Given the passionate response from fans and TV critics, “Outlander” is clearly a mega-hit TV series, but is it Emmy worthy? Does it measure up to the snobbish standards of the TV academy? Can Caitriona Balfe be nominated?
After all, the quality that makes “Outlander” such delicious viewing — the heightened sense of melodrama that looms over those lovebirds struggling to survive the Scottish highlands in the 18th century — could hurt it with voters who tend to be cynical Hollywood types.
Consider the Emmy race for Best Drama Actress. For the past four years, the award has been won twice each by Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“) and Claire Danes (“Homeland“). That suggests voters appreciate stars who portray edgy roles set in contemporary times.
But, while Balfe’s role is set centuries ago, it’s edgy when you think about it. Claire never shrinks from blood or menacing British soldiers. And it’s certainly an emotionally complex role that gives Balfe frequent opportunities to show off the full range of her acting chops.