Fall's new TV season isn't the only big thing on your home screen these days. TV DVD/Blu-ray gets busy this week, too.
"Empire" hits disc with all the mayhem, music and murder that made it such a spring sensation on Fox, setting the stage for Sept. 22's second-season start. There's also the real-life juice of "The Jinx," the HBO docuseries that had everybody talking did-he-or-didn't-he about murder suspect Robert Durst.
Vintage tube fans can score their own gift-worthy sets of '60s fun. "Danger, Will Robinson!" fills a Blu-ray transfer of "Lost in Space," the campy space quest with galactic hippies and 6-foot-tall talking vegetables. Comedy is intentional in a second must-have set, "The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes," collecting top-notch sketchfest episodes that haven't been seen in decades.
EMPIRE ($40 DVD/$50 Blu-ray, just out from Fox) seems poised to pump up the volume after a spring run that rocketed into the pop-culture stratosphere. Its urban "King Lear" tale of three sons scrambling after dying dad's hip-hop empire made music an organic element of the family fight. This week's season set of 12 episodes offers bonus uncut song performances; Blu-ray adds more songs and videos, plus featurettes exploring the show's chic fashion trends and its Timbaland-produced tunes. There's great give-and-take pilot commentary, too (with stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, plus series co-creators/producers), making this a binge-worthy way to spend your weekend. (An expanded Gold Record Edition, including soundtrack, comes out on Blu-ray Nov. 3.)
THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST ($20 DVD/$25 Blu+digital, HBO) is one of those stranger-than-fiction documentary phenoms. Aired last winter, its six weekly episodes kept viewers on the edge of their seats, unraveling decades-old murder mysteries surrounding the New York real estate heir. Durst was arrested the day before the final episode aired. No on-disc extras -- director Andrew Jarecki lets his work speak for itself.
LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES ($200 Blu, Fox) looks sharper than ever in this compact 50th-anniversary box of 18 high-def discs, all 83 episodes of '60s Space Family Robinson adventures. Those pop-art pastel outfits! That neon-orange carrot man! Younger cast members reunite for nine fact-filled episode commentaries, including "The Great Vegetable Rebellion." (Carrot man Stanley Adams also sold Tribbles on "Star Trek.") Four first-season episodes include original black-and-white commercials. Among other vintage treats: unaired pilot (without Dr. Smith or Robot B9), screen tests, home movies, audio interviews (with rare at-home photos), "Biography" of baddie Jonathan Harris, 1973 cartoon special, 1995 series creator documentary "The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen," even prison-station episode "Condemned of Space" reshaped in widescreen with Dolby SurroundSound remix! (And Robby the Robot!) New 2015 chats with actors Bill Mumy (showing off his "Lost in Space" souvenirs), Angela Cartwright, Marta Kristen and Mark Goddard, plus they join a table read of an unproduced series "epilogue" written by Mumy. It's all packed into a colorful box holding three glossy "accordion" season sets, plus collectibles: Robot poster, 5-by-7 cast collector cards and miniature pilot script.
THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW: THE LOST EPISODES ($60 DVD, Time Life) doesn't need fancy collectibles, only these long-unseen episodes from the CBS sketch hour's first five seasons (1967-1972). Edgier than fans might expect, sketches still score, even when their targets are passé, like old-time soap opera spoof "As the Stomach Turns," with sarcastic comic Paul Lynde playing the town masochist, getting spanked by cast regular Harvey Korman in outré drag. Also in these 16 episodes on six discs: Lucille Ball, Don Rickles, Flip Wilson, Phyllis Diller, Bob Newhart, Tim Conway's earliest guest shots, all detailed in a handy guide booklet. Extras include cast members reminiscing at their old CBS stage, many star interviews, uncut show-open Q&As, bonus sketches, lots more you won't see in the Burnett show's 11 p.m. Me TV reruns. (TimeLife.com offers larger early-episode sets, with extras like Burnett's "Once Upon a Mattress" TV production: 10 discs with 21 episodes for $100, 22 discs with 45 episodes for $200.)