I've had a chance to see most of the second seasons for both Nurse Jackie and The United States of Tara, and while both good shows with their share of problems, it's becoming more obvious that Tara has hit its stride, while NJ still is having problems overcoming its issues from the first season.
As far as the premieres go, it might be harder to see, because "Yes," Tara's season premiere, was more of a setup episode, bringing in characters (gay neighbors & classmates, Pammy the bartender) and a setting (the Hubberd house) that will help propel things going forward. The opening montage was great, done to The Zombie's "Care of Cell 44," a love letter to a prisoner who's soon to be released, which fits nicely with Tara getting out of rehab and the family having a couple months free of the alters. Then the gunshot shattered that moment and brings us back into reality... and slowly pushes Tara back towards the net of her alters. Buck to the rescue, sort of.
Nurse Jackie's premiere also had a sort of feel good intro where the ugliness of reality broke us back to the dark truths from the end of Season one. The happy family montage to Aretha Franklin's "I Say a Little Prayer" is disrupted by a rotting raccoon head on the beach -- kind of serving as the metaphor for the discarded Eddie.
Nurse Jackie - Episode 2.01
1. "I Say a Little Prayer" - Aretha Franklin
2. "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" (Reprise) [from the musical Annie]
United States of Tara - Episode 2.01
1. "Care of Cell 44" - The Zombies
2. "Tidal Wave of Sound" ? - Craigslist
3. (referenced) "Jai Ho" - A.R. Rahman
4. "Broken Heart for Sale" - Heather Myles
Previously: Nurse Jackie "Tiny Bubbles"