By James Hibberd
November 18, 2013 at 04:04 PM EST

Almost Human is almost a hit: Fox’s robots couldn’t topple ABC’s agents, yet the sci-fi action-drama executed a solid premiere Sunday night.

Almost Human delivered 9.1 million viewers and a 3.1 rating among adults 18-49. Almost Human benefited from a big NFL lead-in and was easily Sunday’s top-rated broadcast entertainment series on a night that’s been lacking in strong drama numbers lately. Still, given all the promotion for Almost Human, and its powerful opening act, we were hoping to maybe see a new drama premiere record for the fall (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. remains well out in front on that score with its 4.6 debut rating back in September, and actually Fox’s Sleepy Hollow got off to a stronger start too).

Part of the problem with Fox depending on football for a lead-in on Sunday night is that football fans watch football. So when you have Fox’s game ending around 7:30 p.m. and Fox’s Almost Human beginning at 8 p.m. and NBC’s massive Sunday Night Football Kansas vs. Denver game starting around 8:30 p.m. … well … you see? It can be hard to get football fans to exit football marathon mode and commit to a drama break.

For more thoughts on Almost Human, check out Jeff Jensen’s must-read theory that Karl Urban’s character is actually a robot, and there’s also executive producer J.J. Abrams’ giving us a few minutes to chat about the show.

Again, Almost Human looks a lot better when you examine everybody else last night: A series-low Once Upon a Time (1.9), along with Revenge (1.5), Betrayal (0.9), The Good Wife (1.4) and The Mentalist (1.3). Though, The Mentalist in total viewers had its largest audience since its season premiere (here’s our reaction to the apparent reveal of Red John). Full chart:

FOX 7:00P NFL OVERRUN 6.9 20,335
7:30P NFL OVERRUN/THE OT 5.4 15,196
8-9P ALMOST HUMAN P 3.1 9,100
9:00P SIMPSONS- 1.8 4,133
9:30P FAMILY GUY- 2.2 4,327
ABC 7-8P AMR-VIDEOS- 1.4 6,801
8-9P ONCE-TIME- 1.9 6,644
9-10P REVENGE- 1.5 5,752
10-11P BETRAYAL- 0.9 3,351
CBS 7-8P 60 MINUTES- 1.7 11,885
8-9P AMAZNG RCE- 2.0 9,086
9-10P GOOD WIFE- 1.4 9,652
10-11P MENTALIST- 1.3 9,475
NBC 7:00P FTBL-P1SUS- 2.9 8,560
7:30P FTBL NT-P2- 4.4 12,270
8:00P FTBL NT-P3- 6.9 20,002
830-11P CHIEF&BRONCO 9.1 25,057

 UPDATE: Clip from tonight’s second episode (the sexbot one)