My sister and I are both longtime Star Wars fans, going back to the OT (and I liked the prequels; didn't love 'em, but liked 'em OK). For both of us, the reaction was pretty much "meh."
It's not that Abrams is a bad choice; he's a decent director with a successful track record and, hopefully, he'll do the saga justice. He's just not our most ideal choice (then again, I was never all that thrilled with Richard Marquand being chosen as the director of Episode VI, especially after Irvin Kershner had done such a terrific job on Episode V, but Episode VI was pretty much where everything changed, because George's priorities had changed; and honestly, it's the weakest of the OT). Say what you will about the prequels, at least they were all directed by Lucas, so there was at least a certain expected consistency, even if the writing and directing weren't as satisfying (then again, the original Star Wars was criticized when it came out for its stilted dialogue and sometimes wooden acting, so the same criticisms leveled at the prequels weren't exactly surprising).
Who would I pick? I honestly don't know. Not Spielberg, that's for sure. He's already said he would never do it since it's "George's baby." Maybe Ron Howard, if he was up for it. That'd sorta be keeping it "in the family," given Howard's relationship with Lucas over the years (going back to American Graffiti). Maybe Frank Darabont, who's also worked with Lucas extensively over the years. Maybe even Kevin Smith, if he thought he could do it. He's certainly erudite enough to recognize that Episode V was the best of the entire series.
But it'd also be interesting to see if other directors could take a crack at it. David Fincher, for one, he'd be interesting (and he actually did work on Episode VI when he was a teenager). Maybe Antoine Fuqua. He's proven he can handle action adventure projects with good character development (Tears of the Sun & King Arthur, both of which did well, and the upcoming Olympus Has Fallen), but he also excels at smaller, character-driven films as well (Training Day, Brooklyn's Finest).
Anyway, it'll be interesting to see who they get to direct the next two after this one.