town chain ownership, an economic climate in which the share price of media companies matters more to industry leaders than the product itself, and a newsroom culture in which prizes, personal ambition and the cult of the “impact” story has replaced consistent and detailed coverage of complex issues as the primary goal.

Returning cast regulars on THE WIRE include Dominic West, Sonja Sohn, Lance Reddick, Wendell Pierce, Deirdre Lovejoy, Clarke Peters, Reg E. Cathey, Domenick Lombardozzi, Seth Gilliam, Aidan Gillen, Jamie Hector, Michael Kenneth Williams, John Doman, Andre Royo, Corey Parker Robinson, Tristan Wilds, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Jermaine Crawford and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

New cast regulars this season include Clark Johnson (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) as city editor Augustus “Gus” Haynes, Tom McCarthy (“Year of the Dog”) as ambitious reporter Scott Templeton, Michelle Paress as reporter Alma Gutierrez, Neal Huff (“Michael Clayton”) as Michael Steintorf, Mayor Carcetti’s chief of staff, and Michael Kostroff (“The Closer”) as Maury.

Supporting cast members this season include Steve Earle, Frankie Faison, Anwan Glover, Method Man, Felicia “Snoop” Pearson and Amy Ryan.

Among the directors this season are series veterans Dan Attias, Joe Chappelle, Ernest Dickerson, Agnieszka Holland, Seith Mann, Anthony Hemingway and Clark Johnson (who directed the first episode of THE WIRE, and also directs its final episode). New directors this season include the husband and wife team of Joy Kecken & Scott Kecken and series regular Dominic West, in his directorial debut.

The writing staff of THE WIRE includes David Simon, who penned two books of narrative nonfiction, “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets,” which inspired the hit series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and “The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood,” which inspired the Emmy(r)-winning HBO miniseries “The Corner”; Ed Burns, a former Baltimore police detective and Baltimore city public school teacher, who coauthored the book “The Corner” with Simon; William F. Zorzi, a former political writer and editor for the Baltimore Sun; and Chris Collins, an up-and-coming talent who served as staff writer last season and also wrote the award-winning documentary “Disarm.” Also writing for the series this season are novelists Dennis Lehane (“Gone Baby Gone,” “Mystic River”), George Pelecanos (“Hard Revolution,” “Right as Rain”) and Richard Price (“Lush Life,” “Clockers”), as well as TV veteran David Mills, who was one of the writers and executive producers on “The Corner,” and a writer for “NYPD Blue” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Beginning Dec. 31 with the season premiere, weekly episodes of THE WIRE will be available on HBO On Demand the Monday prior to its Sunday debut on the main HBO channel.

Anyone else jacked beyond words for this season?